Isaiah 54 is the Lord's Sonnet to Israel, but as with most Old Testament writings, there are applications for God's modern Lady, the Church, and personal applications for individual believers.
the Lord Almighty is his name—
the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer;
he is called the God of all the earth.
First word: For. When God first spoke these words to me in a personal way, they hit me on a purely emotional level. I was broken, as it felt, beyond repair. Damaged goods that weren’t even “good” to begin with. My failed marriage was proof of everything I had feared. I was worthless, unlovable, and unlikeable. But God stepped in and said, “You’re worth something to Me. I love you. And I like you. A lot.” Well, that didn’t mean very much to me then because, well, He’s God. He has to say that. Besides, at that time, I was still longing to be loved by an earthly husband to get back my self-esteem. Nevertheless, God used this to begin breaking down that crusty old belief system that said, “You’re nothing without a man.” But back to that word “for.”
I looked it up. I was about to say that the word “for” is a synonym for the word “because.” You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood because your Maker is your husband. But NO. It means something more. When the word because is used, the following clause is considered subordinate or less important. It depends on the phrase ahead of it, in this case, your will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.
This is not so with the word “for.” When the word “for” is used, the phrase following is equal to the phrase before and not dependent on it. In other words, regardless of whether you or I forget our shame and reproach, God has still made Himself our husband. It’s a stand-alone truth. Another thing that stands out in this passage is the Holy Spirit’s choice of words as He spoke through Isaiah saying, “Your Maker is your husband.” Why not just say, “God is your husband?” Perhaps He wanted to emphasize that…wait…He made me. He already put me together just as He wanted me to be. So much for dumping on myself the way I have been doing. I was put together by God. If I believe and trust in Him, I have to also trust that I was handcrafted by the Master Artisan, so I’ve got no right to criticize myself.
He made me. Therefore, I am already His. That is established. And now He says He’s my husband? First, He made me, and now He marries me. God, my Maker, now gives Himself to me. He attaches Himself to me, devotes Himself to me, and makes Himself responsible for me. You might even say He makes Himself vulnerable to me. The Almighty God of all the earth has become my Husband and Redeemer. Why? I don’t deserve it. I’ve been a wreck. An ungrateful, unholy, unloving, self-absorbed mess. And yet this all-powerful God bends down and joyfully scoops me up like a long sought treasure.
My mind recognizes how special this is, but my hardened heart struggles with just accepting and leaning in to this precious and powerful love. Thankfully, our God is relentless. He doesn’t give up on us no matter how long it takes. He is not a man, and He does not give up.
The Holy One of Israel is Your Redeemer
The best way to understand the biblical concept of redeemer is to read the short book of Ruth. Naomi, her husband Elimelech, and their two sons Mahlon and Chilion left their home in Bethlehem during a famine and went to live in the idol-worshiping country of Moab. Elimelech died there and Naomi’s sons married Moabite women. A few years later, the sons died also. After the famine was over, Naomi and one of her daughters in law, Ruth, returned to Bethlehem.
There, Ruth met up with one of Elimelech’s close relatives, Boaz. In Jewish law, when a man dies and leaves a wife but no sons, the man’s brother is obligated to marry the wife and produce an heir in his brother’ name to inherit his brother’s property. This was a selfless act, since the redeemer took on the responsibilities of his brother’s property only so it could be passed on in his brother’s name. Since Naomi had no other sons, things looked bleak for Ruth and Naomi. They were destined to lose their property and live out their days in poverty. But along came Boaz. As a close relative, he had the right to redeem Naomi’s property, but no obligation. In fact, there was someone ahead of him in the bloodline that could have redeemed, but chose not to. Boaz, a kinsman redeemer, bought back Naomi’s land, married Ruth, and gave them an heir to their property. Only a righteous man like Boaz was willing to perform this selfless act.
Through this act of redemption, Ruth was able to forget the shame of her youth as an idol worshiper. Naomi no longer had to live with the reproach of her widowhood as her friends rallied to her to celebrate the birth of her grandson Obed. Moreover, God’s purposes were fulfilled as Obed became the father of Jesse, and Jesse became the father of King David. Fourteen generations later the ultimate Redeemer, Jesus, was born through this bloodline.
God gives us this picture of redemption to help us understand that no matter how far we stray or what we lose in the process, He is our Redeemer. He purchased our lost souls with the blood of His only Son Jesus. He paid the ultimate price to bring us back to Him for all eternity. If he was willing to do all of that, doesn’t it make sense that He is more than willing to restore our earthly lives while we are on this earthly journey?
He is called the God of All the Earth
He is not only the God of Heaven, but the God of the earth. He made us, then He married us. He is the Holy One of Israel, which qualifies Him to redeem us. If you are a believer and your earthly life is in shambles, you not only have Heaven to look forward to, you can expect your Redeemer to restore what you have lost here on earth through unfortunate events, bad choices, or tragedy.
Our Redeemer/Husband is ready to restore us, but, like Ruth, there may be things we need to do to position ourselves to receive. First, Boaz gave Ruth specific instructions to stay in his field and close to his servant girls where she would be safe and also glean the most grain. Go where God sends you. Stay where He places you. Glean all you can. And stick close to His servants. Later, Ruth followed Naomi’s instructions to go to the threshing floor at night to ask Boaz to perform the duty of kinsman/redeemer. This was an unusual act that could have opened Ruth up to scandal. Sometimes, we need to be willing to make fools of ourselves and put our reputation on the line to make ourselves available to God.
Questions for Personal Reflection
What are the distinct characteristics God has created in me?
What things have I lost in life that my Redeemer wishes to restore or has already restored for me?
What eternal purpose does God have in mind for my life?
What must I do to position myself to receive all that He has for me?
Thank you for redeeming me. Lord, I have had hurts and losses in my life that have left me feeling barren. I know you have a plan for my restoration. Please place me where you want me to be, and help me recognize the steps I need to take to receive all that you have for me. I will use what I receive to bring you glory and fulfill your purposes for my life. With gratitude and praise, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Sit in a comfortable place with no distractions. Shift your body so it is well supported. Gently close your eyes and focus on your breath, breathing in slowly and deeply and allowing your muscles to relax as you exhale slowly and fully. Take a few more deep breaths as you become more relaxed and focused.
Imagine yourself walking into a large field of grain. Feel the slight breeze on your skin, the sun on your face. Hear the breeze rustling through the leaves of the grain, perhaps some small insects chirping or bees buzzing. Maybe take a taste of the oats, wheat, or barley. As you are walking through this field of grain, you become aware of people working in the field. You see someone special walking toward you, welcoming you. You recognize Him as your Redeemer. As He comes closer, you sense that He has some instruction for you. Listen carefully. See if you can hear His word for you right now.
Often we already know in our hearts what the Holy Spirit is telling us, but the word is drowned out by the cares and responsibilities of the day. Always test what you hear against the Word of God. Any word you hear from God will always be supported in scripture.
Evaluate where you are right now. Whose “field” are you working in? Are you in the right church, job, and circle of friends? Are you staying close to God’s servants? Are you following the instructions He has given you? Are you gleaning all you can from you current situation? If not, what steps can you take to align yourself with God’s plan of restoration for you?