Isaiah 54 – The Servant Establishes a New Covenant
54 “Sing, barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, 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.
If Israel is the barren woman, why is she barren? She is barren because she is in exile. Her numbers are dwindling. He husband was her king and he was impotent because he did not trust in the Lord. Because of the servant, the woman won’t need a king as a husband. And the woman will not only have children from the Abrahamic covenant, she will produce children from the whole world through the new covenant in Jesus Christ.
2 “Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. 3 For you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities.
This is a wonderful image. It harkens back to the time before the stationary temple when the Holy of Holies was in the Tent of Meeting. There were restrictions on how close people could come to the Tabernacle. It was set. But this tent is expansive. It is growing. It requires stronger stakes and longer cords because the tent is being made bigger and bigger. It will accommodate, not only a few priests or selected people, but all the children of Israel – Jew and gentile. The descendants have disposed nations the wrong way (inquisition, etc.). But telling the gospel in love and living in a manner worthy of the gospel of Jesus Christ has radically transformed nations all over the earth. It is a big tent.
4 “Do not be afraid; you will not be put to 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. 5 For your Maker is your husband— the Lord Almighty is his name— the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth.
The only way that someone who brings shame upon themselves cannot be put to shame is if that shame is removed. The only way someone who has disgraced themselves will not be humiliated is if that disgrace is removed. The shame of Israel’s youth is their exile in Egypt. Why were they slaves in Egypt? They stayed too long. They chose circumstantial happiness over covenant relationship joy. They should have stayed during the famine and went home before their land was taken. Instead they prospered in Egypt as shepherds and stayed so long that there was finally a Pharaoh who forgot who Joseph was and had no sense of God’s covenant loyalty with Israel.
God is Israel’s husband and redeemer. He lifts up His bride. God makes her clean, pure, and brilliant. This is a promise for the past, present, near future, far future, and forever.
6 The Lord 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. 7 “For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. 8 In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord your Redeemer.
9 “To me this is like the days of Noah, when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth. So now I have sworn not to be angry with you, never to rebuke you again. 10 Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.
Marriage is a covenant relationship. The covenant can be dented but it can’t be broken. As long as one person is alive to carry on the covenant then the covenant will last for continuous generations. Vs. 8 everlasting kindness is olam chesed. It is everlasting covenant loyalty. Compassion is racham – it is love in action, compassion is an action word. It is an intense emotion that drives an overt action. Vs. 10 unfailing love is – lo yamus. It is chesed that will not be removed. And the covenant that is mentioned is a covenant of peace. Berith shalom. It is the relationship that produces completion and wholeness and makes the broken new.
11 “Afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted, I will rebuild you with stones of turquoise,[a] your foundations with lapis lazuli. 12 I will make your battlements of rubies, your gates of sparkling jewels, and all your walls of precious stones. 13 All your children will be taught by the Lord, and great will be their peace. 14 In righteousness you will be established: Tyranny will be far from you; you will have nothing to fear. Terror will be far removed; it will not come near you. 15 If anyone does attack you, it will not be my doing; whoever attacks you will surrender to you.
16 “See, it is I who created the blacksmith who fans the coals into flame and forges a weapon fit for its work. And it is I who have created the destroyer to wreak havoc; 17 no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the Lord.
Vs. 11-17 are confirmations of the covenant parameters. Vs. 13 Loving God and the covenant parameters will be taught to your children by the Lord Himself. They will know and understand the parameters of the covenant and they will have shalom, completeness. Tsedaqah or righteousness is a legal word. It is the parameters of the covenant which, when the covenant is kept, results in provision, protection, defense, and vindication.