Another repeated theme in the later chapters of Isaiah is that of great numerical growth (see Isaiah 49:19, 20). It is a growth so significant, indeed so miraculous (‘’barren woman’’), that it takes more than the return from Babylonian exile to account for it. These verses must look toward the coming of the Messiah and the advancement of His Kingdom. Following His suffering and triumph, which we thought about yesterday, we see the outworking of that victory in the world. The Apostle Paul quoted (1) and applied it to the ‘’Jerusalem that is above’’, i.e. the church (Galatians 4:24-28). Let’s not be content with a small vision, but work for, and pray for, and expect the church’s growth.
‘’In Christian terms, the Calvary of ch.53 is followed by the growing church of ch.54 and the gospel call of ch.55.’’ Derek Kidner: ‘New Bible Commentary’, pp.663, 664
Verses 1-3: The little post-exilic community of Jews did grow and spread out to some degree, but these words are now being fulfilled in the expansion of Christ’s Kingdom on earth. ‘’Spread out! Think big!…You’re going to need lots of elbow room for your growing family. You’re going to take over whole nations; you’re going to resettle abandoned cities.’’ The Message.
Verses 4-8: Jerusalem will forget the ‘’shame’’ of her ‘’youth’’ (the slavery in Egypt), and the ‘’reproach’’ of her ‘’widowhood’’ (4 – the exile in Babylon). She has a Husband, her ‘’Maker…the LORD Almighty’’ (5). She was like a ‘’wife deserted’’ (6), but was only ‘’abandoned’’ for a ‘’brief moment’’ for her unfaithfulness. However, God was going to turn things around (7, 8) and bring His wife back into the family home. The separation was never going to be final; it was just with a view to bringing the wayward spouse to her senses; a ‘short, sharp shock’ you might say!
Verses 9, 10: This was a ‘line in the sand’ moment, such as when God promised that He would never destroy the world again by a flood (Genesis 9:11). Here He promises that His ‘’covenant of peace’’ will never be removed (10). He will never stop loving His people. They can count on it.This is the covenant in which the Lord promised to be Israel’s God forever (Genesis 17:7). It includes within it a promise of protection and security – that the spiritual enemies of God’s people will never prevail against them (Matthew 16:18).
Verses 11-15: Here we have a figurative description of Jerusalem following the exile. But it is even more a picture of the ‘’new Jerusalem’’ which will come down from heaven at the culmination of history (Revelation 21:2, 10, 11, 18-21). There is no guarantee that God’s people will not come under attack, but in the midst of that they can know ‘’great…peace’’ (13).
Verses 16, 17: ‘’This is the true strength of God’s city, which is promised not immunity from attack but the unanswerable weapon of truth (17; cf. Lk.21:15).’’ Derek Kidner: ‘New Bible Commentary’, p.664.
Prayer: I thank you Lord Jesus for the working out of your triumph in the world, and for allowing me to be part of it.