This week's Haftarah portion is from Isaiah 54:1-10. Join Dr. Myers as he unravels the beautiful reading where Hashem speaks to His beloved nation of Israel in a consoling and comforting manner, of the better days to come.
Follow along in the AUDIO PODCAST, by clicking on the play button below, and reading along with the notes, as you listen to today's Haftarah:
Lion of Judah Speaks: Haftarah Portion – Isaiah 54:1-10
In Isaiah 52-53 we see Yeshua HaMashiach as the “Suffering Servant”. A picture of the Messiah, a deliverer who would deliver the people from their sins. This task would be accomplished not by conquering their enemies with a vast army, but by suffering and dying. In yielding His life, this King in His death would also have His life “prolonged” and would “see His seed”. However, where does this “offspring” come from? A wife. Isaiah 54 is aimed at YHVH’s nation, Israel. Its prophecies of things that will be fulfilled when Yeshua returns and sets up His Kingdom on earth. These prophetic jewels found in this chapter will encourage and enlighten us as the Ruach speaks into our hearts.
Isaiah 54 opens with a paradox: “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 Adonai. Let’s ask the obvious questions, “How can a barren woman come to rejoice?” “How can a desolate one have abundant children?” It’s a paradox, but we’ve seen it played out in the story of Sarah, the barren one who bears a son in her old age. It is their story, it is our story, it’s the iconic story of the Yah we serve, whose very nature is to give life when there is no life and to even raise the dead.
Isaiah’s words have special meaning during these coming High Holy Days. One of the customs during this season is to take time to consider our attitudes and behaviors and make amends as needed. As we search our hearts, we often find that we are desolate, barren of what we need to be pleasing to Adonai or fruitful in His sight. Upon this realization, we understand the need to ask Yah for mercy, asking Him for forgiveness in our lack. Our Yah is powerful and able to give life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist according to Romans 4:17.
In Isaiah 54:1-3, there is a promise of prosperity to the desolate one. The word desolate- “shamem” in Hebrew means “to be desolate, be appalled, stun; to be desolated, be deflowered, be deserted.” In ancient Israel, a woman who was unable to have children was a disgrace. Children helped run the house and do chores, so, a woman who was able to have lots of children was considered especially blessed. However, Adonai is saying that a woman who was unable to have children will end up having more than anyone else. In the Aramaic translation of Isaiah interprets this of Jerusalem: “Sing praise. O Jerusalem, which was a barren woman that bears not” In this sense, the idea is that the city of Jerusalem will have been as a barren woman that is now able to give birth. This would be a prophecy that could be seen as being fulfilled after the Jews returned from a 70-year captivity in Babylon, but even more as they’ve returned to rebuild Israel after having been scattered by the Romans 1900 years ago.
Galatians 4:27 says, “For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that barest not; break forth and cry, thou that travails not; for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband.” The barren woman in Isaiah is told to “Enlarge the place of thy tent”. To enlarge was a matter of opening up a wall and adding more material. This barren woman is told to start doing some home remodeling. She is told to not only enlarge it but to make it stronger too! This is almost a “build it and they will come” mentality! We need to stop being comfortable with what we have and where we are and be ready, prepared for change! Change is okay! Stop and think about your life…are you ready for Adonai to use you more? Is Adonai asking you to “enlarge your tent?” Is your life in a place where you are open to Yah using you in new ways? Could it be possible that old “tent walls” will have to come down in order to make room for new ones? If we are going to run our race and finish, then, we need to find balance in our lives. Jeremiah 12:5 (NIV) says, “If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses?” What will you do when Adonai says it’s time to try the next level?
How will this barren woman have many children, how will she lose her shame? The reason is because of her husband. Fruit comes from a loving Husband, the key to fruitfulness is a loving relationship with Adonai. It’s this loving “husband” relationship that will make Israel become a mother of many children. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done that has brought you shame or disgrace. He’s all you need! Can you say, Adonai is my Husband?” What is stopping you? Paul had learned to take all the stuff in the past that held him back and to let go of it. Too often we get these things in our lives that we just don’t want to let go of. We think they are important and make life worth living. Yet, it’s these very things that keep us captive and if we’d just let go, we could be free. The fact is, there is only one thing to hold on to, our loving relationship with Yeshua. Is He your Husband?
Open your eyes to your barrenness and need for divine rescue. We do a lot to avoid our eyes being opened. Our society, consumerist, high-tech, entertainment-oriented, and addicted culture distracts us from such a realization. So, “the desolate one” refers to those who have finally given up on the need to control life and make something out of themselves. This desolate state allows Adonai to move in, and halleluyah, when He does the desolate one bears children.
We can be realistic as we exam ourselves during these High Holy Days, as we face our failings and shortcomings and finally admit to being powerless over that which binds us. Though you may think that Adonai has forsaken you…He hasn’t! You may not understand what is happening, but He still loves you, His scars prove it! No matter what is happening, when we surrender to Yeshua, we can be realistic and still maintain our joy, “For the children of the desolate one will be more than the children of her who is married”, says Adonai!
Shabbat Shalom Mishpocha
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Have a great Sabbath and remember to prepare yourself for the High Holy Days that are coming very soon! Give Adonai praise and go make disciples!