Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, June 23rd, 2024
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12
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Bible Commentaries
Isaiah 54

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-3



INTRODUCTION: This chapter abundantly illustrates a problem that one constantly faces in the interpretation of biblical prophecy that of distinguishing between Israel and Israel. The term is used in six various ways: 1) Of the father of the Hebrew nation; 2) Of the nation itself; 3) Of the northern kingdom, with its capitol in Samaria; 4) Sometimes of the southern kingdom, 5) At other times of a holy remnant within the nation, and 6) Of a spiritual heritage -"the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus" (Revelation 12:17) - which appears to be identical with the New Testament "Israel of God" (the church), which is the house and dwelling-place of God (among His people) in the present age, also called the Bride of Jesus Christ, John 3:28-29; Revelation 19:5-9.

The present writer claims to possess no special formula for clearly distinguishing the various identities of this people. He would submit that, whatever view one holds, it should be held tentatively - with a heart and mind that are open for clearer illumination by the Holy Spirit. Any set of dogmatic rules or regulations are apt to prove such a hindrance as will ultimately undermine the very super-structure of one’s theological house. The attitude of an humble, inquiring student is far more becoming of our present, imperfect humanity than that of a high-minded authoritarian; nor will such an one have nearly so far to fall!

Furthermore, one must ever bear in mind Paul’s allegory. In Galatians 4, which contrasts the bondage of the nation in the flesh with the liberty of those who, through the Spirit, are not regarded as children of Abraham - clearly suggesting the pre-eminence of the New Testament church in God’s present purpose.

This chapter basically sets forth the benefits of the Servant’s sufferings as applied to the covenant nation.


1. She who has been "barren" - not travailing with child - is here called to joyful singing and shouting, (vs. 1a)

2. The children of "the desolate" (vs. 1b; 62:4; comp. 1 Samuel 2:5) will eventually outnumber those of the "married wife" (the church?).

3. Thus, she must enlarge the place of her dwelling - extending her borders (vs. 2; Isaiah 33:20; Isaiah 49:19-20); on the right hand, and on the left, shall she break forth, (vs. 3a; Isaiah 43:5-6; Isaiah 60:3-11; comp. Genesis 28:14).

4. Her seed will "inherit the Gentiles" - so as to rule over them, (Isaiah 14:1-2; Isaiah 43:14; Isaiah 49:22-23).

a. Israel’s restoration is the restoration of A NATION among nations - a nation in the flesh gust as when her rebellion brought the age-long wrath of God upon her).

b. But, restored to divine favor, she will be placed as the chief of nations - ruling over her former oppressors during the millennial era, (Micah 4:1-3; Ezekiel 36:24-38; Micah 4:6-8; Micah 7:15-20; Zephaniah 3:14-20; Isaiah 49:22-23; Isaiah 60:11-12; Isaiah 61:8-11; Isaiah 66:12; Zechariah 8:23; Zechariah 10:6; Zechariah 14:12-19).

5. So will her desolate cities be filled with inhabitants.

Verses 4-8


1. Zion is no longer to be afraid, for she will never again be brought to shame or confusion, (Isaiah 45:17).

2. The shame of her youth - when she rebelled against her divine husband (Jeremiah 31:19) - and the reproach of her widowhood will all be relegated to the past, (Isaiah 4:1; Isaiah 25:8; Isaiah 51:7).

3. Henceforth, her Maker is her husband (Jeremiah 3:14; Hosea 2:19-20); she is restored to fellowship (vs. 5) - the very SAME NATION that was cut off because of the willful disobedience of her unbelief!

a. Her husband (Lord, King, and divine Provider) is "Lord of Hosts".

b. Her Redeemer is "the Holy One of Israel", (Isaiah 43:14; Isaiah 48:17).

c. Henceforth, He shall be known, not only as ISRAEL’S GOD, but, as "the God of the WHOLE EARTH"! (comp. Isaiah 6:3; Isaiah 11:9).

4. The Lord calls her back to Himself who was forsaken and grieved in spirit, (vs. 6; Isaiah 49:14-21; Isaiah 50:1-2; comp. Isaiah 62:4).

