Search Bible Outlines and commentaries




Isaiah 53 addressed the great fundamental question of “Why did the promised Messiah, the faithful Servant have to suffer and die on the cross?” The great gospel doctrines of redemption and justification and propitiation were addressed in that mountain-top chapter of epic significance. Now as Isaiah comes to chaps. 54-55, he presents the intended response to such glorious truths. How should the redeemed of the Lord respond? Revelation always demands a response. How are we going to apply the great truths that we now understand?

Certainly God does not intend for His children to live lives of fear and insecurity. He has given us precious promises so that we can live in confidence and have assurance regarding the blessings that lie ahead. We need to be rejoicing right now and worshiping God with thankful hearts for the riches of all the spiritual blessings that we enjoy through Jesus Christ.



[Rock is something solid that you can count on; immoveable; provides secure foundation]

Presented in simple motifs of everyday living that we can easily relate to:

— Fruitful, Growing Family

— Committed Love in Marriage

— Glorious Fortified City


3 Commands = The Response to the Gospel Message – each followed by a word of assurance

Parunak: The structural marker here is the alternation of imperatives with motive clauses:

“do A, for B.” The focus is on the change in attitude in a woman who has been ashamed.

A. (:1) Command #1 – Shout For Joy – Instead of Desolation Great Fertility

1. Command – Exuberant Worship

“’Shout for joy, O barren one, you who have borne no child;

Break forth into joyful shouting and cry aloud, you who have not travailed;”

Paul quotes this verse in his allegory of Hagar and Sarah: Gal 4:22-27

Right at the beginning we have to decide how broad is the scope of the redeemed people of God in Isaiah 54? Certainly it includes the promises made to redeemed Israel – but it seems to go beyond the physical nation to include even the Gentiles that would later come to believe in the church age = children of Abraham by faith – as opposed to the Judaizers who were only children of Abraham according to the flesh and not part of the seed of promise:

– Note the reference to the illustration of Noah – before the call of Abraham and the establishment of the Jewish nation

– Note the reference to the city at the end of the chap. is not just rebuilt Jerusalem in the Millennial kingdom but the New Jerusalem pictured in Rev. 21.

Beall: In Gal 4:27, Paul cites this verse to show how Sarah eventually triumphed over Hagar (and thus grace would triumph over law). Israel was in a state of barrenness and mourning, but because of the work of the Servant, she would soon be fruitful indeed.

Borgman – makes strong case for reference to Gentiles being grafted in as the people of God – but he concludes that the church has replaced Israel as the target of all the OT promises of regathering and future faith; continuity in the people of God does not imply identity and sameness; there can still be distinctives

Certainly a command for exuberant worship and rejoicing

John 4 – Father seeks worshippers

2. Word of Assurance

For the sons of the desolate one will be more numerous than the sons of the married woman,’ says the LORD.”

Constable: Here we have another instance of rejoicing because God would miraculously bless those who, because of unbelief, were formerly spiritually barren and unproductive (cf. 51:1-3; 1 Sam. 2:1-10; Gal. 4:27). They would become more fruitful than those who enjoy blessings apart from a relationship with God.

Oswalt: Just as God could make a barren Sarah more fruitful than a fertile Hagar, so he can take those who are “dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1, AV) and use them to bring abundant blessings to the entire world.

B. (:2-3) Command #2 – Enlarge Your Tent in Anticipation of Growth

1. Command – Anticipate Abundant Blessing From God – Be Prepared

“Enlarge the place of your tent;

Stretch out the curtains of your dwellings, spare not;

Lengthen your cords, And strengthen your pegs.”

Oswalt: the use of the tent imagery here, long after Israel had ceased literally to dwell in tents, may be a purposeful allusion to the years in the wilderness, when Israel was on its way home from bondage in Egypt. If so, the sense may be that just as God guided and protected his people in that return, keeping his promises alive despite the loss of an entire generation, so now he can do the same again, and Israel will not only survive but prosper.

Illustration: When our family grew, we needed to add an additional floor for more bedrooms – it was either enlarge the tent or move to a new tent.

