Every day we need to soak in His Word, let it resonate in our souls and settle deep into a Sabbath rest of the heart. May the reminder of His promises be a balm to you as we seek Him first in each of our journeys. Join me at the beginning of the week for a reminder to take a soul stop in the power of His Word and be rejuvenated for the week ahead.
My heart has been begging for quiet lately. I have seen others seeking for the respite grace provides, too…lovers of His heart longing to have their own clay core massaged back from the breaking that life has inflicted. And I have found myself wading in the stories of women who sought the Father, of faithful warriors who made the choice to look for God in the midst of their barren spaces. I was reminded of one of my favorite chapters in Isaiah where I had spent numerous hours of study. These words were an assurance of His faithfulness, a reminder of the sturdy promise of being built up by the walls of grace, and a challenge to be cultivated by the very One who always restores my soul. I wanted to pour out a little bit of His love over you this week as we wait a while in His hope.
Sing, O barren one, you who did not bear; break forth into singing and cry aloud, you who did not travail with child! For the [spiritual] children of the desolate one will be more than the children of the married wife, says the Lord.
Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; spare not; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes.
For you will spread abroad to the right hand and to the left; and your offspring will possess the nations and make the desolate cities to be inhabited.
Fear not, for you shall not be ashamed; neither be confounded and depressed, for you shall not be put to shame. For you shall forget the shame of your youth, and you shall not [seriously] remember the reproach of your widowhood any more.
There is something amazing and special about the heart of a woman. It is uniquely made to reflect the heart of the Father. (Jeremiah 24:7) And you, dear woman of God, are close to the heart of your Father. He longs to pull you close and fill in those empty places that are causing you pain.
God is cultivating a heart of beauty in those who are called His own. Out of the abundance of the heart we spill forward into the lives of others and because He is a restorer of broken things we can sing into the barren places of our souls.
I found the treasure trove of promises waiting for me here in Isaiah during an especially difficult time in my life. I was stuck rooted in the brokenness and barrenness of the situations life and circumstances had presented. Just like the hero He is, God met me with His Word; it was the medicine my aching soul required. As I began to read the story of deliverance that is relayed through Isaiah’s message, I came alive with the hope and promise waiting for me to find.
It is here for you, too, if you’re willing to receive and accept God’s deliverance and abundance.
We all have broken places that need mending, don’t be afraid to come to the well of hope and drink deep from the water of blessing.
The reality is that we all have places where we are broken, barren, and full of fear. Isaiah 54 is a song that was written for those moments in our lives when we need to be rescued, redeemed and restored.
“Try and suck all the sweetness that you can out of this chapter while we read it. The personal application of a promise to the heart by the Holy Spirit is that which is wanted. The honey in Jonathan’s wood never enlightened his eyes until he dipped the point of his rod into it and tasted it. Try and do the same. This chapter is the wood wherein every bough doth drip with virgin honey. Sip, taste, and be satisfied.” – Charles Spurgeon
Isaiah’s words are a restoration promise for every barren and broken soul to cling to. They are an anthem we can sing into fertile soil of a cultivated heart.
Today, as we think about choosing love as an anthem I want to point out the action words in the 1st 4 verses. They are used imperatively, meaning they are a command to follow. Yet, I want to challenge you to allow them to be seeds of grace for your heart. The more we practice opening ourselves to the fullness of His Word, the more we will find ourselves receptive to the cultivation process He is using to bring a completion in our lives.
Each word requires a measure of faith. Each action requires a token of believing. Each time we read them, pray them, keep them close, requires a letting go of this world and a reaching forward for God.
Sing into the broken places.
Do you realize we are called to SING into our broken spaces? I know it seems paradoxical, but isn’t the Gospel contrary to the world’s way? This poem was written with the intention that we would respond to the call intentionally with our voice in song. God often calls us to act in faith, to speak in faith, and to live in faith contrary to what we see and feel.
“While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” – 2 Corinthians 4:18
What are we called to do?
