Thursday after the Twenty-Sixth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Isaiah 54:1-17 (NKJV)
1 “Sing, O barren, you who have not borne! Break forth into singing, and cry aloud, you who have not labored with child! For more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married woman,” says the LORD.
2 “Enlarge the place of your tent, and let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings; Do not spare; Lengthen your cords, and strengthen your stakes.
3 “For you shall expand to the right and to the left, and your descendants will inherit the nations, and make the desolate cities inhabited.
4 “Do not fear, for you will not be ashamed; Neither be disgraced, for you will not be put to shame; For you will forget the shame of your youth, and will not remember the reproach of your widowhood anymore.
5 “For your Maker is your husband, the LORD of hosts is His name; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth.
6 “For the LORD has called you like a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, like a youthful wife when you were refused,” says your God.
7 “For a mere moment I have forsaken you, but with great mercies I will gather you.
8 “With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment; But with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you,” says the LORD, your Redeemer.
9 “For this is like the waters of Noah to Me; For as I have sworn that the waters of Noah would no longer cover the earth, so have I sworn that I would not be angry with you, nor rebuke you.
10 “For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but My kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has mercy on you.
11 “O you afflicted one, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will lay your stones with colorful gems, and lay your foundations with sapphires.
12 “I will make your pinnacles of rubies, your gates of crystal, and all your walls of precious stones.
13 “All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children.
14 “In righteousness you shall be established; You shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; And from terror, for it shall not come near you.
15 “Indeed they shall surely assemble, but not because of Me. Whoever assembles against you shall fall for your sake.
16 “Behold, I have created the blacksmith who blows the coals in the fire, who brings forth an instrument for his work; And I have created the spoiler to destroy.
17 “No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is from Me,” says the LORD.
There is a reason that Isaiah tells the barren woman with no children, to “enlarge the place of your tent, and let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings…expand to the right and to the left.” Believers are to walk by faith and not by sight. If we did not have the word of the Lord to give us understanding, we would never behave in such a foolish way. We trust in the Lord’s promises.
The Old Testament people were experiencing great trouble. The Prophet Isaiah does not want them to despair, but to trust in the Lord’s abounding mercy. Faith acts according to God’s promise. God says, “Their righteousness is from Me” (Is. 54:17). Christ’s righteousness completely engulfs whatever momentary discipline is to be endured. Isaiah assures them that their affliction will only be for a short time and then the Lord will bring deliverance. “For a mere moment I have forsaken you, but with great mercies I will gather you” (54:8).
Our heavenly Father has forgiven us and has built us into His Church through Christ’s righteousness. New Testament believers are the promised children, for whom the Old Testament Church needed to add on rooms in a great building program. Like them, we, too, are to live by faith in God’s promises, even though outwardly we appear to be small in number, maybe even barren. We live by faith, not by sight. “Were they to take our house, goods, honor, child, or spouse, though life be wrenched away, they cannot win the day. Thy kingdom’s ours forever” (A Mighty Fortress).
We pray: O Lord, save Thy people, and bless Thine heritage. Govern them and lift them up forever. Amen.