The Lord Is Compassionate
Explore the Bible Series
April 26, 2009
Background Passage: Isaiah 54:1-17
Lesson Passage: Isaiah 54:1-10
Introduction: This section of the Prophecy of Isaiah has a wonderful coherence and progression of thought. One chapter builds on the other to construct an encouraging and gracious message. Chapter Fifty-three is a marvelous prediction of the sacrifice of the Servant for the sins of his people. It pleased the Lord to send his Son into the world in the form of a humble servant, without form or comeliness. Furthermore, the Father laid the iniquity of us all on the Servant and struck him with the scourge of wrath, all for our iniquities. The Servant bore these sufferings without complaint or defense. The anguish of the Servant, however, will bear great fruit, and, in due time, he will see his seed and justify many. God was satisfied with the sacrifice of his soul. Most importantly, the Lord pledged to exalt the Suffering Servant and grant him a portion with the great. This chapter portrays the Lord Jesus as glorious Priest and King.
Chapter Fifty-Four builds on the message concerning the
Suffering Servant; that is, it describes the effects of the Servant’s death and
intercession for his people. Isaiah
Please recall that Isaiah wrote these words about the
Babylonian Captivity more than a century before Nebuchadnezzar’s armies sacked
In the ancient world, childlessness was regarded as a
terrible cause of shame. The Old
Testament records many stories of the struggle of barren women: Sarah, Rebekah,
Rachel, Manoah’s wife, and Hannah. Contemporary
readers may flinch a bit at this ancient cultural perspective, but this historical
understanding of barrenness is undeniable.
Outline of the Background Passage:
A call to joyous worship (vv. 1-8): Isaiah compared
A. “your Maker is your husband” (v. 5a): Of course, we must not press the imagery too far. Isaiah mixes his analogies here when he points out that God is both father and husband to his people. We must not, obviously, contort these analogies into grotesque images (incest); rather, we should understand them as analogies that reflect God’s tenderness toward his beloved people.
B. “the Lord of Hosts is his name” (v. 5b):
C. “the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer” (v. 5c): Like Boaz,
God will redeem his people from their desperation (See the Book of Ruth).
Redemption is a powerful, common image of salvation, in the Old and New
Testaments. Isaiah affirms the Lord’s compassion and everlasting love for his
II. The analogy of God’s Covenant with Noah (vv. 9-10): As you recall, God made a covenant with Noah that the earth would never experience another judgment by flood (See Genesis 8: 20-22). Here, the prophet compared Noah’s Covenant with the commitment of God to treat his people with merciful kindness. This covenant will last longer than the mountains and the hills. Just so, Isaiah compares the God’s marital covenant to his agreement with Noah. The point, I think, centers on God’s unbending faithfulness to his promise.
III. God’s promise to comfort and protect his children (vv. 11-17): The prophet acknowledged the desperate condition of the people (See v. 11), but he also promised the establishment and security of the Lord’s elect.
blessing of God will rest on Judah and her descendants (vv. 11-13): The Lord
promised to resettle his people in the beauty and dignity of
B. God will protect his children from their enemies (vv. 14-17): These verses contain some of the most precious promises in the Word of God. God’s people have many enemies. Some of these adversaries seem obvious; others, however, come disguised as angels of light. Whatever the case, God will protect his elect, and they shall remain secure in his watch care. God promised to forge weapons against the enemies of his people, and no weapon formed against them would prosper. In time, God promised to thoroughly vindicate his people.