Isaiah Lesson 13 Isaiah 54-55 Pastor Barry Bruce/ The Gathering
The Barren Woman Will Give Birth! Isaiah 54:1-5, Genesis 12:1-3, 17:3-4
The prophesy in chapter 54 of Isaiah is all about Israel’s forgiveness by a gracious God. At the writing of this prophecy Israel had yet to experience the full extent of their Assyrian captivity and hadn’t even began to experience their 70 year Babylonian captivity (605B.C.-536B.C.). In their future would even come a history of terrible consequences for their rejection and crucifixion of their Messiah, yet God, even in advance of their punishment for sin, gives them the promise of His forgiveness and grace. This takes us back even to the beginning of the first prophecy recorded in Isaiah where God pleads with the rebellious nation to repent:
“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient you will eat the good things of the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.” For the mouth of the Lord has spoken. Isaiah 1:18-20
The Apostle John reminds us of the same promise to anyone who sins:
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. I John 1:9
God desires to forgive and heal His wayward “wife”. That is the reference here to Israel. She is like a wayward wife. Actually God likens her to a “prostitute”.
See how the faithful city has become a prostitute! Isaiah 1:21a
She (Israel) has been unfaithful and so the Lord (her husband) has temporarily abandoned her. The promise of children that God had made to her had been delayed because of her unfaithfulness so she is “barren” and feels shame and disgrace. The “promise of children” was the promise that God first made to Abram in Genesis 12:1-3, 17:3-4. At the time of Isaiah’s prophecy Israel was not a “great nation”, let alone one who had born “many nations”, but God is reminding Israel (His chosen bride) that this promise will one day be realized. God tells His bride to enlarge her tent because her descendants will take over nations and settle in those cities. This of course is exactly what Israel has accomplished throughout history to become a great nation. The prophesy to birth many nations came through the birth of Christianity.) God will do as He promised for Israel although Israel doesn’t deserve it. It is because Christ is her redeemer.
The Adulterous Woman Brought Back Isaiah 54:6-10, Hosea 3:1-3
God is angry with sin and will allow for consequences for it, but He will not desert His people. He will have compassion on those who seek forgiveness. Let us look again at the apostle John’s writings for more clarity:
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us. 1 John 1:8-10
Both prophets Isaiah and Hosea were contemporaries with profound similarities in their writings, especially in the usage of the metaphor of Israel behaving like a prostitute. Hosea actually was told by God to marry a prostitute (Gomer) to illustrate His compassion on Israel despite her unfaithfulness and “love” for the food (“raisin cakes”) and festivals offered to Baal (false god).
God promises to bring His bride back with everlasting kindness. His unfailing love will not be shaken–just as Hosea demonstrated with his wayward wife.
The Afflicted Woman Restored Isaiah 54:11-17, Matthew 16:13-18
Once beaten down by the consequences of sin, the bride is now restored in love. The phrase: “All your children will be taught by the Lord and great will be their peace”, is a reference to the “many nations” born through faith in Christ. For we know that “peace” only comes “to those on whom His favor rests” (Luke 2:14, John 14:27, Philippians 4:7). The Lord has restored and rebuilt His bride and “No weapon forged against her will prevail”. She has been restored by being redeemed by Christ. When Peter was asked by Christ what he thought of Him, Peter responded: “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” On that fact (rock) Jesus said, “I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it. The church is this same bride redeemed and protected by the Messiah. The true bride of Christ is the church.
“Come All Who Are Thirsty” Isaiah 55, Matthew 11:28, Revelation 19:7
Isaiah 55 is an invitation to “all” who are thirsty. The Lord is likening eating bread and wine (Communion: 1 Corinthians 11:23-26) and milk (The Word of God: 1 Peter 2:2) to knowing Christ the redeemer. This is the “everlasting covenant” promised to King David (Isaiah 55:3, 1 Chronicles 17:11-14) which prophesied about Jesus’ throne being established forever.
“All” are beckoned to “Seek the Lord (Jesus) while He may be found and to call on Him while He is near.” “All” are told to forsake their wicked ways and turn to the Lord so that they can be “freely pardoned”. God closes His invitation by reminding “All” that His ways are higher than our ways, and His word has gone out from His mouth and will not return to Him empty. In other words: His invitation is through Christ alone and His people will respond. His “sheep will hear His voice” (John 10:26-28). One day all of creation will rejoice (“burst into song”) on this great wedding day of the church. Get ready!