Friday, August 19, 2005

Isaiah 54

Give praise, O thou barren, that bearest not: sing forth praise, and make a joyful noise, thou that didst not travail with child: for many are the children of the desolate, more than of her that hath a husband, saith the Lord.

Enlarge the place of thy tent, and stretch out the skins of thy tabernacles, spare not: lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes.

For thou shalt pass on to the right hand, and to the left: and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and shall inhabit the desolate cities.

Fear not, for thou shalt not be confounded, nor blush: for thou shalt not be put to shame, because thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt remember no more the reproach of thy widowhood.

For he that made thee shall rule over thee, the Lord of hosts is his name: and thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, shall be called the God of all the earth.

For the Lord hath called thee as woman forsaken and mourning in spirit, end se a wife cast off from her youth, said thy God.

For a small moment have I forsaken thee, but with great mercies will I gather thee.

In a moment of indignation have I hid my face a little while from thee, but with everlasting kindness have I had mercy on thee, said the Lord thy Redeemer.

This thing is to me as in the days of Noe, to whom I swore, that I would no more bring in the waters of Noe upon the earth: so have I sworn not to be angry with thee, and not to rebuke thee.

For the mountains shall be moved, and the hills shall tremble; but my mercy shall not depart from thee, and the covenant of my peace shall not be moved: said the Lord that hath mercy on thee.

O poor little one, tossed with tempest, without all comfort, behold I will lay thy stones in order, and will lay thy foundations with sapphires,

And I will make thy bulwarks of jasper: and thy gates of graven stones, and all thy borders of desirable stones.

All thy children shall be taught of the Lord: and great shall be the peace of thy children.

And thou shalt be founded in justice: depart far from oppression, for thou shalt not fear; and from terror, for it shall not come near thee.

Behold, an inhabitant shall come, who was not with me, he that was a stranger to thee before, shall be joined to thee.

Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and bringeth forth an instrument for his work, and I have created the killer to destroy.

No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper: and every tongue that resisteth thee in judgment, thou shalt condemn. This is the inheritance of the servants of the Lord, and their justice with me, saith the Lord.

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This prophecy is addressed to Jerusalem. Jerusalem was barren and deserted during the exile, but God would call her children back and make her fruitful again. God reminds His people that no one can destroy except that He has willed it, and no one shall have the power to destroy the new Jerusalem.

"Behold, an inhabitant shall come, who was not with me, he that was a stranger to thee before, shall be joined to thee." -- I take this passage to mean the Gentiles, who were joined together with the Jews to be one flock of the new Jerusalem, the Church.

This is one of my favorite passages of Scripture, one which has meant different things to me at different times. "He that made thee shall rule over thee" was in my translation, "For he who has become your husband is your maker," and long ago I took it to mean that I had a vocation to the consecrated life. Later, I read it to a friend, who pointed out all the parts about having children, and said it sounded to her like a call to married life.

Now it only means that, even though I may suffer now, God has a plan to bless me abundantly. If I feel alone, abandoned, rejected, I can be certain that God will come close to me and make me rejoice again. I will even forget the way I felt in the past, forget what it was to be sad. The joys that God has in mind for me will drive out all memory of suffering. "For a small moment have I forsaken thee, but with great mercies will I gather thee."

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