“Enlarge the place of your tent;
Stretch out the curtains of your dwellings, spare not;
Lengthen your cords
And strengthen your pegs.
3 “For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left.
And your descendants will possess nations
And will resettle the desolate cities.
4 “Fear not, for you will not be put to shame;
And do not feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced;
But you will forget the shame of your youth,
And the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more.
5 “For your husband is your Maker,
Whose name is the Lord of hosts;
And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel,
Who is called the God of all the earth.
6 “For the Lord has called you,
Like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit,
Even like a wife of one’s youth when she is rejected,”
Says your God.
Would you plan a wedding for a person who just died? Would you tell a woman who just had her doctor tell her that she'll never have children to get a baby's room ready in her house? Would you plan a graduation party for a young person who was kicked out of school? Would you tell a man on death row to invest for retirement?
So why is God telling a nation (Judah) to plan for expansion when she is already under Assyrian control and destined to be flattened by Babylon?
Once upon a time there was a young man from backwater Nazareth who caught the attention of the crowds by the things He did, the things He taught, and the miracles He performed. He also caught the attention of the Jewish religious leaders. After 3.5 years of mostly avoiding their presence, escaping their verbal traps, and eluding their murderous schemes He eventually found Himself (by choice) hanging on Roman cross just outside Jerusalem. His life, His ministry, His influence, whatever they meant and wherever they could have gone were over. "Save yourself!" His enemies cried. "Come down and we'll believe you!" they claimed.
It was hardly a Hollywood ending. His most loyal followers scattered, hiding from the public to avoid a similar fate. Since we know the rest of the story it's difficult to fully experience those moments. Hope was lost. The lights went out. Time to board up the factory, close the gate, shutter the windows, box up whatever remains. Jesus Inc. is done...
What does this have to do with Isaiah's words to Judah or with you and I in 2018 and beyond?
Simply this: If you are in step with Jesus, and embracing His promises, it doesn't matter how dark the night, how bleak the outlook, how hopeless our prospects, or how great the number of those against us. If we are with Him, the end is assured. Some say hope is everything and when it's gone we have nothing left. The Bible says something a little different. It says there are faith, hope, and love, and the greatest of these is love. Believe in His love and you will never lose hope. Love wins.
So plan for a larger tent. Let the ropes out longer. Get some bigger pegs. God keeps His promises.