Isa 54:4 “Fear not, for you will not be ashamed; be not confounded, for you will not be disgraced; for you will forget the shame of your youth, and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more.
Isa 54:5 For your Maker is your husband, the LORD of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called.
Isa 54:6 For the LORD has called you like a wife deserted and grieved in spirit, like a wife of youth when she is cast off, says your God.
- So many words for shame in this passage: ashamed, confounded, disgraced, reproach, deserted, grieved, cast off.
- Cultures that are shame-literate have a huge vocabulary in this area. Cumulative sense of being overwhelmingly immobilised, entrapped and rendered helpless by overweening shame.
- Situation: a young woman who was barren – did not produce children. Cast aside, abandoned, rejected as a result.
- Desolate, discarded, no future, no friends, no way out.
- God says, I will redeem, I will be your husband.
Isa 54:1 “Sing, O barren one, who did not bear; break forth into singing and cry aloud, you who have not been in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than the children of her who is married,” says the LORD.
- Paul picks up this whole image in Romans 7.
- Married to “the law” – a terrible husband who points out what is wrong but cannot produce life.
- Rom 7:4 Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God.
- We die (with Christ) and have new life and are free to marry another – Jesus!
- David Devenish preaching this in Turkey!
- This truth is of great joy to those we are reaching with the gospel!
- All their shame, powerlessness, lack of joy, lack of singing is replaced by beauty and power and life…
- Also of great comfort to us as gospel witnesses: you may feel barren. But great fruitfulness is coming!!
- Different metaphors carry different weight in different cultures.
- Eg “lamb of God” was useless in PNG where no sheep/no word for sheep.
“Bride of Christ” is a universally powerful metaphor that can be contextually mined. Marriage is a highly culturally-embedded set of traditions and expectations. Seeking to understand how marriage works/ reading scriptures like this one with cultural insiders can prove wonderfully fruitful.