All your children will be taught by the Lord, and great will be their peace.
The book of Isaiah is an epic book of prophecy that centres itself around the role that Judah and Jerusalem has in the plans of God. The prophet Isaiah made extensive prophecies on the destruction and suffering of the people, but as all prophets do, the book of Isaiah ends with hope – in the promise of the future glory that is to come. Isaiah 54 kickstarts the change in tone and direction of the book – where Isaiah 53 speaks of the great suffering of the Messiah, Isaiah 54 speaks of the glory that is to come beyond that suffering. Just as the suffering and destruction that was prophesied had been great, widespread and long-lasting; so is the glory that comes after it. It will not be a temporary reprieve from pain. It will not merely last for a generation. That which was promised is a peace that transcends the generations – for your descendants. In today’s study we will examine the nature of this promise of peace and glory, from the direction of the cross-generational.
all your children – the first promise made by the Lord in Isaiah 54 was the promise of multiplication – more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband [v1]. They will spread out to the right and to the left; dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities. What a tremendous promise this is. Verse 13 is the fourth time that the word children, or descendent, was mentioned in the chapter. Do you have children? I do not, but over the years I’ve come to appreciate that children are the greatest concepts of hope for many parents. At the end of one’s lives on earth, whether they are Christians are not, most will like to see their children do well, as their offsprings are their most obvious forms of legacies. In recent years I’ve been amazed at the things that parents would do for their children, even at the expense of their own well-beings, health, and lives. Imagine then, that we’re talking about the barren woman, the desolate city, the afflicted nation. Their biggest hope, their only tangible hope, lies in their offspring.
will be taught by the Lord – oh, but there is great reason to hope in their children, because the Lord will teach them. What does it mean to be taught by the Lord? Jesus said, If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free [John 8:31]. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you [John 15:7]. If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea [Isa 48:18].What better teacher can we ever have, then the Lord himself? Indeed, the teaching of the Lord leads us to truth, freedom, prosperity, peace.
and great will be their peace – For most of us, who are fortunate enough to live in peaceful cities and have no great suffering to speak of (at least not in the scale of national or regional war, poverty, devastation etc like in the context of this passage), it is perhaps difficult for us to grasp the concept of peace in its intended degree. At this point, the Israelites were most likely still in captivity (or ending their captivity) by the Persians in Babylonia. Theirs was a nation that has been devastated and destroyed by war, a people that has been subjected to captivity and forced away from their homes. They had no rights, no identities, no statuses, no futures. They had no hope. Peace was likely a foreign concept; glory even more so. But though they are barren and desolate, the Lord promises them a hope of future glory – not to be experienced by them perhaps, but certainly for their offspring.
The church today, is too, taught by the Lord. Christians today, are taught by the Lord. Jesus himself makes a direct reference to this verse as recorded by the apostle John – it is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me [John 6:45]. Paul puts it this way: Now about your love for one another we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other [1 Thes 4:9]. I do not need to teach you, because God himself has already taught you, says Paul. As long as we truly trusts in the Lord, and cling on to his teachings, even if there are sufferings and trials, storms and winds; there will still remain a peace in our hearts – a peace so great that it transcends human understanding [Phil 4:7|Article].
There are two things I am reminded of when I meditate upon this verse. Firstly – in context to the rest of the chapter (Isaiah 54), that even though the current circumstance may be unfortunate, but there is great hope, and great peace will come. Secondly, in the context of interpreting ourselves as the children; that I, myself, have been taught by the Lord, and great is my peace. Perhaps there are plenty of other ways one can interpret this verse – I have used it to pray for the youths and the children as well, for they are indeed our pillars of tomorrow, our hopes for a better future. But at the end of the day, this remains a promise from God – a cross-generational, timeless promise from God, a promise of great hope; a promise that brings glory and peace.