The Servant’s work portends many residual effects. The descendants of Abraham and Sarah were promised to grow more numerous than the stars, an image that informs Judah how much God will bless her (54:1). In 1792 William Carey preached “Expect Great Things from God; Attempt Great Things for God” from Isaiah 54:2, which launched the modern missionary movement. Carey believed the people of God needed to make deliberate efforts to reach the world for Christ. After exile, Israel was meant to reclaim their lives and become the missionary people God had promised through Abraham (54:3).
God will remove the lingering effects of their sin (54:4). Redemption will restore wholesome family relationships with God (54:5). Judgment was necessary, but God’s ultimate purpose was to show compassion in Israel’s restoration (54:6-7). He was deservedly angry with those who turned a deaf ear to Him, but only for a “moment.” It is His compassion that He wants Israel to know, not His wrath (54:8a).
Another effect of restoration is the establishment of a covenant of compassion (54:8b). Mercy is God’s lovingkindness bound in a covenant where each party is loyal to the other. He will remain faithful to His agreement. His covenant with Noah is an example of His mercy never to send Israel into exile again (54:9). It is a “covenant of peace,” made possible by restoration from exile, and safeguarded by “the LORD who has compassion on you” (54:10).
Verses 11 through 17 reserve these blessings for those who trust in Him, so Isaiah moves the scene of Israel’s future restoration back into his time period. Israel is “not comforted” (54:11a), but the promises of restoration will be accomplished (54:11b-12).
Some in Isaiah’s present generation turn deaf ears to Yahweh, but descendants of the remnant will heed His instructions as true disciples, and they will prosper for their commitment (54:13). If they experience fearful times, He is their protector (54:14). His love will be a shield to them and the reason for the downfall of their enemies (54:15).
Trusting God includes forgiveness, and forgiveness removes guilt. God has designed that all who accuse His forgiven people will suffer punishment (54:16). No accusation will withstand His scrutiny. Upon Israel’s restoration, those who are true servants of the Lord will receive the inheritance of a clean heart. They will stand as righteous servants because of the vindication God provides in His Servant (54:17).
Dr. David Moore is a Baptist preacher in Pampa and an online instructor in Bible and theology for Taylor University and Nations University. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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