In Isaiah 54:1-17, the Prophet Isaiah described the special relationship of God to His people. It is compared to a wife and her husband. It is a theme contained in other portions of the Scriptures (Hosea; Galatians 4:27; Ephesians 5:22-33). However, the LORD gives this theme great emphasis in Isaiah 54.
“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. 2 “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. 3 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. 4 “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” (Isaiah 54:1-4).
Who is the barren wife? The image symbolizes Jerusalem. The City of God is pictured as a barren woman and a grieving widow because of youthful sins. However, the LORD commands Israel in general, and Jerusalem in particular to enlarge its house or habitation. This is because the LORD will bring into it a multitude of children which will be hers.
Within the historical context, Israel’s sins brought on the Egyptian captivity, the Babylonian exile, and her current dispersion. However, the glories of the future kingdom of God will be so great that it will overshadow Israel’s past failures and sin.
If Jerusalem is the barren wife, who is the faithful husband? He is none other than the Creator and Sustainer, the Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, the LORD of heaven and earth. “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” (Isaiah 54:5).
What the will LORD do on behalf of Israel? Even though Jerusalem will be briefly punished for its sin, the LORD’s future blessings will be eternal. The LORD’s steadfast love will not leave Israel. “6 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. 7 For a brief moment I deserted you, but with great compassion I will gather you. 8 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. 9 “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. 10 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 54:6-10).
The future Jerusalem will be likened to a precious jewel. It will possess unparalleled beauty. “11 “O afflicted one, storm-tossed and not comforted, behold, I will set your stones in antimony, and lay your foundations with sapphires. 12 I will make your pinnacles of agate, your gates of carbuncles, and all your wall of precious stones.” (Isaiah 54:11-12).
Dr. John MacArthur writes that, “The elaborate ornamentation will outfit Jerusalem to be the center of the future, eternal messianic reign following the millennium (Rev. 21:18–21). As magnificent as this is, it is not as important as the spiritual richness of the kingdom, when truth and peace (Isa. 54:13) prevail along with righteousness (v. 14). The Lord himself will teach everyone during the messianic kingdom, so everyone will know his righteousness (11:9; Jer. 31:34). Jesus gave this verse an additional focus, applying it to those with spiritual insight to come to him during his first advent (John 6:45).”
The LORD will protect and allow Jerusalem’s citizens to prosper. God’s government will be just and her enemies will be far away. “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 If anyone stirs up strife, it is not from me; whoever stirs up strife with you shall fall because of you. 16 Behold, I have created the smith who blows the fire of coals and produces a weapon for its purpose. I have also created the ravager to destroy; 17no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their vindication from me, declares the Lord” (Isaiah 54:13-17).
Such are God’s promises for the future millennial kingdom of Jesus Christ.
Soli deo Gloria!