Isaiah 54:1-17 The Kingdom Is Expanding

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        THE KINGDOM IS EXPANDING
    Isaiah 54:1-17             April 26 2009

    The death of Christ is the life of the church and of all
that truly belong to it; and therefore very fitly, after the
prophet had foretold the sufferings of Christ, he foretels
the flourishing of the church, which is a part of his glory,
and that exaltation of him which was the reward of his
humiliation: it was promised him that he should see his
seed, and this chapter is an explication of that promise. It
may easily be granted that it has a primary reference to the
welfare and prosperity of the Jewish church after their
return out of Babylon, which (as other things that happened
to them) was typical of the glorious liberty of the children
of God, which through Christ we are brought into; yet it
cannot be denied but that it has a further and principal
reference to the gospel church, into which the Gentiles were
to be admitted. And the first words being understood by the
apostle Paul of the New-Testament Jerusalem (Gal. 4:26,27)
may serve as a key to the whole chapter and that which
follows. It is here promised concerning the Christian church,
That, though the beginnings of it were small, it should be
greatly enlarged by the accession of many to it among the
Gentiles, who had been wholly destitute of church privileges
(Isa. 54:1-5). . That though sometimes God might seem to
withdraw from her, and suspend the tokens of his favour, he
would return in mercy and would not return to contend with
them any more (Isa.54:6-10). That, though for a while she was
in sorrow and under oppression, she should at length be
advanced to greater honour and splendour than ever
(Isa. 54:11,12).  That knowledge, righteousness, and peace,
should flourish and prevail (Isa. 54:13,14).  That all attempts
against the church should be baffled, and she should be
secured from the malice of her enemies (Isa.54:14-17).

    1. The increase of the church by the conversion
        of the Jews and Gentiles. (Isa.54:1-5)

Isa. 54:1   “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. 54:2   “Enlarge the
place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not
hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes.  54:3  
For you will spread out to the right and to the left; your
descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their
desolate cities.  54:4   “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. 54:5   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.

    These verse’s is applied by Paul to Sarah and the covenant
of promise, representing “the Jerusalem that is above”
(Gal 4:26-27). Sing . . . Burst into song . (Isa. 2:6; 44:23; 52:9).
Barren woman . Jerusalem (representing Israel), especially
during the exile (Isa.49:21). In the Near East, barrenness was
considered a disgrace (Isa.4:1 ). More are the children of the
desolate woman . (Isa.49:19-20) . Israel will be restored both
physically and spiritually (Isa.62:4). Husband. (Isa,50:1) .

    Observe the low state of religion in the world, for a long
time before Christianity was brought in. But by preaching the
gospel, multitudes were converted from idols to the living
God. This is matter of great rejoicing to the church. The bounds
of the church were extended. Though its state on earth is but
mean and movable, like a tent or tabernacle, it is sometimes
a growing state, and must be enlarged as the family increases.
But the more numerous the church grows, the more she must
fortify herself against errors and corruptions. Thy Maker is
thy Husband. Christ is the Holy One of Israel, the Mediator of
the covenant made with the Old Testament church. Long he had
been called the God of Israel; but now he shall be called the
God of the whole earth. And he will cleanse from sin, and cause
every true believer to rejoice in this sacred union. We never
can enough admire this mercy, or duly value this privilege.

    2. Its certain deliverance . (Isa. 54:6-10)

Isa. 54:6   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 yourGod. 54:7   “For a brief moment
I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you
back. 54:8   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. 54:9   “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. 54:10   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.

    (Isa.54:6-7) Wife deserted . . . Abandoned. Israel’s
experience in exile (Isa.49:14; 50:1 ; 62:4). (Isa.54:7-8,10)
Compassion . (Isa. 14:1; 49:10,13; 51:3). (Isa .54:7) Brief
Moment . The Babylonian exile was relatively brief
(Isa,26:20; 50:1 ). Surge of anger . (Isa.9:12,17,21 ; 60:10).
Hid my face . (Isa.1:15 ). Everlasting kindness . (Isa.54:10;
55:3 ). (Isa. 45:17). Redeemer . (Isa.54: 5).

    As God is slow to anger, so he is swift to show mercy.
And how sweet the returns of mercy would be, when God
should come and comfort them! He will have mercy on them.
God’s gathering his people takes rise from his mercy, not
any merit of theirs; and it is with great mercies, with
everlasting kindness. The wrath is little, the mercies great;
the wrath for a moment, the kindness everlasting. We are
neither to despond under afflictions, nor to despair of relief.
Mountains have been shaken and removed, but the promises
of God never were broken by any event. Mountains and hills
also signify great men. Creature-confidences shall fail; but
when our friends fail us, our God does not. All this is alike
applicable to the church at large, and to each believer. God
will rebuke and correct his people for sins; but he will not
cast them off. Let this encourage us to give the more
diligence to make our calling and election sure.

3. Its triumphant state is described . (Isa.54:11-17)

Isa. 54:11   “O afflicted city, lashed by storms and not
comforted, I will build you with stones of turquoise, your
foundations with sapphires. 54:12   I will make your
battlements of rubies, your gates of sparkling jewels, and all
your walls of precious stones.  54:13   All your sons will be
taught by the LORD, and great will be your children’s peace.
 54:14   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.  54:15   If anyone does
attack you, it will not be my doing; whoever attacks you will
surrender to you. 54:16   “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;  54:17   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.

    Created the deswtroyer. God raised up nations such as
Assyria and Babylonia to punish Israel (Isa.10:5 ; 33:1 ). Refute
every tongue. Just as no legitimate charges could be brought
against the servant of (Isa.50:8-9). Servants of the Lord .
After ch. 53 the singular “servant” no longer occurs in Isaiah.
The “servants” (Isa.63:17; 65:8-9,13-15; 66:14) are true
believers —both Jew and Gentile (Isa.56:6-8 )—who are faithful
to the Lord. They are in a sense the “offspring” of the servant
(Isa,53:10;49:19-20) .

    Let the people of God, when afflicted and tossed, think they
hear God speaking comfortably to them by these words, taking
notice of their griefs and fears. The church is all glorious when
full of the knowledge of God; for none teaches like him. It is
a promise of the teaching and gifts of the Holy Spirit. All that
are taught of God are taught to love one another. This seems to
relate especially to the glorious times to succeed the
tribulations of the church. Holiness, more than any thing, is the
beauty of the church. God promises protection. There shall be no
fears within; there shall be no fightings without. Military men
value themselves on their splendid titles, but God calls them,
"Wasters made to destroy," for they make wasting and
destruction their business. He created them, therefore he will
serve his own designs by them. The day is coming when God will
reckon with wicked men for their hard speeches, Jude 1:15.
Security and final victory are the heritage of each faithful
servant of the Lord. The righteousness by which they are
justified, and the grace by which they are sanctified, are the
gift of God, and the effect of his special love. Let us beseech
him to sanctify our souls, and to employ us in his service.
       
        Summary:

        The last words refer not only to this promise, but to all
that go before: This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord.
God’s servants are his sons, for he has provided an inheritance
for them, rich, sure, and indefeasible. God’s promises are their
heritage for ever (Psalms. 119:111); and their righteousness is
of me, saith the Lord. God will clear up the righteousness of their
cause before men. It is with him, for he knows it; it is with him,
for he will plead it. Or their reward for their righteousness, and
for all that which they have suffered unrighteously, is of God,
that God who judges in the earth, and with whom verily there is
a reward for the righteous. Or their righteousness itself, all that
in them which is good and right, is of God, who works it in them;
it is of Christ who is made righteousness to them. In those for
whom God designs a heritage hereafter he will work
righteousness now.