Motyer: Tent life is a picture of the ideal (cf. Je. 2:2-3) when the people walked with God (cf. 16:5, where Isaiah envisages the Messiah reigning “in the tent of David” and 33:20 where Jerusalem is described as a “tent that will not be moved”; the comparable reference in Am. 9:11 suggests that the tent may also be a Davidic motif). The wilderness days (for all that the people failed at every hand’s turn) were ideally days of separation unto the Lord, exclusive fellowship, walking under his care and independence on him.

2. Word of Assurance

“For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left.

And your descendants will possess nations,

And they will resettle the desolate cities.”

Beall: Israel will have a pre-eminent position among nations in the Millennium (see also 49:7, 19-23)

Psalm 2:8 – Messiah promised the nations for his inheritance

C. (:4-5) Command #3 – Fear Not For You Will Not Be Disgraced

1. (:4a) Command – Live in Confidence

“Fear not,”

Constable: Sarah initially felt ashamed because she did not believe the Lord would give her a child (Gen. 18:12-14; cf. Gen. 16:4; 1 Sam. 1:6, 25; Luke 1:25). Nevertheless, God stood by His promise, gave her a child, and she had no reason to feel ashamed. The relative barrenness of God’s people throughout their lifetime would end, and their reproach would pass away. Israel’s youth included Egyptian slavery (cf. Jer. 2:2-3), and her widowhood involved Babylonian captivity.

Parunak: Throughout the book, Israel has been at the center of a struggle between the Lord and the idol gods. With the Babylonian captivity, it seemed as though the idol gods had won, and Israel was humiliated. But throughout the book God has warned us that it is the idolaters who will be put to shame, in keeping with David’s three-fold prayer, and now the Lord assures Israel that her shame shall come to an end.

2. (:4b-5) Word of Assurance: Security Tied to Covenant Relationship

a. (:4b) No Shame of Widowhood

“for you will not be put to shame;

Neither feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced;

But you will forget the shame of your youth,

And the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more.”

Shame of your youth – bondage in Egypt for 400 years

Reproach of your widowhood – captivity in Babylon for 70 years

b. (:5) Glory of Divine Husband

“For your husband is your Maker, Whose name is the LORD of hosts;

And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, Who is called the God of all the earth.”

Key Verse – Provides transition – Security tied to Covenant Relationship

5 Supreme Identifications of Our Life Partner:

– Your Maker – knows us intimately

– Lord of hosts – all resources at His disposal; commands forces of the universe

– Your Redeemer – Our precious Savior – when we were dead in our trespasses and sins, made us alive by satisfying God’s wrath and buying us back out of the marketplace of sin and slavery and bondage

– Holy One of Israel – Absolute transcendence of God and yet has made it possible for sinful men to dwell with him and have fellowship on His holy hill

– God of all the Earth —

Truly this is a partner you can trust!

Cf. Jer. 31:31-34 also speaks of the husband analogy in the context of the New Covenant

Oswalt: The Lord is not only our husband but also our Redeemer. Inevitably, this juxtaposition reminds us of the story of Ruth. She is a childless, foreign widow, as humiliating and hopeless a position as it was possible to reach in Israel. But the man who falls in love with her is also just the man who is able to redeem the land and name of her dead husband. This is our God, the one whose love is able somehow to salve the sting of the past and turn even bitter water to sweet. Who is this Redeemer ? He is the Holy One of Israel, that favorite term of Isaiah to express both the absolute transcendence of God and his unbelievable condescension. . . It is one thing to have the desire to redeem, but it is quite another to have the power to do so.


A. (:6-8) Illustration of Hosea — Commitment to Lovingkindness and Compassion

1. (:6) Recalled After Having Been Rejected

“’For the LORD has called you, Like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit,

Even like a wife of one’s youth when she is rejected,’ Says your God.”

Wiersbe: The image in this chapter is that of Jehovah, the faithful husband, forgiving Israel, the unfaithful wife, and restoring her to the place of blessing.

Oswalt: Here we think automatically of the story of Hosea. . . the law of hesed (love). No single English word can encompass all the connotations of this Hebrew word, but its basic idea is of passionate loyalty, especially of a superior to an inferior. In its basic usage it refers to the obligations of covenant, but in the biblical experience of God it comes to express that loyalty which goes far beyond any legal obligation in a passionate concern for the well-being of the other. It is this that God has for his people, which expresses itself in “grace,” “mercy,” “unfailing love,” “kindness,” and several other similar English words.

