fruitage of the spirit's journal

Expressions from the Heart

A New Beginning


ISAIAH 54:1-10

42-16482893While damaged caused by sin may at times be irreparable, we can look forward to a new beginning after having repented and received God’s forgiveness. The blessings that come from being reconciled to the Lord are (among many) a peaceful heart and the help to endure the consequences caused by transgression.

The nation of Israel also had reason to celebrate a new beginning. The Babylonian exile of Judah in 587 BCE didn’t mean that God no longer regarded them as a chosen people among other nations. Rather, it was just the opposite. God is a keeper of promises; He promised that Abraham’s seed would be blessed and the messiah would come from his seed and that of David. Although Judah was in captivity, Isaiah Chapter 54 depicts a time when God’s people would be reconciled to Him. In the meantime, Judah would be considered a “barren one” during her captivity.

 1(A)Shout for joy, O barren one, you who have borne no child;
Break forth into joyful shouting and cry aloud, you who have not travailed;
         For the sons of the (B)desolate one will be (C)more numerous
         Than the sons of the married woman,” says the LORD.

2(D)Enlarge the place of your tent;
         Stretch out the curtains of your dwellings, spare not;
         Lengthen your (E)cords
         And strengthen your (F)pegs.
    3“For you will (G)spread abroad to the right and to the left
         And your descendants will (H)possess nations
         And will (I)resettle the desolate cities.

Barrenness was a considered a disgrace for a woman during bible times.  Not being able to produce a child was comparable to someone useless, unproductive and unworthy; it was considered a curse or punishment from God. Judah was “barren” in a sense that she couldn’t produce fruitage.  However, Isaiah prophesied that Judah would rejoice again; God’s promise of reversal of their dreadful state and of restoration would be realized; they would again be returned to usefulness.  They will have to expand their tents due to the numerous residents in their land.

4“Fear not, for you will (J)not be put to shame;
         And do not feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced;
         But you will forget the (K)shame of your youth,
         And the (L)reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more.
    5“For your (M)husband is your Maker,
         Whose name is the LORD of hosts;
         And your (N)Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel,
         Who is called the (O)God of all the earth.

Many people remain in guilt and don’t allow themselves to be reconciled to God – they remain in widowhood, producing no fruitage. God’s people have no reason to feel ashamed or disgraced.  Being a widow in Isaiah’s day was just as humiliating as being barren, but God promised to restore even the widow. He will give her a Husband, one who will forgive her and redeem her. Letting go of the grip of barrenness is only achievable by repentance. Only then can the Holy Spirit work in us so that we feel God’s peace through his forgiveness.   There is shame and disgrace associated with rebellion, but once you experience God’s mercy, you’ll no longer remember the disgrace; shameful pasts and failures are left behind.

 6“For the LORD has called you,
         Like a wife (P)forsaken and grieved in spirit,
         Even like a wife of one’s youth when she is rejected,”
         Says your God.
    7“For a (Q)brief moment I forsook you,
         But with great compassion I will (R)gather you.
    8“In an (S)outburst of anger
         I hid My face from you for a moment,
         But with everlasting (T)lovingkindness I will (U)have compassion on you,”
         Says the LORD your (V)Redeemer.

I especially love these verses in Isaiah because it paints such a portrait of a compassionate and merciful God. When we sin, we feel deserted and wounded in spirit. God hides his face from us in that he removes his protection and guidance. Our Father is not a dictator; he would never force us to obey him if we choose wickedness over Him.  He thus departs from us in love. However, He promises to take us back and restores us to Him if we turn back from sin.

9“For this is like the days of Noah to Me,
         When I swore that the waters of Noah
         Would (W)not flood the earth again;
         So I have sworn that I will (X)not be angry with you
         Nor will I rebuke you.
    10“For the (Y)mountains may be removed and the hills may shake,
         But My lovingkindness will not be removed from you,
         And My (Z)covenant of peace will not be shaken,”
         Says (AA)the LORD who has compassion on you.

We have a new beginning in Christ; we’re no longer in disgrace or fallen. The peace we experience from being reconciled is wonderful; nothing compares to it.  Let us celebrate the One who called us to repentance and restoration and let us celebrate OUR NEW BEGINNING.   Amen and amen.

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May 3, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , ,

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