Isaiah 54:1 says, “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.”
Initially, the first part of this verse brings thoughts of all the barren women of the Scriptures who longed for children until finally gave birth. Even having one biological child brought them great joy.
Usually, when people read Isaiah 54:1, they think of what Paul said in Galatians 4. Here, Isaiah 54:1 is a reference to Jerusalem. The Jewish New Testament Commentary says this about Galatians 4:24:
“Most of Jewish midrashic literature brings out ethical and devotional aspects of the Bible, sometimes drawing out and applying what is manifestly there, and sometimes imposing meanings on the texts, although the norm in Judaism is not to make a midrash that violates the p’shat (simple sense) of the text (see Mt 2:15 N). Here Sha’ul goes beyond the p’shat of the Genesis texts, though without violating them. His application of them is bold and shocking; for although the Judaizers can claim physical descent from Sarah, Sha’ul calls them spiritual descendants of Hagar.”[i] They are more numerous than disciples of Yeshua.
Clearly, this was not the original intent of Isaiah 54:1 but it can be applied here in Galatians. So what was the original intent of Isaiah 54:1? In Jerusalem’s desolate condition, those wives who had not had children should sing because they are going to have children. They will have to expand the size of their tents to accommodate more children than those we might call the wives of other gods (idolators). Isaiah 54: 2 confirms this idea of expanding the size of their tents and even says their descendants will be so numerous they will possess the nations and inhabit the desolated cities. Just think, this has been fulfilled because even now there are Jews living throughout the world.
Before this could possibly happen, Judah had to endure the discipline of her husband, YHVH; He is the Maker of all things, Adonai-Tzva’ot is his name. If there was ever a doubt that YHVH was married to Judah, Isaiah 54:5 says He is her husband. The Holy One of Isra’el is her Redeemer. He will be called the God of all the earth.
After the Babylonian captivity, YHVH called Judah back like a wife who had been abandoned and grief-stricken. He did not completely reject her. For a short time YHVH abandoned Judah but He took her back with great compassion.
Take a few minutes to reflect on the sins of your youth. Do they bring you feelings of great shame and humiliation? Mine do. I often wonder how I could’ve sinned so horribly. YHVH didn’t want to put His people to shame or for them to be humiliated any longer. He wanted Judah to forget the shame of her youth and the time of her reproach. He called her back as if she were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit. The same applies to us today. When we choose to serve YHVH, we need to put the past behind us and allow YHVH to calm our spirits. Since He has forgiven us, we must also forgive ourselves. We must come to Him in the state we are in, study His Word so it can cleanse us, and begin living a life of obedience.
Because of Judah’s sin, YHVH was angry for a moment and hid His face from her. This is consistent with Isaiah 59:2: “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.” The Father did the same to Yeshua when He was dying on the cross. When the sin of mankind was on Him, the Father did not abandon Yeshua; the Father merely hid His face from Yeshua. In compassion, the Father raised Yeshua from the dead.
YHVH, Judah’s Redeemer promised to show her everlasting kindness or mercy (Hebrew = chesed; Greek = hileos) and compassion.” In verses 9-10, YHVH says: “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.”
The waters of Noah were so severe they covered the whole earth. We’ve had floods since that time but none have come close to the one Noah experienced. Much has happened to Judah over the millennial. Some of it was downright evil but YHVH’s mercy and covenant of peace have not been removed. His mercy will endure and the covenant of peace will see its complete fulfillment in the future.
YHVH has promised to set Judah’s stones in the finest way. He will lay her foundations with sapphires, make her windows shine with rubies, her gates with garnet, and her walls with gemstones. This is a description of the New Jerusalem.
Revelation 21:18-21 describes it this way: “The construction of its wall was of jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass. 19 The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all kinds of precious stones: the first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. 21 The twelve gates were twelve pearls: each individual gate was of one pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.”
All of Judah’s children will be taught by YHVH; they will have great peace. YHVH will establish Judah in righteousness far away from oppression and ruin. There will be nothing to fear because any threat or alliance will be destroyed.
At some point, the prophecy of Asaf found in Psalm 83 will fully come to pass. The plan of Israel’s enemies is to cut YHVH’s people off from being a nation so that the name of Israel will not be remembered any more. Rumblings of it are already taking place. Surely, YHVH will fulfill Asaf’s request.
Revelation 20:7-10 is another prophecy of the future: “Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. 9 They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. 10 The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” What could be better than that?
Isaiah 54:16 tells us YHVH created the blacksmith who blows the coals in the fire and makes an instrument for his work. He makes weapons and other things for ordinary purposes. YHVH even created the spoiler to destroy and corrupt things. Certainly, this is a reference to Satan. I don’t know exactly why He did this other than the fact that He serves this purpose. I do know that YHVH said, “No weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn.”
When I consider the evil that takes place in this world, it seems as if evil often prospers and wins; in addition, false witnesses bring down the righteous despite the truth. Perhaps this prophecy speaks of what will happen in the last days. I know that Yeshua will destroy Israel’s enemies with the sword that comes out of His mouth. Their weapons will be useless against Him.
Revelation 20:4 tells us: “And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.”
Isaiah 54:17b gives us a great conclusion: “This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, And their righteousness is from Me,” says the Lord.”
[i] Jewish New Testament Commentary, Copyright © 1992 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved. Used by permission.