For Your Maker is Your Husband,

the LORD Almighty is His Name

54: 1-8

   DIG: How can we be confident that this passage refers to the Messianic Kingdom and not the return of the exiles from Babylon? Earlier Abraham and Sarah were used as an example of faith for the believing remnant (51:2). How is Sarah’s experience reflected in these verses as well (Genesis 18:9-14; 21:6-7)? Since singleness and barrenness were causes of shame for a woman, how would that exemplify the experience of the believing remnant during the Great Tribulation? What is the point of each analogy?

   REFLECT: What circumstances have caused you to feel abandoned by the LORD? At those times, as a part of the bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:25-27; Second Corinthians 11:2-3), how might you be helped by the picture of God as your Husband renewing His vows to you? When have you felt like a slave bought off of the slave block? Who bought you back? How much did it cost? What is your response?

    As a result of Isra'el’s national confession of sin, this is a far eschatological prophecy pointing to Isra'el’s national regeneration and return to the Land in peace and security during the messianic Kingdom. In Chapter 54 the invitation is limited to Isra'el. At the end of the Great Tribulation all Isra'el will be saved (Romans 11:26a). Jeremiah tells us that there will be no Jewish unbelievers in the messianic Kingdom when he says: No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, “Know the LORD,” because they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” (see my commentary on Jeremiah Eo - I Will Make a New Covenant with the People of Yisra'el). Every Jew will accept Messiah when the time comes.

    Sing, O barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy (54:1a). It is cruel to ask a barren woman to sing unless you are able to offer her the only thing that will make her happy – children! And during the messianic Kingdom God will make a barren Sarah more fruitful than a fertile Hagar. Being a barren woman in Isra'el was a disgrace; but children were a sign of the LORD’s blessing. Here Isra'el is pictured as a woman who had no children, but by the grace of God became fertile again. First, there is a call to burst into song and shout for joy, and it is a gradual development upward. First, sing. Second, burst into song. Third, shout for joy. The problems during the Great Tribulation will vanish and future blessings of the messianic Kingdom are at hand.

    You who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband: says the LORD (54:1b). The past problems are spelled out: you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman. The point here is that Isra'el had produced far more children during her spiritual adultery, separation, and divorce than when she was faithful to her husband. Because of that, the majority of the children that Isra'el has produced have been illegitimate ones. For that reason, the Land has become desolate. The Hebrew word desolate is a reference to being desolate without inhabitants.

    However, now there is going to be a changed condition. In the Near East women were responsible for the construction and maintenance of the family tents, so it is appropriate that this formerly barren woman would now be so fertile that she would be called upon to enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes (54:2). Jerusalem, once desolate and in mourning during the Great Tribulation, will be crowded with people. The Land that is about to be possessed is to be filled completely. Never in Jewish history has Isra'el possessed and inhabited all of the Promised Land. The Land that ADONAI marked out for them in Joshua 1:4 is about 300,000 square miles. Even in the height of Israel’s power under David and Solomon they only occupied about 30,000 square miles. That’s quite a difference. But when the remarriage takes place, for the first time Isra'el will possess all of the Promised Land. But why do they need a bigger tent? We find the answer to that in the next verse.

    Then God tells Isra'el: For you will spread out to the right and left (which are also used for north and south) or on all sides; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities (54:3). The reason she is to enlarge the area in which she will live and the tent itself is because she will produce far more children in her faithfulness than she did in her unfaithfulness. Furthermore, Israel will possess and rebuild areas and cities that she has never before inhabited as her own (See how 54:17 also relates to this verse). This is quite a verse. Will they dispossess the Palestinians? Will they dispossess Jordan? Syria? Iran? This did not happen when the exiles returned home from the Babylonian Captivity. In fact, in 70 AD the Romans came and killed over a million Jews and dispersed the survivors throughout the world. The only time Isra'el will possess all the Land that the LORD intended for them to have is during the millennial Kingdom.

    Do not be afraid; you will not suffer shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood (54:4). God will take back Israel as a man would take back his unfaithful wife. One of the results of being childless in the ancient world was terrible shame (First Samuel 2:3-5; Luke 1:25). A woman was considered at best a failure, and at worst, guilty of some secret sin. Her entire life was spent in humiliation (Genesis 16:4 and First Samuel 1:6). Historically, Israel had been humiliated, hunted, and put to shame in the Great Tribulation. But now God says to the barren woman, to the humiliated nation, the days of shame are over. The feelings of inferiority are to be removed. On the negative side, she will not suffer shame, disgrace, or feel humiliation again. On the positive side, she will be so fruitful that she will remember no more the reproach of her widowhood during the Great Tribulation.