2. (:7-8) Favored After Having Been Forsaken

“’For a brief moment I forsook you,

But with great compassion I will gather you.

In an outburst of anger I hid My face from you for a moment;

But with everlasting lovingkindness I will have compassion on you,’

Says the LORD your Redeemer.”

Contrast between brief moment of experiencing God’s hand of discipline and the everlasting lovingkindness that we will experience forever and ever

B. (:9-10) Illustration of Noah — Commitment to Lovingkindness and Compassion

1. (:9) Promise of No More Judgment – Noahic Covenant

“For this is like the days of Noah to Me;

When I swore that the waters of Noah should not flood the earth again,

So I have sworn that I will not be angry with you, Nor will I rebuke you.”

Oswalt: Just as his compassion prevented him from completely destroying the world then and led him to bind himself from that sort of destruction in the future, so here it is his compassion that leads him to bring the exile to an end and to swear not to pour out his anger on them.

Grogan: The writer to the Hebrews lays special stress on the great assurance the oath of God gives us (Heb 6:14-20; 7:20-28).

2. (:10) Promise of Eternal Security – Covenant of Peace

“For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake,

But My lovingkindness will not be removed from you,

And My covenant of peace will not be shaken,’

Says the LORD who has compassion on you.”

Key Verse – Security tied to God’s Enduring Lovingkindness

Oswalt: The hearers are called to sing for joy, to expand their tents, and to live in confidence. For what reason? Because the childless, rejected wife is going to be restored to the arms of her loving husband, who promises that nothing can prevent him from loving her, and she will have enough children to fill the earth. Here indeed is cause for praise: abundance for emptiness, honor for shame, and eternal love for lonely despair. This is our God. . . peace (shalom) in Hebrew is much more than the absence of hostilities; it describes a condition of wholeness.

Gene Brooks: the focus of this covenant is on security. God will throw a protective covering over His people so that they will be safe. While this covenant speaks to the end-times, it has present application for us.


A. (:11-12) Illustration of a Secure City Built With Precious Jewels

1. Deliverance From Insecurity Pictured as Precious Jewels

“O afflicted one, storm-tossed, and not comforted,

Behold, I will set your stones in antimony,

And your foundations I will lay in sapphires.”

Insecurity described in 3 ways:

– Afflicted one – What nation has been more afflicted than Israel?

– Storm-tossed – nothing conveys more the sense of life being out of control than this image of being tossed around on the waves

– Not comforted – this second half of the book of Isaiah is all about the comfort that God provides to His redeemed people

Security illustrated by focusing in on a foundation of precious jewels:

– antimony – dark mascara – highlighting the beauty of the stones

2 Kings 9:30 Jezebel putting on black eye liner

Jer. 4:30 “And you, O desolate one, what will you do? Although you dress in scarlet, Although you decorate yourself with ornaments of gold, Although you enlarge your eyes with paint, In vain you make yourself beautiful; Your lovers despise you; They seek your life.”

– sapphires – vivid blue stone – maybe symbolic of heaven

Constable: Isaiah changed his illustration from a restored wife to a rebuilt city, but the point remains the same. The contrast between the city of man and the city of God is one that Isaiah developed quite fully (cf. 1:26-27; 2:2-4; 4:2-6; 12:1-6; 24:10; 25:1-9; 26:1-6; 35:10; 47:1; 52:1; 66:10-14). The people of God can anticipate a glorious future. The prophet was not describing the rebuilding of Jerusalem following the Jews’ return from exile. He was using the image of rebuilding a city to convey the joy and security that lay in the future for all God’s people, particularly Israel. . .

Presently God’s people were wretched, but they would be redeemed. They were bereft of support, without stability, and in despair, all of which God in His compassion noted. They would enjoy richness, abundance, completeness, and variety. Antimony was a black powder that masons added to mortar that held stones in place. It set off the beauty of the stones by providing a dark edging for them. Women also used this powder as mascara to color their eyes (cf. 2 Kings 9:30). Foundations of sapphires (lapis lazuli, a prized dark blue stone) would be foundations of the highest quality and greatest beauty. The battlements Isaiah saw were bright red rubies. The gates were clear crystal, and the walls were a mosaic of other precious stones. This description recalls the picture of the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21:9—22:5.