5. It was due to her malicious rebellion that He forsook her "for a small moment" (vs. 7a; Isaiah 26:20; comp. Psalms 30:5); but, with great mercy He will gather and restore her, (vs. 7b; Isaiah 11:12; Isaiah 43:5-7).

6. In overflowing wrath Jehovah momentarily hid His face from her, (vs. 8a; Isaiah 60:10); but, with everlasting kindness, He will have mercy on her, (vs. 8b; Isaiah 63:7).

a. The word rendered "kindness" is again "hesed" - a word which strongly proclaims divine fidelity to the covenant as anciently set forth, (Deuteronomy 7:9; Deuteronomy 7:12; Nehemiah 1:5; Nehemiah 9:32; Daniel 9:4; Psalms 25:10).

b. Nor for a moment has He forsaken His covenant, nor ceased to love her who has so flagrantly violated it!

7. Jehovah is her REDEEMER! (Isaiah 49:10; Isaiah 49:13).

Verses 9-10


1. God will not fail to fulfill the promises made to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David and the prophets concerning the nation, (Jeremiah 31:35-36; Jeremiah 33:17-26; Psalms 89:36-37).

a. Its fulfillment is as certain as the covenant to Noah - of which the rainbow is a perpetual reminder, (Genesis 9:11-17).

b. So, the Lord will not, forever, be wroth with His once rebellious people, (vs. 9; Isaiah 12:1; Ezekiel 39:25-29).

2. Mountains may depart, and hills be removed - symbolic language, suggesting the fall of mighty kingdoms and nations (Psalms 46:2; comp. Isaiah 51:6); yet, God’s faithfullness toward Israel will not fail.

a. He will not withdraw His loving-kindness, (comp. Psalms 89:33-37).

b. Nor will His covenant of peace be removed from her, (Isaiah 55:3; Isaiah 59:21; Isaiah 61:8-9).

c. Jehovah is EVER MERCIFUL toward His beloved people (Isaiah 49:10; Isaiah 49:13)!

Verses 11-17


1. Paul’s allegory, in Galatians 4, would indicate that this passage is addressed to the people represented by Hagar and Mt Sinai - the "Jerusalem which now is, and, is in the bondage with her children", (Galatians 4:25).

a. Wretched, storm-tossed and disconsolate, she will be restored to a place of honor and to such a state of beauty as will reflect the glory of her Lord, (vs. 11-12; Isaiah 51:18-19; Isaiah 51:21; Isaiah 29:6; Isaiah 14:32; Isaiah 28:16; comp. Revelation 21:19).

b. Her children will be taught of the LORD (vs. 13a; Jeremiah 31:34; comp. John 6:45; 1 Thessalonians 4:9), and great will be their undisturbed peace, (vs. 13b; comp. Isaiah 48:18; Isaiah 66:12-13).

2. Her establishment will be "in righteousness", (vs. 14a; Isaiah 1:26-27; Isaiah 9:7; Isaiah 62:1).

a. Far from oppression (vs. 14b; comp. Isaiah 9:4; Isaiah 14:4-7), she will have no need to be afraid, (vs. 4).

b. And terror shall never again come near to her, (vs. 14c; Isaiah 33:18-20).

3. Though foes attempt to stir up strife against her, it will not be of the Lord, (vs. 15a); they will be subdued to her service, (vs. 15b; Isaiah 41:11-16).

4. The creative power of Jehovah will be used in the defense of His people, (vs. 16-17).

a. No weapon that is formed against her will function in that unholy cause, (vs. 17a; comp. Isaiah 17:12-14; Isaiah 29:8).

b. And every tongue that rises against her in judgment she will ultimately judge, (vs. 17b; Isaiah 50:8-9; comp. Romans 8:33-34).

5. Marvelous is the heritage that Jehovah, in righteousness, has provided for His saints! (vs. 17c; Isaiah 45:24; Isaiah 46:13; Romans 4:24-25).

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Isaiah 54". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/isaiah-54.html. 1985.
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