For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning,
that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
Romans 15:4

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 A Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough

Copyright 2007 James Melough


54:1.  “Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child:”


This paean anticipates the millennial joy and glory of Israel as the nation which has produced the Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world.


But the barren state described here is also figuratively that of the unconverted, for apart from faith in Christ a man is incapable of producing spiritual fruit in his life, see Gal 5:22, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance,” and Eph 5:9-11, “For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth; proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.  And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them,” John 15:8. 


Note that the emphasis here is upon the Holy Spirit as the One Who produces the fruit in the believer’s life, hence the imperative that we not quench Him by refusing to do what He commands, 1 Thes 5:19, or grieve Him by doing what He forbids, Eph 4:30.


54:2.  “Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations; spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes;”


The picture continues to be of Israel’s Millennial glory and enlargement, but there is an application also to believers of this present age of grace: we too are to be spiritually fruitful; we are to produce spiritual children through the diligent spread of the gospel; nor should we miss the spiritual application of the command “strengthen thy stakes.”  The word is literally thy tent-pins make thou fast, make firm your stakes, the spiritual lesson being of the need for us to teach new converts to “... continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel ....” Col 1:23.


54:3.  “For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited.”


This foretells Israel’s Millennial multiplication and supremacy, and the abundant fruitfulness of the land. 


54:4.  “Fear not, for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more.”


The first part of this verse is also translated for thou shalt not turn pale, neither feel disgraced.  In the Millennium Israel will neither turn pale” i.e., be afraid, nor will she be ashamed of her “widowhood,” i.e., of her having been put away by God as an adulterous wife, as she is at present.  She will then be restored and sanctified.


54:5.  “For thy Maker is thine husband; the Lord of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.”


Millennial Israel will be restored to her place as the spiritual wife of Jehovah, for she will recognize Him as her Redeemer, He having secured her redemption through the vicarious death of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.


We should note also the distinction between Israel as the adulterous, but forgiven and restored wife of Jehovah, and the Church as the spotless bride of Christ.


God’s omnipotence is emphasized in this verse in His being described as Maker, Lord of hosts, Redeemer, Holy One of Israel, God of the whole earth.


54:6.  “For the Lord hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God.”


The NEB translates this verse, “The Lord has acknowledged you a wife again./ once deserted and heart-broken,/ your God has called you a bride still young/ though once rejected,” and the description continues to be of Millennial Israel.


54:7.  “For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee.”


It is more than two thousand years since God “forsook” Israel, but it is to be remembered that Jehovah is the God of eternity, see Ps 90:4, “For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night ....”  He is also a God of great mercy, the extent of His compassion being disclosed in the price He was willing to pay to secure man’s redemption: the death of His sinless Son.  Is it any wonder that He should consign to the Lake of fire those who reject His pardon and gift of eternal life?  See Heb 2:3, “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation ....?”


54:8. “In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer.”


Since but a little of God’s wrath has brought such past terrible judgments upon rebel Israel, everyone who rejects Christ as Savior ought to tremble at the prospect of meeting that same God at the Great White Throne, for then nothing can save that rebel from being cast into the eternal torment of the terrible lake of fire.  He is of all fools the greatest who ignores the warning, “Because there is wrath, beware lest He take thee away with His stroke: then a great ransom cannot deliver thee,” Job 36:18.


54:9.  “For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth, so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee.”


The NEB translation of this verse reads, “These days recall for me the days of Noah:/ as I swore that the waters of Noah’s flood/ should never again pour over the earth,/ so now I swear to you/ never again to be angry with you or reproach you.”



This is the assurance of God’s blessing on Jewish and Gentile believers in the Millennium, and it translates into the assurance to every born-again believer that his faith in Christ as his Savior has placed him for ever beyond judgment since that judgment has already been born by his Substitute at Calvary, as it is written, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit,” Ro 8:1.


But the qualifying condition “who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” is to be noted, for the activity of the flesh in the believer’s life will bring chastisement, but it is the Father’s correction of His children, not God’s punishment of the rebellion of the unconverted, see Heb 12:8, “But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.”


54:10.  “For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy (compassion, pity) on thee.”


The impossibility of the mountains and hills being removed declares the certainty of God’s eternal blessing on believers; and its being because of His mercy reminds us that it is extended not because of worth on our part, but simply because of His unmerited love and kindness extended in response to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, see Titus 3:5-7, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior; that being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life,” and again, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast,” Eph 2:8-9.


54:11.  “O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest and not comforted, behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colors, and lay thy foundations with sapphires.”



God’s assurance of the eternal comfort and enrichment awaiting all believers continues to be declared here, while the certainty and  transcendent nature of those blessings are announced in their being likened to foundation stones of sapphires, whose brilliant blue color speaks of the heavenly nature of those endowments, see Eph 1:3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.”  It is in the realm of the Spirit that we enjoy our spiritual blessings even while we are here on earth.  The believer who looks for temporal enrichment has no Scripture to justify his expectation, but rather the contrary, see John 16:33 “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace.  In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer: I have overcome the world,” and the transcendent worth of His peace is announced in Php 4:6-7, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”


54:12.  “And I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones.”


The RSV translation of this verse is, “... I will set your stones in antimony, and lay your foundations with sapphires./ I will make your pinnacles of agate,/ your gates of carbuncles,/....”  (Antimony is “a brittle, lustrous, white metallic element occurring in nature free or combined, used chiefly in alloys, and in compounds in medicine).”


Multiplied metaphors announce the future eternal magnificence of God’s redeemed, as declared also in 1 Cor 2:9, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things that God hath prepared for them that love Him.”


54:13.  “And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children.”


The description continues to be of Millennial Israel, but as noted already  the principle applies to the obedient of every era, see comments on verse 11.


“taught” here embraces the thought of being obedient to what is taught, for to be taught is one thing: but to obey the teaching is another.


54:14.  “In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee.”


A righteous, i.e., obedient walk, is the sure foundation of peace, for it ensures “the peace of God which passeth all understanding,” see comments on verse 11.


54:15.  “Behold, they shall surely gather together, but not by me: whosoever shall gather together against thee shall fall for thy sake.”


Those who make themselves the foes of God’s obedient people do so in defiance of Him, thus guaranteeing their own defeat, for “If God be for us, who can be against us?” Ro 8:31.



54:16.  “Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy.”


God’s people in every age, and in every circumstance, are encouraged to remember that He is the omnipotent Creator to Whom every man must eventually give account, those who yield themselves to Him to do His work being assured of an eternal reward in heaven, while those who rebel against him and make themselves Satan’s instruments are assured that they too will have an eternal recompense: never-ending torment in the lake of fire.


54:17.  “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn.  This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.”


Since obedience to God is the invulnerable defense against every weapon in the arsenal of Satan and his minions it is imperative that we be careful not to disobey in thought, word or deed; and the value God sets on obedience is declared emphatically in 1 Sa 25:22, “And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord?  Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams,” and the Lord Himself has reminded us that obedience is the fullest expression of our love for Him, see John 14:15 and 21, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”


Relative to “their righteousness is of me ....” The Liberty Bible Commentary makes the following instructive comment, “Thus, their testimony in the world is not dependent upon their own self-righteousness, but upon the free gift of His righteousness, which He has given them.”  The miracle of God’s saving grace is that every believer stands in His sight clothed in the spotless righteousness of Christ.



[Isaiah 55]

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     Scripture portions taken from the Holy Bible, King James Version
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