Lesson 3: Isaiah 50
Read Isaiah 50. If possible, print out the passage onto one piece of paper, keeping the poetic lines as they appear in the text (using a 10 or 11 font works well).
Hebrew poetry is very structured. To see this more clearly, use a set of highlighters or colored pencils to complete the following:
- Put a box around the first sentence of verse 7 (2 lines).
- Highlight verse 6 and the rest of verse 7 in the same color.
- In a different color, highlight verse 5 and the first two lines of verse 8.
- In a third color, highlight verse 4 and verse 8b and 9a.
- In a fourth color, highlight verse 3 and 9b.
- Read each of the paired verses/lines, beginning with verse 3 and 9b, working your way to the center. In the right margin, write your observations, noting similarities, contrasts, and similar words/images.
- Verse 7 is the centerpiece of this poem. What is the core truth you find here? Rewrite it in your own words.
- Reread the poem, this time beginning in the center and working back outward. How does reading it this way change your perceptions?
- What are the concepts that stand out to you as you go through this poem? What is the relationship between the Sovereign Lord and the servant (the “I” in the poem)? What do these verses tell you about God? About the Messiah? How is this meaningful to you?
- Conclude by reading verses 1-2 and verses 10-11. How do these sections compare? What themes stand out to you? What do you take away from these verses?
Spend some time in prayer, using the words of the passage that speak to you. Focus on the centerpiece – “Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced.” Add to your prayer any other phrases that are meaningful for you. End with the words from the end of verse 10 – “trust in the Lord and rely on your God.”