Isaiah 54:1-10

Sunday Morning Bible Study

April 30, 2000

Introduction

Last week we finished the section known as the "Suffering Servant" (52:13-53:12). In it, we saw a picture of a Messiah, a deliverer who would deliver the people from their sins. He would accomplish this task not by conquering their enemies with a large army, but by suffering and dying. Though this King would die, He would also have His life "prolonged" and He would "see His seed". Where does the "offspring" come from? A wife.

Ultimately, this next section is aimed at Godís nation, Israel. It will speak of things that will eventually be fulfilled when Jesus comes back and sets up His kingdom on earth. But there are precious prophetic jewels here that you may hear God whisper to your own heart as we work our way through the chapter.

:1-3 Promise of prosperity

:1 for more are the children of the desolate

desolate Ė shamem Ė to be desolate, be appalled, stun, stupefy; (Qal) to be desolated, be deflowered, be deserted, be appalled

In ancient Israel, a woman who was unable to have children was a disgrace. Children helped run the farm and do the chores. A woman who was able to have lots of children was considered especially blessed. God is saying that a woman who was unable to have children will end up having more than anyone else.

The Targum (an Aramaic translation of the OT) interprets this of Jerusalem:

"sing praise, O Jerusalem, which was as a barren woman that bears not;"

In this sense, the idea is that the city of Jerusalem will have been as a barren woman that is now able to give birth. This would be a prophecy that could be seen as being fulfilled after the Jews returned from a seventy year captivity in Babylon, but even more as theyíve returned to rebuild Israel after having been scattered by the Romans 1900 years ago.

Paul also deals with this passage (Gal. 4:27):

Ga 4:27 For it is written, Rejoice, [thou] barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband.

This is in the middle of a teaching where Paul has been drawing lessons by contrasting Hagar and Sarah. Paul has given Hagar and Sarah different meanings, of being a picture of Mount Sinai (Hagar) and Jerusalem (Sarah), and then ultimately being the difference between those who follow after the Law (Hagar, Sinai) and those who walk after the Spirit (Sarah, Jerusalem). Paulís lesson is that the Sarah-Jerusalem-Spirit people would be more fruitful than the Hagar-Sinai-Law people.

:2 Enlarge the place of thy tent

Tents were made up of layers of cloth. Making a tent larger was just a matter of opening up a wall and adding more material.

This barren woman is told to start doing some home remodeling. Sheís told not only to make her tent bigger, but stronger ("strengthen thy stakes") too.

Lesson

Make room for more.

This barren woman isnít told to wait until she gets pregnant. Sheís told to start remodeling now. Almost a "build it and they will come" mentality.

Will you be ready for our church to grow?

Welcoming others.

Itís easy to get comfortable with our little groups of friends. Itís not a bad thing to have a small group of friends who will love you and support you.

But will you be ready to welcome in those who come in the front doors for the first time?

Change is okay.

As we continue to grow, weíre finding out that we are having to learn new ways of doing things. Things that worked fine five years ago when there were fifty of us donít always seem practical now. Donít be discouraged because things change. Itís okay.

Think about your life.

Are you ready for God to use you more? Could it be that God would be asking you to "enlarge your tent"? Is your life in a place where you are open to God using you in new ways? It could be possible that sometimes old "tent walls" will have to come down in order to make room for new ones. Learn to find balance in your life so you can run the race and finish!

(Jer 12:5 NIV) "If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses?

If you think itís tough now, what will you do when God says itís time to try the next level?

Illustration

I remember what it was like when I worked at the Bank of Newport and was involved in ministry at Calvary Chapel Anaheim. I used to wonder how I could ever keep up with all the things I was doing. Then when I was brought on staff at Calvary Anaheim, there was a time when things were kind of easy for me, but after awhile they picked up, and I wondered how I could keep up with it. In a way it was easy to reminisce on those "easy" days of working at the bank! But when we started the church in Fullerton, I began to realize that my days of being on staff at Anaheim were actually quite slow, compared to being a senior pastor at a church, even a very, very small one. And Iím beginning to wonder what life will be like in five more yearsÖ

:3 thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles

The picture is of the believing Jews bringing many Gentiles to the Lord. Great, quick, unexpected growth.

