Having passed through Isaiah 53, we now enter a new section of Isaiah. Warren Wiersbe summed up chapters 54 – 59 like this:
“The Servant [Jesus] obediently finished His work on earth [Isa 53]; and today He is at work in heaven, interceding for God’s people (Heb. 7:25; Rom. 8:34). But what are the consequences of His sacrifice? What difference does it make that He endured all that suffering? To Israel it means restoration (Isa. 54:1-17); to the Gentile nations it means invitation (55:1–56:8); and to rebellious sinners, it means accusation (56:9–59:21), a warning from the Lord that they need to repent.” (1)
Father, give us understanding as we read thy word, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
1 Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the LORD.
2 Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes;
3 For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited.
4 Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more.
5 For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.
The book of Hosea illustrates what God is saying to Israel in this passage. Just as Hosea forgave Gomer, his unfaithful wife, and bought her back after she betrayed him, God forgave Israel and bought her back with the blood of his only begotten Son. (The story also has application for the rest of us in one way or another.)
6 For the LORD hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God.
7 For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee.
The Bible says that to God a thousand years are as watch in the night (Ps 90:4). From the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD to the time of the crusades, on through the times of the ghettos in Europe, the pogroms in Russia, unto the Holocaust of WWII and ultimately the time of Jacob’s trouble will be just a small moment in God’s timeline. Many Jews have given up on God and declared themselves atheists because of the Holocaust, but God says with great mercies He will gather them again. This promise is already beginning to be fulfilled in the modern state of Israel.
8 In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer.
As I have said so many times, do not ever confuse the church with Israel. (1 Cor 10:32) The church has not ‘replaced’ Israel. The church and Israel are separate and distinct from each other. The church has been graffed in (Rom 11:17-24) to the olive tree of Israel; nowhere does it say the church has replaced Israel.
9 For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee.
10 For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee.
11 O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colours, and lay thy foundations with sapphires.
12 And I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones.
13 And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children.
14 In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee.
15 Behold, they shall surely gather together, but not by me: whosoever shall gather together against thee shall fall for thy sake.
Israel is one enemy you do not want to make. If you have a problem with Israel, I recommend you change your mind and agree with them quickly (Matt 5:25). Then someday you will be able to say that you were Israel’s friend before it was cool.
16 Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy.
17 No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.
In a few days, we will be finished with 2019. Maybe the last year has been tough for you, maybe it hasn’t. Are you worried about what the future may hold for you? I have good news. The promises in this chapter are not just for Israel. They are available to everyone through faith in Christ. (Rom 15:4; 1 Cor 10:11; Gal 3:14)
I lived in Zimbabwe for six months in 2001 and 2002. During that time I met a Muslim man from South Africa. When I met him he was on his way to Libya with his pregnant wife to represent Islam in Northern Africa. After we met, he accepted Christ as his personal Saviour and was baptized. After he was baptized, he bought some pork and took it to the house where he and his wife were staying. He told his wife that they were going to be Christians now and he wanted her to eat the pork. They got into a fight but she finally agreed. He then showed the pork and his new Bible to the other Muslims in the house and told them he had become a Christian. They therefore promptly cast him and his wife out of the house and told him he would be dead soon. When he told me the story the next day, he was scared. He told me they were not just making an idle threat, but they did indeed have the power to kill him. I showed my new friend Isaiah 54:17 and told him not to worry because he could trust in God’s promise. Well, I am happy to tell you that my friend is still alive and well today. Whatever you are facing, whether it’s a fiery furnace (Dan 3), a den of lions (Dan 6), Pharaoh’s army (Ex 15:3), the Assyrian army (Isa 37:36), or a 1,000,000 man Ethiopian army (2 Chron 9-13), Jesus can deliver you. And He will.
What about the other promises in this chapter? Have you sinned against God? Do you feel that He has forsaken you? Just as surely as He offers forgiveness to Israel, He will forgive you too. Whatever you have done, regardless of how bad it may seem to you, God’s grace and forgiveness are available to you just as they are to his servant, Israel. His mercy endures forever.
Father, thank You for your never-ending love and your everlasting grace. Thank You that your mercy endures forever. Thank You for your promise of protection from the enemy. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
(1) Wiersbe, Be Comforted, p 142