Isaiah 50

1 This is what the Lord says to his people:

‘Did I send your mother away,

like a man sends away his wife?

Where is the paper to say

why I have sent her away?

Did I sell you to pay people that I was in debt to?

Where is the paper that shows

the reason for my debt?

Listen! I sold you because of your sins.

I sent your mother away

because you have not obeyed me.

50:1God is saying that he sent the Israelites away into exile because they did not obey him. That is why God is no longer there to keep Zion city safe. Zion is like a ‘mother’ for the Israelites. It is as if God has sent her away. She is no longer his ‘wife’. He has done all this because of the Israelite people's sins.

2 Nobody was there to meet me,

when I came to help you.

When I called out to you,

nobody answered me.

Do you think that my arm is too weak to rescue you?

Am I not strong enough to save you?

Look! I can speak to the sea so that it becomes dry!

I can cause rivers to become deserts.

Then the fish die because they have no water.

3 I can cause the sky to become dark,

as if I have covered it with sackcloth.’

The Lord's Servant

4 ‘The Almighty Lord has given his message to me, his servant.

I speak it on his behalf.

I know what to say to help weak and tired people.

The Lord wakes me up every morning

so that I can learn something.

I listen carefully to him,

as a student listens to his teacher.

5 The Almighty Lord has spoken clearly to me.

I have accepted his message,

and I have not turned back.

6 I offered my back

to the people who hit me.

I offered my face

to the people who pulled out my beard.

When they insulted me and they spat at me,

I did not hide my face from them.

7 The Almighty Lord helps me,

so I will not be ashamed.

I have decided to stand and be strong,

because I know that I will not be ashamed.

8 God is the one who says that I am right,

and he stands beside me.

So who will accuse me that I have done something wrong?

We should meet in court!

Anyone who accuses me should come and speak!

9 Look! The Almighty Lord himself helps me.

So nobody can say that I am guilty.

All the people who accuse me will soon disappear.

They will spoil like old clothes that moths have eaten!’

10 Do any of you respect the Lord with fear?

Do any of you obey his servant's message?

Are you walking in a place that is completely dark,

where there is no light?

Then you should trust in the Lord

as the God who will help you.

11 But no! You have lit your own fires.

You have burned branches to give yourselves light.

So now you must walk in the light of the fires that you have lit.

And this is what I will do for you:

I will punish you with great pain!