This chapter is special. It contains prophecy from God, a soliloquy by Christ and an appeal to heed the messages of God.
Prophecy: verses 1-3
The prophecy spoken by God through Isaiah in this passage is not one that tells the future, but is simply a group of messages from God to His people.
God knows that Israel thinks that He has forgotten them. God uses two analogies to communicate that He has not forgotten Israel. The first is divorce and the second is the sale of a debtor to a creditor. Both instances will include a proof of separation if they had occurred: a certificate of divorce for the first and a creditor to whom the debtor had been sold for the second. God is asking Israel for these proofs; He knows that they do not exist and He knows that it is only Israel’s lack of faith that makes them certain that God has forgotten them.
In fact, God states that it is Israel that has sold and divorced themselves from God. Israel’s “payment” for selling themselves from God is their sins. God came to Israel and called them but Israel did not do their part. God reminds them of His divinity and providence: He has power and ability over earth and space, so it follows that He certainly has the power to save Israel. But sadly, His people were unwilling to meet Him on His terms.
God’s warning to Israel reminds us of the nature and main deception of sin: it seems like a good idea at the time, but consequences are always attached. For Israel in particular the consequences for rebelling against God were enslavement, suffering and dejection.
Soliloquy: verses 4-9
In these verses, we have the third “servant song” of Christ in Isaiah. This is a beautiful attestation by Christ of how God will help and support Him through His life and trials on earth.
Christ recognizes that God has given Him an ear and a tongue. With the tongue, Jesus will be able to speak with wisdom and with the ear, He will be able to listen to wisdom. The quality of listening to wisdom is a divergence from what we have heard from Isaiah on Israel. On the whole, Israel has been unwilling to listen to and heed wisdom. Verse 5 makes the contrast between Israel and Jesus even more apparent: “The Lord GOD has opened My ear; And I was not rebellious, Nor did I turn away.”
Jesus knows that He will willingly suffer physical abuse, shame and spitting, yet His trust is in God and He will not be disgraced or ashamed. Christ’s confidence in God is strong and attractive because we get the sense that there is nothing that Christ will not do in service of His Father.
Jesus’s prime adversary was Satan, who tempted Him in the desert. Jesus, relying on this deep well of trust and certitude that God would support and justify Him, was successful in resisting all temptations while a man. He was sinless and He is the only One to have accomplished it. This is the prime reason why Jesus was the perfect sacrifice.
Those that challenge Jesus will grow old and waste away.
Appeal: verses 10,11
After these words from God and the Savior Jesus, the final two verses bear an appeal and a warning. Whomever fears God and obeys Jesus, but currently walks in darkness should trust in the name of the Lord and truly upon God.
Those that live by the light of their own fire rather than by the light of God will suffer in torment by His hand.