From The Heart

Publish date: 08/25/2002

"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. 2 "Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. 3 For you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities. 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. 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. 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 your God. 7 "For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. 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.  Isaiah 54:1-8 NIV

This passage of scripture is addressing the nation of Israel, but the same principles apply to us as Christians. We are spiritual Israel. We know that the Lord never changes – He loves Israel, He loves Christians, and He even loves sinners! In reality, every one of us without God in us, are sinners, whether we are born to a Jewish family or a Gentile family. It is our faith in God that saves our souls. God is merciful and compassionate beyond what we have a capacity to understand. At our human best, we feel compassion for other people and we try to help them and rescue them and save them. Many people have a heart of compassion for animals and spend their lives saving them and taking care of them. God’s love, mercy and compassion are way beyond our human understanding!

Religion paints a picture of a stern, judgmental God, Whom we must appease so that He does not squash us like a bug. But this is so far from the truth. He is kind and compassionate, patient and long-suffering with us – ever ready to remember the covenant we broke and bring us back into fellowship with us. His greatest desire is for an unbroken fellowship with us. Who are we, who are so unworthy and yet the Almighty Lord of Heaven and earth would consider us worthy of His love and mercy and He would and pour out His life for us?

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. 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.

11 "O afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted, I will build you with stones of turquoise, your foundations with sapphires. 12 I will make your battlements of rubies, your gates of sparkling jewels, and all your walls of precious stones. 13 All your sons will be taught by the LORD, and great will be your children's peace.  Isaiah 54:9-13 NIV

God will never stop loving those who are in covenant with Him, and compassionately reaching out to them when they return to Him. He promises to build us a shelter – not just of wood and stone, but precious stones! This is one more great example of His lavish generosity toward us. It is hard for us to grasp how God can be so kind and so generous to people who are so inconstant and inconsistent! He even makes promises to us about how He will teach and bless our children. If you give the devil an open door into your life – he will come in with plans to utterly destroy you. If you give God an open door into your life – He will come in with plans to bless and prosper you!

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. 15 If anyone does attack you, it will not be my doing; whoever attacks you will surrender to you. Isaiah 54:14-15 NIV

If you are established in righteousness, you will have nothing to fear. Whoever and whatever comes against you will just have to surrender to you, because God is on your side. You don’t have to fight the enemy in your own strength – just be submitted to God and He will fight the battle with you and for you.

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; 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. Isaiah 54:16-17 NIV

No weapon that is formed against you will prosper. Every tongue that rises against you in judgment, you will show to be wrong. This is the heritage of the children of God and the servants of the Lord. Your righteousness and vindication are from the Lord.