ISAIAH, CHAPTER FIFTY-FOUR

ISAIAH, CHAPTER FIFTY-FOUR Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright Š 973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

God works in special ways with people who have a special destiny. Their times are in God’s hands. The higher the calling in the Kingdom, the more severe are the Divine dealings.

Table of Contents

The barren—verse 1

Mighty promises—verses 2,3

Being obedient to Christ—verses 4,5

Distressed in spirit—verse 6

Reconciliation to God—verses 7,8

A faithful promise—verse 9

The Beginning and the End—verse 10

The new Jerusalem—verses 11,12

Peace for the children—verse 13

Righteousness—verse 14

God is on our side—verse 15

Who creates the destroyer—verse 16

The Lord vindicates His servants—verse 17

ISAIAH, CHAPTER FIFTY-FOUR

The barren.

"Sing, O 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. (Isaiah 54:1)

Those who have been called of the Lord, and then have waited years for God to verify their calling, realize what it means to sing and shout for joy purely by faith. Purely by faith because the Lord says to do so and they don’t feel like rejoicing. It is an act of majesty when they obey.

There are multiplied thousands of people whom the Lord has elected to salvation and who soon find a place of joyous ministry in the Lord’s vineyard.

Every once in a while there comes along someone who is going to be used by the Lord in a special way. While others experience the ordinary problems shared by all of the Lord’s servant, these chosen ones are required to wait years before there is an evidence that God indeed has spoken.

We think of Abraham and Sarah. Their times were in God’s hand in an unusual way, weren’t they. Could they have burst into song before Sarah knew she was going to have a child?

And then there was Joseph. Around two decades went by before his dreams were clothed with reality. I wonder how Joseph regarded his youthful dreams by the time he had reached the age of twenty-nine!

One thing about Joseph: He spent time in prison, but he never became a prisoner in his mind and heart. The moment his time came he went right out and governed Egypt without a moment’s hesitation.

We must never feel sorry for ourselves or become a prisoner in attitude. The moment our time comes we will govern the nations with the Lord Jesus Christ.

Have you ever thought much about Elkanah? He had two wives, Penninah and Hannah. Penninah bore children and no doubt was a faithful Israelite. But she was mean to Hannah, the other wife. Sometimes we see this meanness among God’s people when they do not understand what God is doing with someone. Whenever God brings a person into barrenness, into a further experience of salvation, that individual may experience must meanness.

Hannah suffered at the hands of Penninah. But then Samuel was born.

Hannah had dedicated Samuel to the Lord. So after Samuel was weaned, Hannah left him at the Tabernacle in Shiloh. She saw her son only once a year, when the family went up to the annual sacrifice. Hanna brought with her a little robe.

You can imagine Hannah sitting throughout the year and making that robe while she was thinking of her little boy.

However, Hannah’s grief did not last long. She soon had five more children. We don’t know the names of Penninah’s children, or Samuel’s three brothers and two sisters. But Samuel we know. He was born out of barrenness and heartbreak. He was the prophet of Israel.

As Hannah declared:

Those who were full hire themselves out for food, but those who were hungry hunger no more. She who was barren has borne seven children, but she who has had many sons pines away. (I Samuel 2:5)

Elizabeth was barren, but she brought forth the herald of the Lamb of God. We inherit the promises through faith and patience.

Moses took care of his father-in-law’s sheep on the mountains for forty years, before God spoke to him.

The Apostle Paul suffered the goads of the Holy Spirit before Christ revealed Himself to him. Then Paul went to Arabia rather than confer with the other Apostles. Paul needed time with the Lord.

It may be possible to be raised in a Christian home, go to Bible college or seminary, and then enter the ministry. But often this is not the case. The individual is brought through unusual circumstances while God prepares him for the work to which he has been called.

God tells such to rejoice. Although it appears their life has not been as fruitful as one could wish, if it has been God who has caused the barrenness, when the right moment arrives, the fruit will be greater than the occasions when there has been no delay of the expected reward for diligence; no deferral of the fulfillment of the calling, the vision, the fervent hope.

If God has spoken to us, the promised enlargement will come in its time. Sometimes the fulfillment comes after the faithful servant has gone to be with the Lord. This makes no difference. The individual will see the blessing from his vantage point in the spirit world, and then receive the inheritance in the Day of Resurrection.

The longer I live the more convinced I am of the reality of the spirit world and of the people who inhabit it. When we die and our eyes are opened I think we are going to be amazed at how thin the line is that divides the physical world and the spirit world, and at the continual intervention of those from the spirit world who are permitted to be active on the earth.

So it does not matter when God fulfills His Word to us. Time is not the issue; neither is place. It is the substance of the promise that is important. And there is this about the Lord—He always keeps His Word!

Mighty promises.

Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. For you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities. (Isaiah 54:2,3)

God has spoken to His elect. "Be prepared, the Lord says, for an enormous inheritance."

After we have spent years waiting on the Lord with minimal evidence of what He has promised us, we have to be careful we do not lose our faith, our hope, our joy. I wonder how many young Christians have had marvels prophesied over them, or to whom the Lord has spoken quietly in prayer or through the Words of the Scriptures.

But then nothing unusual takes place. Perhaps they marry, have children, work at some form of employment. The years go by. "I guess nothing is going to happen after all. I was sure at the time it was the Lord, but evidently not."

We must never, never, never take this attitude. We must pray every day as though we were the greatest apostle on the earth, and then not be moved when nothing unusual took place.

The problem is, I think, that when people are not used by the Lord they stop praying and reading the Word. They don’t keep the vision, the sense of expectation, hot. They become entangled in the things of the world, accepting the idea that no great thing could take place in their life.

They forget about how the Lord works with barren people.

I remember in Bible school running across the promise that if we believe in Jesus we would do greater works than He did. I checked the Greek carefully. Yes, it means greater works.

At that point I decided to believe God for the greater works. I am old now and have not seen them. But I know I shall some day, whether in this world or the next. I shall do greater works than the Lord did two thousand years ago.

God has given me some promises. I know they shall be fulfilled perfectly. When, I couldn’t tell you. But they shall be fulfilled!

Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. For you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities. (Isaiah 54:2,3)

Think about it! "Your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities."

This is similar to the promise made to Abraham when as yet he and Sarah had no children.

Abraham was a man of faith, and what God spoke to Him is still coming to pass; for all who belong to Christ are of the one Seed of Abraham.

We are not to adopt a defeated attitude. Rather in our heart we are to enlarge the place of our tent. W always must be getting ready to receive unprecedented revival, incredible fruitfulness.

"But I have waited so long, and nothing has happened!" Yes, you have. But you have not waited long enough. Are you still praying, hoping, trusting? If so, do not quit. Stay steady with God. Your day shall come!

Don’t be bound by time and space. Reach up and take hold of heavenly things, Project your thoughts into the future and contemplate the new world of righteousness that is on the horizon. Then go back to prayer and the Bible and keep sending up to God your attitude of faith and expectancy. You will not be disappointed!

Being obedient to Christ.

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. 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. (Isaiah 54:4,5)

The above passage reminds me of the following verse:

Hear the word of the LORD, you who tremble at his word: "Your brothers who hate you, and exclude you because of my name, have said, ‘Let the LORD be glorified, that we may see your joy!’ Yet they will be put to shame." (Isaiah 66:5)

When we decide to stop trying to build our religious empire, and begin to trust the Lord’s Word that He will build His own Kingdom, we are apt to become the focus of slander and criticism. This is one of the sufferings of Christ, isn’t it?

While we go around looking to the Lord, praising Him in our heart, it appears we are not accomplishing much of anything. But we actually are! We are being obedient to Christ instead of walking in the light of our own fires.

Such separation to the Lord may make us appear as a "widow," so to speak. The truth is, our Maker is our husband. Our joy and song are directed toward Him. We evidently are not cutting much of a figure in the religious world; but God’s eye is on us. The promise of God is He will not let us be disappointed.

When the Lord speaks of those who are of the synagogue of Satan but say they are Jews, He is referring to Christians who are busily engaged in religious endeavors. They are quick to slander anyone who is patiently waiting on the Lord. This is why they are of the synagogue of Satan, of the Accuser. They yet shall worship God at the feet of those who have been serving God quietly all the time.

The God of all the earth is with us, so we will not pay to much attention to those who wish to scorn us. After all, they scorned the very Son of God! So what can we expect? Worldly people hate the Lord; and they will hate us if He has called us out of the world.

Distressed in spirit.

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. (Isaiah 54:6)

I wonder how many of us were called by the Lord when we were young. We started out full of ideas about what great things we were going to do for the Lord.

But then it appears He has deserted us. Thing are not working out for us exactly as we had imagine they would.

Where is the Lord? Why are we distressed in spirit.? Have we done something wrong? I know from what Jeremiah wrote that he had many such thoughts. Yet the promise to Jeremiah when he was a boy was that he would tear down and build up nations.

But look what he came to!

Cursed be the day I was born! May the day my mother bore me not be blessed! Cursed be the man who brought my father the news, who made him very glad, saying, "A child is born to you—a son!" (Jeremiah 20:14,15)

And Job also.

May the day of my birth perish, and the night it was said, " boy is born!" (Job 3:3)

There do come such times to the believer who is following on to know the Lord.

Reconciliation to God.

For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. 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. (Isaiah 54:7,8)

Before any of us can press past the experience of Pentecost into the fullness of God, there must come a time of judgment upon us. When we receive Christ we are reconciled to God legally. God esteems us to be righteous because we have obeyed him by placing our faith in the blood atonement made on the cross of Calvary.

We still may love the world, be filled with the lusts and passions of the flesh and soul, and be driven by our self-will and personal ambition. But God passes over us and our family in the hour of judgment because He sees the blood of His Son.

To this point we have been reconciled to God in a legal sense.

What shall we compare legal reconciliation to? Perhaps we could think of someone enlisting in the United States Marine Corps. Once a young man signs the required papers and takes the required oath, he legally is a marine. And yet he is not a marine because he has not had the training. He has not gone through basic or advanced training. He has been accepted in the Marine Corps and legally is a marine. But there is a lot more to being a marine than merely enlisting.

There is a lot more to being reconciled to God than merely being "accepted in the Beloved."

If we really have received the Lord, pray and read our Bible every day, and become involved in a local assembly of fervent Christians, the Holy Spirit begins to deal with us according to the calling that is on our life. We become reconciled to God in actuality, not just legally, as we gain the victory over each challenge set before us. A young man becomes a marine after he has successfully gone through basic and advanced training.

We can get just so far with the Lord, and then there will come this period of barrenness; of God’s "anger," so to speak; of chastening and testing. It is a wilderness that we must go through before entering our land of promise.

For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. 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. (Isaiah 54:7,8)

You feel like you have been abandoned. You have to hold on, remembering that the Lord who was such a cause of rejoicing to you in earlier days has not changed. He is attacking the enemy in your personality. When God is satisfied with this phase of your experience He will return. He always will return!

There are things in your personality that have not been reconciled to God; that He is angry with. If you will obey the Holy Spirit, the Spirit will show you what to do about each of these enemies, whether they have to do with the love of the world and trust in the world, or with the lusts that dwell in your sinful nature, or with your pride and personal ambition.

This time of reconciliation to God is portrayed by the Jewish Day of Atonement, which follows the celebration of Pentecost.

It is kind of like Jacob wrestling with the angel; like Abraham being challenged to slay Isaac; like Joseph in Prison. It is a period of barrenness.

I have been there, and may go there again. Who knows? So I can tell you from experience that this is not a joyous period of your Christian life. But when you come forth from the flames, as was true of the three Hebrew young men you will know God for yourself. He no longer will be just the house of God,. He will be the God of the house of God.

Job said, "I heard about you and now I have seen you." It is this sort of thing.

Your period of testing is not a grave, it is a tunnel. There is light at the end. Don’t be surprised at the fiery trial that shall test you. This fire is part of the salvation experience.

We Christians of today are far too "light." Do you know what I mean by that? We just are not deep enough in God. I am not speaking of head knowledge. I am referring to the depth of our spirit in God.

The Bible says the saints shall judge the world, and so they shall. The Bible says we shall judge angels, and so we shall.

Think of the Christians you know. How many of them do you think are qualified to judge the rebellious lords of the heavens? Do you see what I mean?

How, then, do we put on spiritual weight? Only as we suffer in the Lord. Only as we patiently bear our cross of self-denial, plugging along day by day.

A faithful promise.

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. (Isaiah 54:9)

The Lord Jesus told us He rebukes and chastens those whom He loves. He said, "Be zealous, therefore, and repent."

As the Holy Spirit shows us the sin in our life we are to repent. It does not matter how long it takes, we are to keep on making the required changes in our personality. If we do not respond to the Holy Spirit, our resurrection from the dead will be a sorry affair.

But if we are willing and obedient, the day will arrive when God establishes, strengthens, and settles us. We have received double chastening for our sins. Our warfare has been accomplished. A crown of life has been prepared for us, and will be given to us when the Lord appears.

Furthermore, God has sworn that once our time of testing has been completed, God will never be angry with us or rebuke us again.

The Beginning and the End.

"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. (Isaiah 54:10)

The above verse may not mean too much to the Christian who has not as yet gone through his or her time of testing. But to the believer who has wondered year after year if his joy would ever return; if it ever would be like it had been at a previous time, the promise of the Lord that His love and peace would never be removed from us again is extremely important.

Here we sit in our dungeon, marking off the days, with no idea why we are here or how long we will be here It is then the Books of Job and Lamentations are bread and water for us. Why are we here? How long will we be here?

The Lord said He is the Beginning and the End, the Alpha and Omega. We know from this that after our travail of birth, so to speak, He will come forth in us. Then we shall see Him again and our joy shall be full. The pain no longer will be remembered.

The new Jerusalem.

O afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted, I will build you with stones of turquoise, your foundations with sapphires. I will make your battlements of rubies, your gates of sparkling jewels, and all your walls of precious stones. (Isaiah 54:11,12)

The city that is built with stones of turquoise and the foundations with sapphires is, of course, the new Jerusalem, the glorified Christian Church. We understand, therefore, that the saints who compose the new Jerusalem have been lashed by storms and not comforted.

It is interesting to me that the new Jerusalem is born from saints who have experienced barrenness. The man-driven Christian churches abound with members and new buildings. But the eternal city is not produced by the modern evangelistic programs, although God may use such programs to acquaint His elect with the Gospel.

The new Jerusalem comes forth as faithful believers submit themselves to the dealings of God, not understanding too well what is happening to them. They remain faithful to Jesus to the end of their lives. It is on these obedient servants that Jesus Christ builds His Church.

The turquoise, the sapphires, the rubies, the sparkling jewels and precious stones, are the traits of character developed in the saints as these believers are subjected to various fires and pressures. The great gates of pearl, the entrances to the Presence of God and the Lamb, are formed through years of irritations and frustrations.

Peace for the children.

All your sons will be taught by the LORD, and great will be your children’s peace. (Isaiah 54:13)

I imagine many Christian parents have been comforted by the above verse, as they have interceded with God concerning their children and grandchildren. I know Audrey and I have. And we should be comforted! God is faithful to hear and answer prayer for our children and young people.

Righteousness.

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. (Isaiah 54:14)

It appears to me that Satan has fought the issue of righteousness more than any other part of God’s program.

Paul’s writing sometimes is difficult to understand. Some of his writing in the Book of Romans can be interpreted to mean the only righteousness available to Christians is that which is ascribed to us on the basis of our receiving Jesus Christ as our Savior.

The truth is, the purpose of ascribed righteousness is to make it possible for us to move on to actual righteousness of behavior. I think anyone can see the logic of this. A kingdom comprising people who are actually sinful but to whom God attributes righteousness would be worse than Hell itself. At least in Hell we understand God is not pleased with us.

If all we had to look forward to is a new world of imputed righteousness where the people are filled with malice and wickedness, as is true of the Christian churches of our day, we would be in despair. There would be no hope. God has married Satan. All is lost for those who love righteousness.

The emphasis on ascribed righteousness is the mammoth error of our times. The result of such preaching is believers who are shallow, sinful, giddy, foolish, self-seeking. There are notable exceptions. But such is too often the case.

Unless I am quite mistaken, the Holy Spirit is ready today to assist anyone who wishes to be delivered from the compulsions of sin. We already have been delivered from the guilt of our sins. Now we need to be delivered from the urge we have to sin, that is, from our sinful nature.

Is such deliverance possible through Jesus Christ? Of course it is. If all Jesus could do was forgive our sins, and had no authority or power to deliver us from the chains of sin, He is not really our Redeemer. A redeemer is one who rescues us from bondage. To forgive us and then not redeem us from the hand of Satan is an ineffectual salvation to say the least.

We need to be delivered from our sins! We need to be released from the compulsions of our sinful nature! We need to do God’s will in the earth as it is in Heaven!

Who can deliver us? The Lion of Judah can break every chain. He can and shall destroy the works of the devil in every believer who comes to Him in faith.

Jesus Christ is not powerless? He is stronger than the devil. He can and shall destroy those bondages from us if we will look to Him.

There is no sinful chain in our life which Jesus Christ cannot break. No chain whatever, whether it be lust, or hatred, or unforgiveness, or a critical spirit, or jealousy, or envy, or pride, or selfish ambition, or cruelty, or drugs, or alcohol, or pornography, or bitterness, or any other work of darkness. All these abound in the Christian churches, including the molesting of children. The Lord Jesus Christ has the authority and the power to destroy these urges, removing them totally from our personality.

You have only to ask Him to see if I am speaking the truth.

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. (Isaiah 54:14)

So when the unchanging Word of God states we shall be established, it means in actual righteousness of personality and behavior.

When we are serving God in righteousness, tyranny and terror are removed far away from us. Dread will not come near us. We have nothing to fear.

Who is he who will harm us if we are a follower of that which is good?

The next time dread or fear or terror enter your mind or your home, recognize that this is not God. Call the darkness by name and command it to leave in Jesus’ name.

The gloom will leave! God has promised you peace and safety. Keep on asking. God will keep on answering. This is His promise to you.

God is on our side.

If anyone does attack you, it will not be my doing; whoever attacks you will surrender to you. (Isaiah 54:15)

What a wonderful promise! I personally have been attacked in different ways. God always has delivered me from those who would harm me. I have stood on the above promise and also on the Word that says when a man’s ways please the Lord, the Lord makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.

Another Word is, "Who is he who will harm you if you be a follower of that which is good?"

It is apparent from the Book of Psalms that King David had numerous enemies. No doubt there was a lot of palace intrigue, envy, jealousy. David did not boast of his wealth or his army. You can tell from reading the Book of Psalms (which is largely about warfare) that David remained humble in the sight of God, and always trusted in God to deliver him.

He who boasts, let him boast in the Lord. Our own strength will never save us. God’s angels camp around those who fear the Lord, and who trust in Him for every needed deliverance.

Who creates the destroyer?

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 work havoc; (Isaiah 54:16)

When we are being attacked by various weapons, whether they be slander, or lawsuits, or war, or by anything else that comes against us, it is comforting to realize it is God who created the persons who are doing the attacking. If we are really serving the Lord as we should be, we have nothing to fear.

If it is God who created the destroyer to work havoc, there is no need for us to accept fear, or dread, or mental torment of any sort. God is in control and will protect us if we are pleasing Him by our attitude and behavior.

The Lord vindicates His servants.

"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. (Isaiah 54:17)

To be the object of criticism and slander is to experience the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings. Since none of us is perfect, there are many parts of our life that are vulnerable to attack. We simply are not completely immune to slander.

God realizes this. If God finds us worthy, He is well able to vindicate us. We don’t have to be blameless to be supported by the Lord, although we are to live in such a manner that the adversaries cannot accuse us. But when they do, and we have followed the Lord diligently to the best of our ability, God will vindicate us.

Christ Himself is Truth, the only Truth there is. When He is satisfied that we have done our part in serving Him, even though we are not blameless, He enables us to arise triumphantly to the dismay of those who would accuse us.

King David was not a perfect man and sinned grievously on at least one occasion. But God has chosen to exalt David, and so David’s Psalms bless the righteous to the present hour. When anyone decides to criticize David, God comes to his rescue.

God is our Protector. Whom shall we fear?