All of Christ for All of Life
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24 June 2020 – Isaiah 54:1-10

“Sing, O barren one, who did not bear;
break forth into singing and cry aloud,
you who have not been in labor!
For the children of the desolate one will be more
than the children of her who is married,” says the LORD.
“Enlarge the place of your tent,
and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out;
do not hold back; lengthen your cords
and strengthen your stakes.
For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left,
and your offspring will possess the nations
and will people the desolate cities.

“Fear not, for you will not be ashamed;
be not confounded, for you will not be disgraced;
for you will forget the shame of your youth,
and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more.
For your Maker is your husband,
the LORD of hosts is his name;
and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer,
the God of the whole earth he is called.
For the LORD has called you
like a wife deserted and grieved in spirit,
like a wife of youth when she is cast off,
says your God.
For a brief moment I deserted you,
but with great compassion I will gather you.
In overflowing anger for a moment
I hid my face from you,
but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,”
says the LORD, your Redeemer.

“This is like the days of Noah to me:
as I swore that the waters of Noah
should no more go over the earth,
so I have sworn that I will not be angry with you,
and will not rebuke you.
For the mountains may depart
and the hills be removed,
but my steadfast love shall not depart from you,
and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,”
says the LORD, who has compassion on you.
– Isaiah 54:1–10

R. Reed Lessing writes:

There is an abrupt shift in the addressee from 53:12 to 54:1. Although not mentioned by name, Zion is addressed throughout chapter 54. For a woman not to bear children [in ancient Israel] was a great shame. To lose children [then as now] would cause great grief. To be abandoned by a husband would produce great fear. Zion’s needs are great indeed! Now these are addressed. She will be reconciled with Yahweh, and this will bring with it companionship, children, a home, and hope, and a future! There could be no other way, for Yahweh’s relationship with Zion is an affection of the heart (cf. Deut 7:7). Her children will be miraculously born (54:1), will be empowered to grow (54:2-3), and will have a mother who is cherished and cared for forever (54:4-5).

Ever since Yahweh assured Abraham and Sarah that they would have a son, Israel was called to live by trust in Him. The alternative was to accept the present reality and get lost in a world of darkness and death. But why do that? The Promiser delivers! From Sarah’s barren womb came the seed that Yahweh built into a great nation with “offspring as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore.” After a seventy-year separation in Babylon, the returners will be reunited with Yahweh. The Servant will come and reconstitute Israel as the church, which will be fruitful and multiply. Zion’s “children”, Yahweh’s “taught” disciples, and His “servants” are different names for this same group. The impossible becomes possible. These children will be Zion’s honor in place of her shame, her fullness instead of her emptiness, and her joy replacing acute sorrow. A baby boom is on the horizon! And we are part of this growing family. Paul writes, quoting 54:1:
For it is written,
“Rejoice, O barren one who does not bear;
break forth and cry aloud, you who are not in labor!
For the children of the desolate one will be more
than those of the one who has a husband.”
Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of the promise. (Gal. 4:27-28 ESV)

MEMORY WORK – Shorter Catechism Q/A 87
Q. 87. What is repentance unto life?
A. Repentance unto life is a saving grace, whereby a sinner, out of a true sense of his sin, and apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ, doth, with grief and hatred of his sin, turn from it unto God, with full purpose of, and endeavor after, new obedience.

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