3. Rejoice Now

Despite Israel's flirting with other husbands and ignorance of God, she was still promised a way out of her barren state,

Isaiah 54:1: Sing, barren, you who didn't bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, you who did not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, says Yahweh. WEB

Isaiah 54 uses present tense in the call to sing, “Sing, O barren”. Although tense is subject to poetic license in Isaiah, this suggests that the joy may have been something they should have even in the time of barrenness. Perhaps this joy should be at even just the prospect of the prosperous future.

Foundations Laid

Back in Isaiah 28, God spoke of people making an alternate covenant to a different husband. They were choosing to joy in a more temporary experience, but God showed the more permanent approach.

Isaiah 28:14: Why hear the word of Yahweh, you scoffers, that rule this people that is in Jerusalem: 15. Because you have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with Sheol are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come to us; for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves 16. therefore thus says the Lord Yahweh, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner-stone of sure foundation: he who believes shall not be in haste. ... 18. Your covenant with death shall be annulled, and your agreement with Sheol shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then you shall be trodden down by it. WEB

God was to lay that corner stone, which would mark out his promise, and demonstrate the reality of it. People would be able to see the foundation laid, and rejoice because the it showed the building as a reality. An example of this was with the laying of the foundation of the temple after the return from the Babylonian captivity,

Ezra 3:10: When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of Yahweh, they set the priests in their clothing with trumpets, and the Levites the sons of Asaph with cymbals, to praise Yahweh, after the order of David king of Israel. 11. They sang one to another in praising and giving thanks to Yahweh, saying, For he is good, for his loving kindness endures forever toward Israel. All the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised Yahweh, because the foundation of the house of Yahweh was laid. WEB

Outside the Promise

As people outside of the original promise of God, we rely on an adoption into God's household though Jesus. In Ephesians, we see this as being part of the structure on God's foundation.

Ephesians 2:19: So then you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God, 20. being built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the chief cornerstone; 21. in whom the whole building, fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord; WEB

This temple is a new creation built through the power and word of God. The word had come through the prophets in the past, but then it came through the Son, and the apostles. They all form the foundations of this building, but it is Jesus who is the chief cornerstone. This is a present building that is testament to the relationship with God

A Building of the Faithful

In Hebrews 11, we see a listing of many of the faithful through the years, who each form part of this living building that is being built up. In the following chapter, we are urged to respond to this in the way that we see our lives,

Hebrews 12:1: Therefore let us also, seeing we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2. looking to Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. WEB

This is an attitude of joy and enthusiasm because we can see everything in place for the promise to be revealed and the time of our God's glory to come. We can feel the wedding is about to happen, because we can see the reception hall being fitted out.

When we look at the sure prospect, there is a joy in the sure redemption that overtakes the present barrenness. David's prophetic prayer in Psalm 16, reveals how the future prospect translates to a present confidence,

Psalm 16:8: I have set Yahweh always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. 9. Therefore my heart is glad, and my tongue rejoices. My body shall also dwell in safety. 10. For you will not leave my soul in Sheol, Neither will you allow your holy one to see corruption. 11. You will show me the path of life. In your presence is fullness of joy. In your right hand there are pleasures forevermore. A Prayer by David. WEB

In 1 Peter, we see how baptism into Jesus puts us as part of a living hope,

1 Peter 1:3: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy became our father again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, WEB

When something in the future is certain, we can in some way consider it has already happened, and a living event. We can share an everyday joy that God has prevailed and redeemed, because of the certainty of it happening.

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