Pastor Steve Ellison
Isaiah 50 presents us with yet another rhetorical question from Yahweh. He continues to warn His chosen people, giving them yet another chance to repent and return to the place of blessing and safety under His protection. Just like the sinner of today, they sold themselves into the bondage of slavery. Just like what will ultimately happen to the unbeliever of today, they were sent away for their transgressions. Just as it seems today, when the call goes out from the Creator, no creature responds. Their words may claim that they believe and trust, but their actions prove otherwise.
Isaiah 50 begins with familiar words, Thus says the Lord, “Where is the certificate of divorce By which I have sent your mother away? Or to whom of My creditors did I sell you? Behold, you were sold for your iniquities, And for your transgressions your mother was sent away. “Why was there no man when I came? When I called, why was there none to answer? Is My hand so short that it cannot ransom? Or have I no power to deliver? Behold, I dry up the sea with My rebuke, I make the rivers a wilderness; Their fish stink for lack of water And die of thirst. “I clothe the heavens with blackness And make sackcloth their covering.” (Isaiah 50:1-3, NASU) God’s first point is clear: the break in fellowship, the separation, is the fault of Israel. In fact, they sold themselves. Second, God wants no confusion about who is making such a strong declaration of absolute power. Unquestionably, He is able to redeem! Equally clear is His demand for total allegiance and devotion, which is exactly what He should demand. As the grandest thing in the universe, for Him to demand anything less would be wrong. His question about why none answer when He calls, should break our hearts because the response is same in our day.
We have turned into fools declaring in our hearts and right out in public that there is no god. We desire comfort and pleasure above all. We have played the harlot with false gods of every kind. We make idols of many things. We have sold ourselves into slavery to sin. We live in bondage, refusing to repent and turn in faith to Him who calls, Him whose hand is not so short that it cannot ransom, Him who has power to deliver not just temporally but eternally. We turn away from Him who dries up the sea with a word of rebuke. We refuse to profess the lordship of Him who can dry up the rivers so that the fish all die. We decline to acknowledge the sovereignty of Him laid out the unfathomable universe so that all works together perfectly. Refusing to answer the call of a good, kind, loving, and omnipotent Redeemer is utter foolishness.
Human beings are infected with the disease of “you-can’t-tell-me-what-to-do” otherwise known as pride. We cannot stand the thought that we are not masters of our own lives. We cannot stomach the idea that another makes rules for us to live by. We cannot abide the truth that there is a Creator who waits at the end of time to judge us, with a judgment that will last for all eternity. This Judge demands absolute total perfection from us. None of us have met that requirement. The punishment demanded is eternal dying. Our only hope is for someone able and willing to die in our place. One has stepped forward, willing and able. He took our punishment. He calls us with our ransom price in hand. Why are there so very, very few who answer His call?