4. The Promise
The central promise of Isaiah 54 is that God would take on the part of a husband and redeemer for the people of Israel. As with Ruth, this was the defining element that would break the barrenness.
Isaiah 54:4: Don't be afraid; for you shall not be ashamed: neither be confounded; for you shall not be disappointed: for you shall forget the shame of your youth; and the reproach of your widowhood shall you remember no more. 5. For your Maker is your husband; Yahweh of Hosts is his name: and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; the God of the whole earth shall he be called. WEB
We too, as followers of Christ, look forward to the same promise. We see the believers in Christ becoming his bride,
2 Corinthians 11:1: I wish that you would bear with me in a little foolishness, but indeed you do bear with me. 2. For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy. For I married you to one husband, that I might present you as a pure virgin to Christ. WEB
This is a promise that goes far beyond the enlargement of tents. In a loving marriage, the relationship with the spouse becomes more important than possessions and personal glory.
So, for Israel, this promise of God as husband and redeemer promised joy in seeing the glory of God throughout the earth. It is as much about the position of God in the earth as it is about the redemption of the individual.
Habakkuk 2:14: For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of Yahweh, as the waters cover the sea. WEB
When Jesus taught his disciples to pray, the example prayer he gave bears out this importance. Before any mention of personal life needs, there is emphasis in praising God for his greatness, and seeing satisfaction in God's will being done. These are the things on the mind of the redeemed bride.
Luke 11:2: And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. KJV
The primary importance of the return of Jesus to the earth to set up God's Kingdom isn't so much for the hope of eternal life, as it is so much for the God to be glorified throughout the earth.
Kindness Shall not Depart
The promise was that this was to be an eternal relationship, and not one subject to the limitations we expect in this world,
Isaiah 54:10: For the mountains may depart, and the hills be removed; but my loving kindness shall not depart from you, neither shall my covenant of peace be removed, says Yahweh who has mercy on you. 11. you afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will set your stones in beautiful colors, and lay your foundations with sapphires. 12. I will make your pinnacles of rubies, and your gates of emeralds, and all your border of precious stones. WEB
God has demonstrated that his relationship persists regardless of what else we see happen in the world. We put trust in human relationships, which are fallible, and so much the more we should value this relationship with God which is eternal.
Not only is the barrenness done away with, but also the fruit is above and beyond what we naturally hope for. Not only are there children, but they are children who relate to God. Not only does the nation and people exist, but oppression is done away with. They are things that the alternatives we flirt with can't hope to offer.
Isaiah 54:13: All your children shall be taught of Yahweh; and great shall be the peace of your children. 14. In righteousness shall you be established: you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not be afraid; and from terror, for it shall not come near you. WEB
The righteousness casts out fear.
God's Strength to Deliver
There are two things necessary for a promise to be of value,
- The offer is of something desirable.
- The promise will be fulfilled.
God has clearly offered a very desirable promise. It is the difference between death and life. It is the difference between barrenness and being in God's family.
To the people of Israel though, there was the question of whether God was going to deliver on this promise, and have the power to be the redeemer. To this, God has a clear answer,
Isaiah 54:15: Behold, they may gather together, but not by me: whoever shall gather together against you shall fall because of you. 16. Behold, I have created the smith who blows the fire of coals, and brings forth a weapon for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy. 17. No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of Yahweh, and their righteousness which is of me, says Yahweh. WEB
The people were worried about the weapons of the enemy countries. They were worried that the enemy craftsmen could create weapons of destruction. However, God was the creator of the very people who created these weapons.
God has given us an offer of marriage. He has sent his son to be our redeemer, to take us from this world and joined to him in an engagement. With that comes the promise that we will turn from a people barren to a people rejoicing.
We are left with three options:
- Mourn for our barrenness
- Find a suitor that will give a measure of joy sooner
- Become part of God's family and participate in the joy of his certain plan.