ISAIAH CHAPTER 54.
The Fruit of the Messiahís Sufferings.
THE LORDíS PROMISE TO RELIEVE ZIONíS BARRENNESS. ó V. 1. Sing, O barren, in joyful shouting, thou that didst not bear, the Jewish Church being for a while forsaken of God and therefore destitute of spiritual children; break forth into singing and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child, while the affliction of the dispersion was upon her; for more are the children of the desolate, of her who had for a time been forsaken by the Lord, her Husband, than the children of the married wife, saith the Lord. During the exile the house of David was rejected by God, the worship of Jehovah in Jerusalem had ceased, and prophecy had been reduced in amount. Therefore the message of salvation was heard by a few only, and no new believers were gained. With the restoration of Israel, however, and especially in the Messianic era, this condition would once more be changed in such a manner that Zion would have a greater number of spiritual children than ever. V. 2. Enlarge the place of thy tent, to make room for the increased number of spiritual children, and let them, the servants, stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations, the various sections which made up the large tent of the wealthy; spare not, do not hold back; lengthen thy cords, to accommodate the increased area of the tent, and strengthen thy stakes, substituting stronger pins for those used till now; v. 3. for thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left, on account of the rapid increase in children of the Gospel; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited, the picture being taken from the former warfare against the heathen and signifying the spiritual conquest of the Gentile world through the preaching of the Gospel. V. 4. Fear not, in doubt as to the truth and certainty of the promise given, for thou shalt not be ashamed, not experience another rejection at the hand of the Lord; neither be thou confounded, made the object of ridicule and contempt, for thou shalt not be put to shame; for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, the time of the bondage in Egypt, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more, the time of the Babylonian captivity. V. 5. For thy Maker is thine Husband, or ďThy Husband is He who made thee,Ē the almighty Lord of the universe; the Lord of hosts is His name, the great God of the covenant; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel, who in the zeal of His love for His people over-throws the power of the enemies. The God of the whole earth shall He be called, whose absolute power and authority are a guarantee to the Church of its future greatness and glory. God is ever and in all places the Redeemer and Vindicator of His people, a strong Rock of refuge to those that trust in Him.
THE LORDíS PROMISE OF ETERNAL LOVE AND FAITHFULNESS. ó V. 6. For the Lord hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, one who had been rejected and therefore sat mourning, and a wife of youth, surrounded by the love of her husband, when thou wast refused, saith thy God. This assurance was given to Zion by Him who, although He had once cast her aside, yet is her God and will forever remain her God. V. 7. For a small moment have I forsaken thee, forsaking her at a time of great excitement of mind, under stress of a momentary anger; but with great mercies will I gather thee, drawing her to Him again in the overwhelming power of His love. V. 8. In a little wrath I hid My face from thee for a moment, while His anger, as it were, burned with a sudden flame; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, in a flood of tenderness and grace, saith the Lord, thy Redeemer, He who is ever the Vindicator of His people. V. 9. For this is as the waters of Noah unto Me, namely, the present flood of wrath which had struck Israel; for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah, the Deluge with its general destruction, should no more go over the earth, an oath which, as all men knew, had been kept all these centuries, so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee nor rebuke thee, giving vent to His anger in various punishments. V. 10. For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, although the most awful cataclysms of nature should occur, so that the very foundations of the earth are shaken, but My kindness shall not depart from thee, so that the wonderful union and communion of love between Christ and His Church would be disturbed or disrupted, neither shall the covenant of My peace be removed, that of the Messianic promise, as first given to Abraham and then repeated throughout the Old Testament, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee. The depth and the certainty of Godís love is thus set forth in a manner which makes this promise basic for the faith of all Christians of all times. What was written here is written for our comfort; we should believe these promises and rejoice in them always.
THE LORDíS PROMISE OF PERFECT SECURITY FOR THE CHURCH. ó V. 11. O thou afflicted, one full of misery and sorrow, tossed with tempest, like the chaff from the threshing-floor, and not comforted, still lying in desolation, behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colors, building up the city walls and houses in such a way as to lay the stones in colored mortar to enhance the beautiful effect, and lay thy foundations with sapphires, as a plinth for the whole city. V. 12. And I will make thy windows of agates, the parapets of houses and walls of jewels, and thy gates of carbuncles, stones which are both beautiful and terrifying, and all thy borders, the walls proper, of pleasant stones, of such whose beauty makes them desirable. It is a fine description of the manner in which the Lord builds His Church on earth. Cp. Eph. 2, 19-22. V. 13. And all thy children, the inhabitants of the Lordís city, shall be taught of the Lord, His disciples knowing Him by faith; and great shall be the peace of thy children, namely, the peace which passes all understanding, which comes to the believers by virtue of the fact that the enmity between God and man has been removed by the atoning work of the Messiah. V. 14. In righteousness shalt thou be established, clothed with salvation, firmly grounded in the righteousness imputed by faith; thou shalt be far from oppression, fearing no danger and misfortune, for thou shalt not fear, literally, ďFar be it from thee to fearĒ; and from terror, for it shall not come near thee, nothing would be able to bring further desolation. V. 15. Behold, they shall surely gather together, but not by Me, that is, if some of the enemies, in spite of all, should attempt to harm Zion, it would be against the Lordís counsel and will; whosoever shall gather together against thee shall fall for thy sake, being overcome and induced to join the party of the Lord. V. 16. Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work, drawing it out of the fire as his labor requires; and I have created the waster to destroy. The physical strength for the making of weapons of war comes from the Lord, but at the same time He has reserved to Himself the power to destroy these same weapons. V. 17. No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper, none being able to attack the Church with lasting success; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn, the Church remaining victorious also against the efforts of all science falsely so called to disprove the truth of the Gospel. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, namely, that they can conquer all the enemies, and their righteousness is of Me, saith the Lord, He alone being the Source of their salvation. This promise is Jehovahís powerful Amen at the end of this chapter, a source of comfort to the believers of all times.