    For your Maker is your Husband, the LORD of heaven’s angelic armies (CJB) is His name (54:5a). How is it that the childless, rejected woman should still have hope after all the fruitless years, after the depths of her sins against her Husband? The answer lies in Him. Who is this Husband of hers? He is no ordinary person.226 And who is Isra'el’s Husband? Isra'el’s Husband is Isra'el’s Maker. The Holy One of Isra'el is her Redeemer (35:9-10), the ever-present Next-of-Kin, at hand to meet every need, bear every burden and pay every price. He is called the God of all the earth (54:5b). It is one thing to want to redeem her, but it is quite another to have the power to do so. Our God has both the desire and the power. How so? He is not merely one of the many idols Israel had worshiped in the past, He is the same one who is called the God of the whole earth. He has a unique relationship to Israel. Not only is He Isra'el’s Maker, but her Redeemer also.

    Inevitably, this close relationship between Maker, Redeemer and Husband reminds us of the story of Ruth. She was a childless, foreign widow, as humiliating and hopeless position as it was possible to be in. But the man who fell in love with her was also just the man who was able to redeem the land and name of her dead husband. This is our LORD, the One who is able make all things right. Who is this Redeemer? He is the Holy One of Isra'el. This is Isaiah’s favorite term to express the absolute supremacy of the LORD. He is the only One who is so holy that to see Him is to die (Exodus 33:12-23), and at the same time so humble as to be born in a stable and die a criminal’s death on the cross.

    ADONAI will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit, a wife who married young, only to be rejected, says your God (54:6). As for the wife, at one time she was a wife deserted and distressed in spirit, a wife who married young, only to be rejected. But God, who has the power to do whatever He wishes, does not want to leave her in the terrible condition that her sins have left her in but to buy her back again. Here our thoughts automatically go to the story of Hosea. His wife’s continual prostitution had brought her to the slave block (Hosea 3:2). Hosea could have easily left her to be sold and no one would have blamed him. But as he looked at her, he didn’t see the used, embittered adulteress with resentful eyes and broken dreams. He saw the wife of his youth, with laughing, dancing eyes. And even though she had been rejected as a result of her own foolishness, her husband bought her back off of the slave block.

    Lastly, we see the contrast between the wrath and the blessing of God. Although her persecution lasted for a long period of time, yet her future blessings will make her period of abandonment seem like only a brief moment. Though not stated here, Isaiah had given the reasons for it several times. It was because of the nation’s sins (50:1-11), and the LORD’s commitment to His word. The contrast continues.

    ADONAI said: For a brief moment it seemed like I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I had always planned to bring you back. In a surge of anger I hid My face from you for a moment (54:7-8a). Although at one time God was angry at Isra'el (28:15 and 18), and hid His face from her for a moment, His anger would not last forever. God’s anger is brief, but His love is everlasting. In fact, God is love (First John 4:8b). This is His unchanging essence. But we should not be troubled over the idea of an angry God. ADONAI is passionately concerned about us and the thought that we should destroy ourselves and our relationship with Him stirs Him to action. How much better is it to have a loving father who is angry with his child’s self-destructive behavior than one who neither knows or cares what is happening? Our society is falling apart because uninvolved, uncaring fathers.

    But with everlasting loving kindness (hesed) I will have compassion on you, says the LORD your Redeemer (54:8b). Yes, God’s anger may have surged over Israel like a tsunami during the Great Tribulation, but that was nothing compared to the unchanging sea of His righteous deliverance. He will have compassion on her again one day. As with Gomer on the slave block, only ADONAI can see the wife of his youth as He looks at Isra'el stuck in her sin. Before she had confessed her sin and asked Jesus to come back to save her (see my commentary on Revelation Ev – The Basis for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ), God had already reconciled Himself to her, and had satisfied Himself of her sins through the death of His Son on the cross.

    The First Covenant says it this way: Surely He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered Him stricken by God, smitten by Him and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed (53:3-4). The New Covenant says it this way: But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). All that remains for us to do, as it will be for the nation of Isra'el at the end of the Great Tribulation, is to accept this as fact and rejoice in it.227

    It is not only Isra'el, but all of us who are going to look back at what we thought was horrible down here in this life. It will seem, as Paul described it, as our light and momentary troubles that will achieve for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. We need to get our eyes focused on the things that are not seen rather than the things that are seen (Second Corinthians 4:16-18).

 

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