SCRIPTURE REFERENCES FOR THIS SERMON:
54:1 “Shout for joy, O barren one who has not given birth!
Give a joyful shout and cry out, you who have not been in labor!
For the children of the desolate one are more numerous
than the children of the married woman,” says the Lord.
2 Make your tent larger,
stretch your tent curtains farther out!
Spare no effort,
lengthen your ropes,
and pound your stakes deep.
3 For you will spread out to the right and to the left;
your children will conquer nations
and will resettle desolate cities.
4 Don’t be afraid, for you will not be put to shame!
Don’t be intimidated, for you will not be humiliated!
You will forget about the shame you experienced in your youth;
you will no longer remember the disgrace of your abandonment.
5 For your husband is the one who made you –
the Lord of Heaven’s Armies is his name.
He is your protector, the Holy One of Israel.
He is called “God of the entire earth.”
6 “Indeed, the Lord will call you back
like a wife who has been abandoned and suffers from depression,
like a young wife when she has been rejected,” says your God.
7 “For a short time I abandoned you,
but with great compassion I will gather you.
8 In a burst of anger I rejected you momentarily,
but with lasting devotion I will have compassion on you,”
says your protector, the Lord.
9 “As far as I am concerned, this is like in Noah’s time,
when I vowed that the waters of Noah’s flood would never again cover the earth.
In the same way I have vowed that I will not be angry at you or shout at you.
10 Even if the mountains are removed
and the hills displaced,
my devotion will not be removed from you,
nor will my covenant of friendship be displaced,”
says the Lord, the one who has compassion on you.
11 “O afflicted one, driven away, and unconsoled!
Look, I am about to set your stones in antimony
and I lay your foundation with lapis lazuli.
12 I will make your pinnacles out of gems,
your gates out of beryl,
and your outer wall out of beautiful stones.
13 All your children will be followers of the Lord,
and your children will enjoy great prosperity.
14 You will be reestablished when I vindicate you.
You will not experience oppression;
indeed, you will not be afraid.
You will not be terrified,
for nothing frightening will come near you.
15 If anyone dares to challenge you, it will not be my doing!
Whoever tries to challenge you will be defeated.
16 Look, I create the craftsman,
who fans the coals into a fire
and forges a weapon.
I create the destroyer so he might devastate.
17 No weapon forged to be used against you will succeed;
you will refute everyone who tries to accuse you.
This is what the Lord will do for his servants –
I will vindicate them,”
says the Lord.
55:1 “Hey, all who are thirsty, come to the water!
You who have no money, come!
Buy and eat!
Come! Buy wine and milk
without money and without cost!
2 Why pay money for something that will not nourish you?
Why spend your hard-earned money on something that will not satisfy?
Listen carefully to me and eat what is nourishing!
Enjoy fine food!
3 Pay attention and come to me!
Listen, so you can live!
Then I will make an unconditional covenantal promise to you,
just like the reliable covenantal promises I made to David.
4 Look, I made him a witness to nations,
a ruler and commander of nations.”
5 Look, you will summon nations you did not previously know;
nations that did not previously know you will run to you,
because of the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel,
for he bestows honor on you.
6 Seek the Lord while he makes himself available;
call to him while he is nearby!
7 The wicked need to abandon their lifestyle
and sinful people their plans.
They should return to the Lord, and he will show mercy to them,
and to their God, for he will freely forgive them.
8 “Indeed, my plans are not like your plans,
and my deeds are not like your deeds,” says the Lord,
9 “for just as the sky is higher than the earth,
so my deeds are superior to your deeds
and my plans superior to your plans.
10 The rain and snow fall from the sky
and do not return,
but instead water the earth
and make it produce and yield crops,
and provide seed for the planter and food for those who must eat.
11 In the same way, the promise that I make
does not return to me, having accomplished nothing.
No, it is realized as I desire
and is fulfilled as I intend.”
12 Indeed you will go out with joy;
you will be led along in peace;
the mountains and hills will give a joyful shout before you,
and all the trees in the field will clap their hands.
13 Evergreens will grow in place of thorn bushes,
firs will grow in place of nettles;
they will be a monument to the Lord,
a permanent reminder that will remain.