Motyer: This present “city” passage, the third stanza of the poem, is linked with the first stanza by the theme of Zion’s sons (1, 13) and with the second stanza by the note of peace (10, 13). In this way it is a summary and conclusion to the whole. It is linked with the foregoing Servant Song by the concept of righteousness (53:11; 54:14, 17).

2. Fortifications Pictured as Precious Jewels

a. Battlements – Rubies – sparkling red stones

“Moreover, I will make your battlements of rubies,”

b. Gates — Crystal

“And your gates of crystal,”

c. Wall – Precious Stones

“And your entire wall of precious stones.”

Rev. 21 – picture of New Jerusalem – not just rebuilt Jerusalem in the Millennial Kingdom

B. (:13-15) Secure City Provides Environment for Instruction and Righteousness

1. (:13) Environment Encourages Instruction and Prosperity

“And all your sons will be taught of the LORD;

And the well-being of your sons will be great.”

Young: the proclamation of the truth in itself is not sufficient, for many who hear the truth reject it. In addition there must be the internal work of the Spirit. Unless the Spirit of God makes one willing and able to believe, he will not believe. We become living and precious stones for building the Temple of God, says Calvin, “when the Lord has formed and polished us by his Spirit, and has added to the external preaching of the word the internal efficacy of the Spirit.”

2. (:14-15) Environment Encourages Righteousness and Protection

“In righteousness you will be established;

You will be far from oppression, for you will not fear;

And from terror, for it will not come near you.

If anyone fiercely assails you it will not be from Me.

Whoever assails you will fall because of you.”

C. (:16-17) Ultimate Security – Over Weapons and Enemies

1. (:16) Security Tied to Sovereign Control Over Every Weapon and Every Enemy

“Behold, I Myself have created the smith

who blows the fire of coals, And brings out a weapon for its work;

And I have created the destroyer to ruin.”

Constable: Whatever happens to the redeemed in that era would be by the will of God, who not only raises up destroyers to destroy, and provides the weapons that they use, but creates the blacksmiths who make the weapons. All that the people of God would experience would be part of God’s good intention and design for them.

Young: This verse is very instructive for the study of divine providence. It teaches that nothing occurs, not even the destroying acts of the enemies of God’s people, apart from God Himself. At the same time we are not to blame Him for the evil that men do (cf. the express statement of the previous verse), but in His secret providence God governs the efforts and actions of men and employs them as the instruments of His anger.”

Oswalt: Since God is the Creator who creates not only the warrior (the destroyer) but the weapon in his hand, and not only the weapon but even the blacksmith who made the weapon, we should not think that anything can come to us that will contradict God’s purposes for us.

Young: The warrior does not act independently of God, even though he may think that he does. This verse is very instructive for the study of divine providence. It teaches that nothing occurs, not even the destroying acts of the enemies of God’s people, apart from God Himself. At the same time we are not to blame Him for the evil that men do (cf. the express statement of the previous verse), but in His secret providence God governs the efforts and actions of men and employs them as the instruments of His anger.

2. (:17) Security Tied to Sovereign Protection Against Every Weapon and Every Enemy (Ray Lewis Super Bowl verse)

“’No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper;

And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn.

This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD,

And their vindication is from Me,’ declares the LORD.”

Key Verse – Security Tied to Sovereign Protection

Ultimate vindication comes from the Lord

Protected not only against physical attacks but against verbal accusations that would falsely try to smear their righteous character

Note plural use of “servants” here as we are identified with the Servant himself

Constable: Even though opponents might arise, they would be ineffective against God’s invincible people. Hard steel or a hot tongue, two forms of antagonism that represent all forms of it, would not prosper.

Beall: Thus, while the enemies will not be from God, righteousness and a secure inheritance will come from Him in the Millennium.

Oswalt: The inheritance of the servants of the Lord is primarily expressed here in relational terms. . . The purpose then in the shift to the plural at this point seems to be to finalize the distinction between the “servant” of the Lord, who receives benefits, and the “Servant” of the Lord, who makes those benefits possible.


“A Mighty Fortress is our Lord, a Bulwark never Failing”

New Jerusalem – Hebrews 11:10, 16; 12:22-24; 13:14

3 Rocks of Security for the Redeemed People of God

— Fruitful, Growing Family

— Committed Love in Marriage

— Glorious Fortified City

Preparation for participation in the Lord’s Supper