(2) Enlarge your encampment,
And your tent curtains,
Stretch out and don’t hold back.
Lengthen your tent ropes,
And strengthen the tent pegs.
(5) Because your husband is your maker,
YHWH of Armies is his name.
Your redeemer is the Holy one of Israel.
He shall be called King of all the Earth! — Isaiah 54:2 & 5
You may recognize the first part of our text from yesterday’s devotion. I talked about extending our territory, but at the same time about the importance of strengthening our stakesâ€”our anchor points. Those provide the guide to who we are and where we are that prevent us from going astray or suffering a fatal crash when we try to extend our territory.
Today I want to focus on the most important of those anchor points: Who is it that guarantees our security and invites us to extend our territory?
In Isaiah 54 God is talking to Israel, in particular the exiles of Judah. These are not people who are in very good shape. They are in exile. They have no hope, in themselves, of doing anything about it. They are in a classic situation of depending on God.
I really pity prophets. Sometimes have to come into situations where nobody wants to be corrected and bring correction. At other times they have to go into situations where everyone is discouraged, downtrodden, and willing to accept their situation, and they have to try to wake them up and make them believe that greater things are possible. I can easily imagine Isaiah, Jeremiah, or Ezekiel asking God why he couldn’t just once send them to tell somebody that everything was great, you’re doing fine, God is blessing you, and just stay on course. But no, God’s message is most commonly a correctionâ€”either change your course because you are not right with God, or get up and accept the full blessing that comes to you because you are right.
But here’s the point to hang onto. The reason the exiles can get up, extend their territory, lengthen the tent ropes is simple: The one who redeems them is the one who created them and the one who chose them. They belong to the Holy One of Israel, and he will not let them go. He will see to their restoration.
That’s one of those strong, unshakable, unbendable tent pegs: Faith in God. Faith and works are so often placed in opposition in our teaching that we often forget that without faith, we have no foundation for whatever works we may have to do.
Anchor yourself to the one who created you, who chose you, and who is calling you to greater things.