The Word Made Fresh
1Sing, O woman who didn’t give birth. Sing and cheer,
you who have not been in labor
because the children of the forsaken woman
will outnumber the children of the married woman –
thus says the LORD!
2Make your tent larger and stretch out the curtains.
Don’t hold back, but make the cords longer
and the stakes stronger.
3For your family will spread out right and left;
they will possess the nations around them
and settle in the abandoned towns.
4Don’t be afraid – you will not be put to shame.
Don’t be discouraged – you will not suffer disgrace.
You will forget the shame of your youth,
and will have no recollection of the shame of your widowhood.
5For your husband will be your Maker, the LORD Almighty;
the Holy One of Israel will redeem you,
the one who is called the God of the whole earth.
6Yes, the LORD has summoned you,
the one forsaken and whose spirit was aggrieved
like the wife of a young man who has been cast out.
7Yes, I abandoned you, but only for a brief moment.
Now, with compassion I will restore you.
8For a moment my wrath caused me to overlook you,
but with a love that will never end I will have compassion on you,
says the LORD, your Redeemer.
9This, to me, is like the situation in Noah’s time.
And just as I swore the flood he experienced
will never again cover the earth
I have now sworn that I will not be angry and disown you.
10The mountains and the hills may disappear,
but my steadfast love shall not depart from you,
and my promise of peace shall not be taken back,
says the LORD who has compassion on you.
11Suffering one, who was tossed by the storm and left uncomforted,
I will soon set your stones in silvery crystalline antimony
and support your foundations with lapis lazuli.
12I will make your towers of rubies, and your gates with jewels,
and your entire walls of precious stones.
13All your children shall be taught by the LORD,
and their prosperity shall be great.
14You will be established in righteousness,
far from any oppression, and you shall not be afraid.
Far, also, from every fear; none of them shall come near you.
15If anyone does try to attack you, it will not be by my instructions,
and whoever causes you strife shall surrender to you.
16See, I am the One who gives skill to the smithy.
I am the One who blows the coals on the fire
and shapes a weapon for a special use,
and I created a ravager to destroy your enemies.
17No weapon that is aimed at you will succeed,
and you shall discredit every voice raised against you in judgment.
This is the future of the LORD’s servants.
This is their vindication from me, says the LORD.
1-3: The people of Israel traced their ancestry to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Each of them had wives (Sarah, Rebekah, and Rachael) who initially were barren. When Isaiah wrote, “the children of the desolate woman will be more than the children of her that is married,” he was hearkening back to the time of God’s initial covenant and blessing for Abraham and his descendants. That relationship is going to be restored, he is saying, and there is going to be a population explosion.
4-8: God’s relationship with Israel is described as that of a husband who had temporarily abandoned the wife of his youth but now returns with compassion and love.
9-17: God’s promise to Israel is as dependable as was his promise of never again destroying the earth with a flood. God’s blessings will rest upon the people, and they will enjoy a time of renewed prosperity and security.
God does sometimes send punishment, but God always awaits the moment when restoration can be made, and the sinner restored. Thanks be to God!