54 Eternal One: Sing, childless woman, you who have never given birth.
Raise a joyful shout, you who have never gone through labor.
You, whose husband is dead, will bring forth much more than the fertile one who has a husband.[a]
2 Enlarge your house. You are going to need a bigger place;
don’t underestimate the amount of room that you’ll need. So build, build, build.
3 You will increase in every direction to fill the world.
Your offspring will take over the nations;
Your people will revitalize long-abandoned towns.
4 Don’t be afraid, for there is no one to shame you.
Don’t fear humiliation, for there is no one to disgrace you.
The shame of your younger years and the sorrow of your widowhood are over.
You’ll forget those days as if they never happened.
5 Because the One who made you will be your husband;
the One called Commander of heavenly armies
Will set you right again, the Holy One of Israel.
It’s not for nothing that He is called “God of all the earth.”
6 For the Eternal has called you to come back home,
like a young wife, once deserted and deeply injured.
Now God is pulling you close again. Like a spouse forgives,
He will take you back and be reconciled.
The Eternal, your Redeemer, says this:
7 Eternal One: Yes, I was angry for a moment, and I rejected you,
but My love endures, and I want you back.
8 For that moment, when I was so mad,
I made it impossible for you to see Me, to find Me,
But with great tenderness, I will take you back in love.
9 I think this is like the time when Noah lived.
I promised that I would never again destroy the world by a flood.
So now I am promising never again to be so angry
and punishing as I was when I sent you away.
10 Even if the mountains heave up from their anchors,
and the hills quiver and shake, I will not desert you.
You can rely on My enduring love;
My covenant of peace will stand forever.
So says the Eternal One, whose love won’t give up on you.
This promise stands to God’s covenant people: nothing can happen to them unless God wills it and makes it so. Only if they invite it will destruction come. Throughout this time of rebellion and punishment God makes it clear that they hold their fate in their own hands. And if they haven’t understood the message, God tells them who will do the nation-building—an unworldly restoration. He says that He provides the raw materials; He creates the tools and provides the skills with which the builders build. He alone is responsible for restoring the nation. And no matter what charges the adversary may concoct, God will not be put off. Even though Israel rebelled and was unfaithful at one time, that is in the past. The future is sure: God’s faithfulness to His covenant, His enduring love for His people, will stand for all time. So the challenge goes out from the prophet to God’s people—speaking on God’s authority—to align themselves with God, accept Him as God, and they will surely win.
11 Eternal One: Ah, Jerusalem, so miserable and distressed! I will rebuild you
with floors of shimmering mosaics, set sapphires in your foundations.
12 I will decorate your towers with rubies,
and your gates will sparkle with all manner of precious gems.
Costly jewels will adorn the entire wall that circles your precincts.
13 Every one of your children, the people who call you home,
will be students of the Eternal; oh, they’ll be so happy and live in peace!
14 This time, you will be founded and grounded
on right thought, speech, and action.
And no one will trouble you, abuse or oppress you;
you will know no fear and have no worries.
15 If a nation marches against you,
know that I am not behind it.
Anyone foolish enough to challenge you will fall to you.
16 I have created the blacksmith
who readies the fire and forges weapons for wars;
And I have created the destroyer to ravage and ruin.
17 But no instrument forged against you will be allowed to hurt you,
and no voice raised to condemn you will successfully prosecute you.
It’s that simple; this is how it will be for the servants of the Eternal;
I will vindicate them.