Summary of passage: Sing, O barren woman (those who have never borne a child) because there are more children of desolate woman than otherwise (you are not alone in your shame). Enlarge your tent for you will spread out (God will prosper you) and your descendants will dispossess nations and settle desolate cities.
Do not be afraid nor fear disgrace for you will not suffer nor be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth (exile) and remember no more the reproach of widowhood (shameful back then). The Maker is your husband, the Lord Almighty, Holy One, Redeemer. He will be there when you are rejected, deserted, or distressed in spirit.
God says in anger I hid my face from you but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you. I have sworn not to be angry with you nor rebuke you again. His unfailing love for us will not be shaken nor will his covenant of peace be removed.
The Lord will build you (Israel) with precious stones and strength your walls and battlements. He will teach all of our sons and they will have peace. He will establish us in righteousness and remove terror and tyranny. Those who attack you will surrender to you.
I created you and the destroyer. Therefore, no weapon will prevail nor any tongue will accuse you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord.
3) A barren woman (one who has never borne a child) who can now sing because now there are more children of desolate woman than of married woman (those who are unfortunate and shamed from the exile), a deserted wife or a young married one who has been rejected (God will rescue Israel from shame as widowhood brought back then and be as a husband–a greater husband than an earthly husband can be), and an afflicted city lashed by storms and not comforted (to those who feel beaten, afflicted, and uncomforted God promises riches and strength).
4) 54:1-3: Israel will be released from the shame, embarrassment, and humiliation of captivity and exile (like a barren woman felt in Isaiah’s time) because there are more desolate children than happy children. God will prosper Israel–they will have to enlarge their tents and spread out–both in number of descendants and in prosperity. The descendants will dispossess nations and settle in desolate cities.
54:4-10: Do not be afraid nor fear disgrace; Israel will not suffer shame or humiliation like a widow felt. For God is Israel’s husband, the Holy One, the Redeemer and He will call Israel back to their lands and be all things to His people. The people felt abandoned and angry but God will bring them back with kindness and compassion. God swears not to be angry with them or rebuke them again. His unfailing love for Israel will not be shaken nor his covenant of peace be removed.
54:11-17: God will build His people with riches (those who feel afflicted, lashed, and uncomforted). All Israel’s sons will be taught by the Lord and will have peace. Israel will be established in righteousness, tyranny will be far away, terror be removed, and fear vanquished. Those who attack you will surrender to you. No weapon forged against the Lord’s servants nor any tongue that accuses them shall prevail as God made both man and the destroyer. Nothing will defeat His people.
Revelation 21:10, 18-21: In the New Jerusalem the city will be built of pure gold and precious stones. It will be made new and be indestructible to the Devil.
5a) God will never be angry nor rebuke Israel again. He will never remove his unfailing love nor his covenant of peace. He will remove the people’s shame, embarrassment and humiliation and replace it with strength and riches. He is our husband, the Holy One, the Redeemer. God is all things to us and for us. He will establish us in righteousness. No weapon nor tongue forged will come against His people. He will defeat all enemies (including the Devil) since He created all things. He showers us with compassion, prosperity, and everlasting kindness. God is faithful to His promises and to His people. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord.
What does God not reveal in this passage? Does it get any better than His words here?
b) I see a change in attitude from the previous chapters of Isaiah where God was so angry at His people He sent them into exile. But given the fact He plans to reconcile all of His people (this is looking at it from God’s point of view before He sent Jesus), how can He remain mad at His people? It’s like a parent when after their kid accidentally burned the house down (extreme example of misbehavior), the parent forgives and his or her love does not vanish for the child.
In Isaiah 52:13-53:12, God is describing His servant whom He sent to save man from his sins. This is the greatest act God has and ever will done for man (by sacrificing His son for our sins so we can be with God). This is the greatest act of love for all of mankind. In Isaiah 54, God is outpouring His love and compassion on His people, promising to be as a husband to them, to prosper them, and to vanquish those who come against His people.
So, considering how God was so angry for disobedience He exiled His people to Him revealing His biggest act of love yet (Jesus’s death for His people) only shows to me how much God loved Israel at the time and now and how He can’t stay angry at them long (just like I can’t with my kids and their puppy-dog eyes).
c) Personal Question. My answer: God’s promise to never be angry nor rebuke His people again gives me great hope, especially when I fail as a human in the course of my life. That no matter what I do God is there and He loves me even if I sin over and over again. God will protect me against all things (human and the Devil) and no tongue nor weapon will prevail. God will be my husband. As a woman, this one is profound for me. I usually think of God as a father, not as a husband, which is completely different. I loved this. God will be with me as one as my husband is. Profound and requires deeper pondering.
Conclusions: Does BSF get any better than this? Powerful lesson. Great words from God through Isaiah.
Many times in my earthly marriage (past and occasionally in the present) I do feel distressed in spirit. Now, I have comfort that God can fill those voids that my husband can’t. I can see God in a new way that I just didn’t before.
I initially misunderstood question 5b. The question is not as clear as it should be. I think BSF is asking this, “Considering God’s reconciliation through His son Jesus (Isaiah 52:13-53:12), why would God have such a drastic change in attitude toward His people in light of the previous chapters where God warned and warned His people and in the end had to resort to punishment and judgment? This is how I’m interpreting the question.
But the underlying message is the same regardless: God loves us so much He sent His son and promises to protect us always. God punished his people and exiled them out of His incredible love. He sent His son our of the same love.
After all the gloom and doom of the many months we endured of Isaiah telling us how horrible we all are, this passage was a breath of fresh air. Despite all the bad man does and will do, God still loves us. Always has. Always will. Even if we don’t feel that love or we think He had hidden his face from us.
I am grateful for Enduring Word for explaining this passage so I can understand it: