The Book of Isaiah
ISRAEL, THE RESTORED WIFE OF JEHOVAH
Text: ISAIAH 54
1. Isaiah 54 portrays the results of the Messiah’s atonement. Isaiah 53:10 says, “He shall see his seed (spiritual offspring).” Isaiah 53:11 says, “He shall see of the travail of his soul.”
2. Isaiah 54 is a continuation and further development of these great Messianic prophecies.
3. Isaiah 53 deals with our suffering Saviour on the cross. The first word of chapter 54 is, “Sing.”
4. But who is singing? “O barren, thou that didst not bear” (54:1).
5. Here in Isaiah 54, Israel is portrayed as the barren wife of Jehovah. She has been set aside, but only “for a small moment” (54:7; 50:1).
6. After this temporary separation, Israel shall be restored (cf. 61:1-5).
7. Some teach that these prophecies are fulfilled in the NT church, but this is not true. These prophecies will be literally fulfilled by the nation Israel when Christ returns.
8. Some turn to Galatians 4:27, where the apostle Paul cites Isaiah 54:1. However, Paul was applying Isaiah 54:1 to make a point. Just as God graciously blessed Sarah, He will graciously bless the church.
9. Alfred Martin wrote, “The most basic principle of Bible interpretation is at stake, and those who recklessly deny any future blessings for the nation of Israel have cast themselves adrift in a hopeless sea of allegorism, without chart or compass. If all the future blessings promised to the nation Israel are to be fulfilled spiritually in the Church, as many allege, why are not those same interpreters willing to take upon themselves all the curses pronounced upon the nation Israel?” (Isaiah, the Salvation of Jehovah).
I. THE JOY OF SINGING
1. Isaiah refers to singing over thirty times. Isaiah 42:10 says, “Sing unto the LORD a new song, and His praise from the end of the earth.”
2. This prophecy will be fulfilled at the second coming of Christ (59:20). Israel in captivity is pictured as wife who has been put away for unfaithfulness. She is now barren and childless (54:1).
3. But when Christ returns, Israel will repent and be restored. Then she will “break forth into singing, and cry aloud” (54:1).
4. Israel will be joyfully singing in that day because God will bless her with many children (54:1). Just like God blessed barren Sarah, God will bless barren Israel (cf. 51:1-3).
5. During the Christmas season, my wife heard a Jewish man say that Christmas has produced much beautiful music. Even unbelievers recognize this. Every year at Christmas time, multitudes of unsaved people pack out the music halls to hear “Handel’s Messiah.”
6. And they all rise to their feet when the choir sings the “Hallelujah Chorus.” This tradition of standing during the “Hallelujah Chorus” began during a performance on March 23, 1743 when the king of England, King George II, was attending the performance. When the “Hallelujah Chorus” began King George rose and so the audience immediately rose also.
7. But the world does not produce music like this. They have their nasty rap and rock and blues, music of the flesh.
8. They are not singing for joy over in Israel tonight. But when Christ returns, a repentant and restored Israel will sing for joy.
II. THE JOY OF EXPANSION (54:2, 3).
1. Israel has never occupied the entire land given to them by the Lord. J Vernon McGee writes, “The land God marked out for them in Joshua 1:4 is about 300,000 square miles. Even in Israel’s heyday, when they reached their zenith under David and Solomon, they only occupied 30,000 square miles – that is quite a difference. Now God says they are going to lengthen their cords and strengthen their stakes” (Thru the Bible).
2. Today Israel is being constantly pressured to give up more and more of their land. This will continue through the tribulation. But when Christ returns, things will be much different (54:2-7).
III. THE JOY OF KINDNESS (54:8, 9).
1. God’s kindness is an “everlasting kindness” (54:8). Some people are kind for a while, but sometimes they are not so kind. In fact, at times they can be very unkind. But not God.
2. As an unfaithful wife, Israel had forsaken God, but God did not give up on Israel (54:5-8). God says in Isaiah 54:10, “For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee…”
3. God says in Isaiah 54:4, “Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed…” In Israel, an adulterous woman was publicly shamed, and even put to death. But God is kind to Israel.
4. You may recall that when Judah heard that Tamar, his daughter-in-law, had played the harlot, and was with child by whoredom, Judah said, “Bring her forth, and let her be burnt” (Genesis 38:24).
5. That’s not very kind! Of course, Judah changed his mind when he found out he was the father.
6. Some might wonder – but didn’t God chasten Israel severely for their rebelliousness? Yes, but God always chastens us because of His great love for us.
7. Revelation 3:19 says, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”
8. Hebrews 12:6 says, “For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.”
9. God was gracious with Noah and his family (54:9). God was gracious to Noah’s descendants. He promised never again to destroy the world by a flood.
10. Genesis 9:11 says, “And I will establish my covenant with you, neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.”
11. Then in verses 13, 14, and 15: “I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.”
12. So whenever we see a rainbow, we are reminded of God’s promise. How wicked that the sodomites have made the rainbow a symbol for their perversion and rebellion.
IV. THE JOY OF SECURITY (54:14-17)
1. Israel is not very secure tonight. They have the nuclear bomb but that cannot guarantee security and safety. It only guarantees that if any country is crazy enough to attack Israel, they are in danger of being wiped out.
2. But when Christ returns they will be safe and secure. There is great pressure upon Israel to give Jerusalem to the Muslims. But when Christ returns He will set up His throne in Jerusalem.
3. The city of Jerusalem will be rebuilt (54:11-17).
4. The beautiful description of Isaiah 54:11 and 12 suggest that Isaiah is “blending the glory of the millennial Jerusalem, which will be the capital of the millennial earth with the eternal city John describes” in Revelation 21 (Unger’s Commentary on the OT).
5. We know this prophecy has never been fulfilled, and can only be fulfilled when Israel receives their Messiah (54:13).
6. Isaiah 54:13 reminds us of Isaiah 11:9, “For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.”
1. In John 6:45 our Lord quoted Isaiah 54:13 when He said to the murmuring Jews, “It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God.”
2. Our Lord was applying this Scripture to His day, and we can apply it to ours as well.
3. In I Thess. 4:9, the apostle Paul writes, “Ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.”
4. It is wonderful indeed to be taught of God? The Holy Spirit is our best teacher.