Brought Back Again

Opening Prayer

Thank You, Lord Jesus; because of Your atoning work there are so many blessings for all believers!

Read Isaiah 54:1–17

“Sing, barren woman,
you who never bore a child;
burst into song, shout for joy,
you who were never in labor;
because more are the children of the desolate woman
than of her who has a husband,”
says the Lord.
2 “Enlarge the place of your tent,
stretch your tent curtains wide,
do not hold back;
lengthen your cords,
strengthen your stakes.
3 For you will spread out to the right and to the left;
your descendants will dispossess nations
and settle in their desolate cities.

4 “Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame.
Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated.
You will forget the shame of your youth
and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.
5 For your Maker is your husband—
the Lord Almighty is his name—
the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer;
he is called the God of all the earth.
6 The Lord will call you back
as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit—
a wife who married young,
only to be rejected,” says your God.
7 “For a brief moment I abandoned you,
but with deep compassion I will bring you back.
8 In a surge of anger
I hid my face from you for a moment,
but with everlasting kindness
I will have compassion on you,”
says the Lord your Redeemer.

9 “To me this is like the days of Noah,
when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth.
So now I have sworn not to be angry with you,
never to rebuke you again.
10 Though the mountains be shaken
and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
nor my covenant of peace be removed,”
says the Lord, who has compassion on you.

11 “Afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted,
I will rebuild you with stones of turquoise,
your foundations with lapis lazuli.
12 I will make your battlements of rubies,
your gates of sparkling jewels,
and all your walls of precious stones.
13 All your children will be taught by the Lord,
and great will be their peace.
14 In righteousness you will be established:
Tyranny will be far from you;
you will have nothing to fear.
Terror will be far removed;
it will not come near you.
15 If anyone does attack you, it will not be my doing;
whoever attacks you will surrender to you.

16 “See, it is I who created the blacksmith
who fans the coals into flame
and forges a weapon fit for its work.
And it is I who have created the destroyer to wreak havoc;
17 no weapon forged against you will prevail,
and you will refute every tongue that accuses you.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
and this is their vindication from me,”
declares the Lord.

Reflect

See how many references to the Lord’s compassion you can find in today’s passage.

What a moving and encouraging passage! What stood out for you as you read? In what way is the people’s situation like the days of Noah (9)? The main theme of the passage seems to be the assurance that the Lord’s unfailing love will never be shaken, nor his covenant of peace be removed (10). Imagine how the original hearers of this message must have felt on receiving such a message.

As believers in Christ we have even more wonderful promises. Just think of the beginning and the end of Romans 8! You may like to spend some time meditating on these glorious assurances, especially if you have been feeling down recently.

In this passage we see lots of things from which the Lord wants to deliver his people. They include fear, disgrace and shame (4) and tyranny and terror (14). In contrast he wants us to know that he will cause our lives to be marked by splendor, beauty, peace and security. If we are “servants of the Lord” we have every right to claim these promises for ourselves.


Apply

This passage outlines a wonderful transformation—from fear and shame to favor, beauty and security. Claim your new identity!

Closing prayer

Lord Jesus, help me to bring such transformation to others as I share the Gospel with them.

Syndicated via Scripture Union. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Terry Schneider