Often times when experiencing a negative situation, we are told to rejoice. Rejoice! Rejoice! Just Rejoice and everything will be okay. Yet that’s very difficult to do if we do not see that we have any reason to rejoice. If we don’t see why we can rejoice it simply sounds like mindless pretend joy – a “fake it till you make it” mentality… just fluff. Even worse, if we express those sentiments to our believing brothers and sisters, they will look at us funny, as if we don’t have enough faith or we don’t trust God enough.

The Bible though, does not leave us lacking any real and substantial reasons why we can rejoice however. In-fact it goes into extensive details about precisely that – because God understands the feelings and emotions that we have, and He does not disregard them. He foreknew the scenario that I just described, about needing to see the reason why we can rejoice. And this is what we will be looking at today.

Most of us at one time or another have faced some difficulty. (I’m leaving it open for the few exceptional ones here who have absolutely perfect lives). Most of us know what it’s like to be in need, whether it be financial, physical, emotional, or any combination thereof. Most know what it’s like to face hard times or not see something come to pass which we have been chasing after. And God has some words for all those who have ever felt, the pain and confusion and even shame of such a situation, beginning in Isaiah 54:1-6:

Sing, O barren, you that did not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, you that did not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, said the LORD.

Enlarge the place of your tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of your habitations: spare not, lengthen your cords, and strengthen your stakes;

For you shall break forth on the right hand and on the left; and your seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited.

Fear not; for you shall not be ashamed: neither be you confounded; for you shall not be put to shame: for you shall forget the shame of your youth, and shall not remember the reproach of your widowhood any more.

For your Maker is your husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and your Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.

For the LORD has called you as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when you were refused, said your God.”

We see here in verse 1, that God also tells the suffering to sing, but He does not do it with empty words as many others do… Instead, He gives us a reason. And since He never lies, His reason must therefore be true. So let’s take a closer look at what He has said. He says Sing, O barren, you that did not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, you that did not travail with child. This is very powerful and descriptive imagery. And please do not only think of this as applying to a childless woman. The picture here can be applied to far more than just that one single situation. The idea here is one of not bringing-forth a desired result. Not bearing a desired fruit. Not producing or receiving something desired or sought-after. So it can apply to a wide range of situations; and in every single one God says the same thing: sing, rejoice, cry aloud but not with agony or despair; with joy.

Now why would He say such a thing – His words are not mere empty platitudes. Look at the second-half of verse 1: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, said the LORD. Now that’s an amazing statement right there! And thank God that it is not the meager words of a man, but who said it? The LORD. Look at what He said, even though you seem to not have produced; even though things do not appear to be what you wanted, in actuality, your results are even greater than those you look to with longing.

Do you see? A barren woman looking to bear children, would see a married woman with a family and would long for what that woman had. However God says here, that in this case, your results are actually greater than those who you think have what you want! And it is amazing that God says your results are greater. He doesn’t say that they are going to be greater some time in the future; He doesn’t say “just keep on persevering and you will get it one day – maybe when you get to Heaven.” No, as mentioned, this is not mere faking it till you make it, this is a complete shift in perception and our understanding of reality.

We typically judge by our five senses… what we can hear, taste, smell, see and feel. God however simply calls things into existence (Romans 4:17).

Then in verse 2, we are then told to enlarge the place of our tent, stretch out our curtains, do not spare, lengthen our cords. These are all actions that one would only take if they fully expected to see the increase. This isn’t something you would do if you weren’t sure, or if you had some kind of doubt. It’s like saying “Move into a bigger house, because your family is growing!”

We see in verse 3 that you will break forth on the right and on the left… this will not be a half-hearted manifestation, and even your seed will inherit and be prosperous – This means that what you produce will also endure and thrive.

Now typically, when people hear this, they start to worry. They think to themselves “If I start to really believe like I have something, but other people can’t see that I have it – I’ll look stupid; they will mock me and make fun of me. I’ll be a laughingstock!” Believe me, I understand. I’ve been there and I’ve had those same thoughts. Look at what God says in verse 4:

Fear not; for you shall not be ashamed: neither will you be confounded. You will not be surprised, baffled or confused, wondering where it all went wrong – and you will not be ashamed, nor will you be put to shame. No one will be able to mock you or ridicule you. Not others, not even yourself. Sometimes the biggest adversary and the biggest source of shame and reproach is our own thoughts and our own memories. Yet here it says You will forget the shame of your youth. And will not remember the reproach of your widowhood any longer. The days when you were unable to produce or receive will not even be distant memories any longer… they will totally fade away into oblivion; you won’t even remember them any longer! Why? Because of the next two verses:

For your Maker is your husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and your Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.

For (because) your Maker is your husband. Some people think that is is weird. They think that calling God your husband is strange… men have more trouble with this concept than women generally, but we need to understand what this is saying. Don’t think of this as like a human marriage so much, don’t think of this like a sexual pairing – but instead think of the role and responsibility of a husband towards his wife. The husband is the one who protects, provides for, cares for the needs (and wants) of his wife. He keeps her safe; and he sacrifices for her when needed. This is exactly what God is saying here, and indeed it is exactly what He has done for us. He is our Redeemer, He is the one who bought us back from the slavery of sin, out of the clutches and chains of the enemy. He is the God of the whole earth – not Satan! Some believers are still confused, they think Satan is the God of this world, but that is not what we should be thinking. Indeed, God, the LORD is the God of the whole earth, if it were not so, we would not have the authority and position that we do. Satan has been judged, the enemy is defeated, the LORD is victorious, Jesus has finished His work, we have been redeemed! You are not barren anymore!

Then the last verse of our study today, verse 6. He has called you, as a woman forsaken. The Law caused us to be forsaken for a short time… because in pride, we tried to measure up to God’s standard ourselves, and we could not do it. We had to be refused for a time… but God through the grand demonstration of love, Jesus Christ sacrificed in our place, called us back to Himself. We are no longer without a husband, we are no longer without a redeemer, we are no longer without a family, a kingdom, or honor.

Today we have a reason to rejoice, it’s not just a nice thing to say or think – it’s not an empty platitude. It is our reality in Christ Jesus. Accept it. Receive it. Believe it. Live it.

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