The Prophet is speaking to the shame and the emptiness of the Jewish church. It was small and seemingly unproductive. In reality it had a small beginning. This verse is speaking to the barren nature of the church, acknowledging the truth that it was not growing or producing. He is comparing the fruitless condition of Israel to a woman who cannot bear children. The 1st four verses of this chapter are a call to faith by speaking to the barrenness. It is also a call to respond by believing in the rescuing power of God who will bring resolution to the problem.
The actions that are suggested are in direct opposition to the reality, or facts presented.
- How can you sing for joy when you have none?
- Why enlarge a tent when no one is there to fill it?
- How can we escape fear when so much points to desolation?
What I love about scripture is that it ties everything together. Time for God is not limited to the physical boundaries we are confined to. He is speaking to the church , you and I, on many levels, yet intimately coaxing us back to the realization that we are dear and precious to Him and that His promises never fail.(1 Kings 8:56)
God is speaking to Israel in the relational context of a wife. This verse is also applied to YOU as the believer. Isaiah is not only speaking prophetically to the enlargement of the church, on the context of the entrance of the gentiles to the body of Christ, but also to everyone who feels barren and unproductive in life.
Barrenness is humiliating, and for the Jewish woman, it was especially so. She was ridiculed, burdened with shame and disgrace, and mocked. The load upon her shoulders for her inability to produce was too heavy to bear. Often it was considered a direct result of some sin which added to her humiliation and shame.
Let’s define the word barren:
- Too poor to produce
- Showing no results or achievements
- Bleak and lifeless
- Empty, devoid of meaning or value
Have you ever felt unproductive? Do you have barren places in your life? This chapter is for you.
Look for the Image of Hope
This passage of scripture is calling us to sing because we can believe in a better more consistent truth. God is the one who has the power to rescue, redeem, and restore and He wants us to activate our faith in the bleak and empty spaces in our lives.
Through history, and I believe that we all need to be aware of history as prime example and foretelling of what is to come because God’s Word tells us that History repeats itself, (Ecclesiastes 1:9), we see the example of God’s redemptive nature. Though Isaiah is exegetically speaking of a time when Israel will be captive in Babylon, the message extends to the present. Often we feel exiled and disgraced when things don’t go as we intended, or perhaps when God doesn’t answer our prayer as we want we feel neglected. The nation of Israel felt forgotten and hopeless.
Let’s look again at what this first verse is saying to us:
Specifically understand that the command to sing was a response to God’s ability to save us from our distresses, understanding that His deliverance is not restricted or withheld based on our standing or merit. He is GOD! The Creator of heaven and earth and is fully sovereign.
We can see that through the image of the barren woman who sings with joy even when she feels empty, truly, with God all things are possible.
The Hebrew word for shame, disgrace and humiliated, boshet, is synonymous with disappointed hope.But Isaiah 54 addresses this concept of hopelessness in the heart of a hurting woman so poignantly.Sometimes unbelief and a lack of faith are the root of our own spiritual barrenness. But through Isaiah we are able to see that one of the tools we can use to defeat this unproductivity is to sing into the barren spaces. If there is an area of your life where you are experiencing barrenness, can I encourage you to step out and believe in the power of His might? Will you sing with me over those empty spaces and broken pieces of your heart, coaxing life into them with the power of His Holy Word?
“Through the centuries, many a hurting woman has taken the promises, for themselves, finding beautiful comfort in its truth.”- David Guzik.
God meets our every single need, friend. He is the lover of our soul and the one who romances our hearts, coaxing them to produce a harvest of grace.
The Heart of the Woman Series is a Bible Study for each and every one of us. Join me in March as I revisit this chapter of Isaiah once a week on Saturday morning here and feel free to join me to discuss what we are reading, along with a schedule at the Table of Grace FB Group.
Linking up with friends for the journey:
Moments of Hope, #DreamTogether, Unite, Cheerleaders of Faith, Tell His Story, Coffee For Your Heart, Three Word Wednesday, Writer Wednesday, Thought Provoking Thursday, Grace n Truth, #Chasing Community, Fresh Market Friday, Faith n Friends Blog Hop, Missional Women, Dance with Jesus, Glimpses with Barbie, Give Me Grace.