:4-8 From shame to honor

:4 Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed

This came to me yesterday in an e-mail from Sandy Kadera, our missionary in Guatemala:

"God has made Is. 54 come alive for meÖ It talks about how the girls in their youth who were hurt or did shameful things will no longer have memory of such things. God will heal even memories of awful things that happen to girls when they are growing up that humiliate them, hurt them, and make them feel like zero. Also God talks about the shame of being a widow, divorced, or single mom that God will take away that shame too BECAUSE God is our husband and maker!!"

:5 For thy Maker is thine husband

The reason that the "barren" woman would have many children, the reason she would lose her "shame" is all because of her husband.

Lesson

Fruit comes from a loving Husband.

The key to fruitfulness is a loving relationship with God. Itís this loving "husband" relationship that will make Israel become a mother of many children.

It doesnít matter what youíve done that has brought you shame or disgrace. God wants to have a loving, intimate relationship with you, as a husband is to have with his wife. Heís all you need.

(Phil 3:3-14 NLT) For we who worship God in the Spirit are the only ones who are truly circumcised. We put no confidence in human effort. Instead, we boast about what Christ Jesus has done for us. {4} Yet I could have confidence in myself if anyone could. If others have reason for confidence in their own efforts, I have even more! {5} For I was circumcised when I was eight days old, having been born into a pure-blooded Jewish family that is a branch of the tribe of Benjamin. So I am a real Jew if there ever was one! What's more, I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law. {6} And zealous? Yes, in fact, I harshly persecuted the church. And I obeyed the Jewish law so carefully that I was never accused of any fault.

What are the things that you feel are most important in life? For some of us, they are things that weíve already achieved, things that weíre proud of. For others, itís the things that we donít have yet, the things that we tell ourselves, "If I just had this, then Iíd be happy!".

{7} I once thought all these things were so very important, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. {8} Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the priceless gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I may have Christ {9} and become one with him. I no longer count on my own goodness or my ability to obey God's law, but I trust Christ to save me. For God's way of making us right with himself depends on faith. {10} As a result, I can really know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I can learn what it means to suffer with him, sharing in his death, {11} so that, somehow, I can experience the resurrection from the dead! {12} I don't mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection! But I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved me for and wants me to be. {13} No, dear friends, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, {14} I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven.

Paul had learned to take all the stuff in the past that held him back and to let go of it.

Illustration

Monkey treats.

Monkey trappers in North Africa have a clever method of catching their prey. A number of gourds are filled with nuts (monkey treats) and firmly fastened to a branch of a tree. Each has a hole just large enough for the unwary monkey to stick his forepaw into it. When the hungry animal discovers this, he quickly grasps a handful of nuts, but the hole is too small for him to withdraw his clenched fist. And he doesn't have enough sense to open up his hand and let go in order to escape, so he is easily taken captive.

Too often we get these certain things in our lives that we just donít want to let go of. We think that itís these certain "nuts and berries" that really make life worth living. Yet itís these very things that keep us captive. If weíd just let go, we could be free. Thereís only one thing to hold on to, our loving relationship with Jesus.

Can you truly say, "The Lord is my husband"?

:7 For a small moment have I forsaken thee

small Ė qatan Ė young, small, insignificant, unimportant

This is speaking about how the times when God would have to "spank" the nation by sending them to Babylon, or by scattering them around the world. Compared to eternity in heaven, these times were "small".

Sometimes we go through difficult times that are brought on by our own sin. Sometimes we are simply getting the "time out" we deserve, the thing that we need to cause us to stop our sin and serve the Lord. Sometimes we simply donít understand why weíre in the difficult time weíre in, and it seems for a time that the Lord has forsaken us. But donít forget, itís only temporary.

:8 but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee

Lesson

His love will never end.

Though you may think that God has forsaken you, He hasnít. You may not understand what is happening, but He still loves you. His scars prove it.

:9-10 Everlasting Love

:9 For this is as the waters of Noah unto me

After the flood of Noah, God promised to never again destroy the earth by means of a flood. In the same way, God now promises Israel that when they get to this point (after Jesus comes back), they will never again experience His wrath.

:10 neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee.

Refers to the promise God has just made saying He will never again be angry with Israel. It is also repeated in:

(Ezek 34:25 KJV) And I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land: and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods.