Tuesdays are for the Old Testament
Luther, Martin, edited by Jaroslav Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, translated by Herbert J.A. Bowman) Luther’s Works, Vol. 17, Lectures on Isaiah Chapters 40-66.St. Louis: Concordia, 1972. Logos Electronic Edition.
“Isaiah Chapter 50” pp. 191-196
Luther explains the background of Jewish divorce laws briefly, as he comments on Isaiah 50:1. The people of God have been separated from God, not by any decree which God, the husband of Israel, could have given, like a divorce decree dissolving a marriage. Luther compares the start of Isaiah 50 to the departure of the Roman church from God’s admonition. He also compares it to the common tendency of people to depart from the faith. It is our failure, not God’s, which separates us from God’s grace (LW 17, 191).
In response to the departure of God’s people from his grace, in verses 2 and following, God describes his power. He is the one who is able to accomplish all things, even drying up the sea and darkening the sky. By his glory, he is able to to command all things (LW 17, 192). Luther observes that God’s power is normally shown by his active word, which accomplishes God’s will (LW 17, 193). The work of the Christian is to use God’s word. The work of the Holy Spirit is to accomplish things by his word.
The believing response, from verses 5 and following, is to trust God’s word. In trust, we are not rebellious against God’s word. We accept the afflictions (v. 6) which come upon the righteous (LW 17, 194). Whatevr the opposition, we stand firm in our trust in God’s word (v. 7). Here we find strength, as opposed to the rebellious, who, in verse 9, are worn out (LW 17, 195). The opponents of God will find that their own weapons will work against them. They will fall into disaster (LW 17, 196).