Encouragement to the Barren (Daily Portion 10216)
God compares Israel to a barren or a forsaken woman in this chapter. For a small moment, He has hid His face from her. But He will bless her with everlasting kindness and show mercy unto her because of His covenant with her. This chapter is full of encouragement and kindness.
What Does It Say?
- More are the children of the _____________ than the children of the __________ wife.
- For a small moment have I __________ thee; but with great __________ will I gather thee.
- The ___________ shall depart and the _________ shall be removed, but God’s ___________ will not depart from His people.
- In a picture of a building, God states that He will lay the stones of Israel with fair _________ and her foundations with __________.
- Israel is to be established in ______________.
What Does It Mean?
- Verse 1 refers to the barren and the desolate. The barren woman is the one who has not been able to bear children. The desolate is the woman who was never married. In verse 2, God gives instructions to the barren and the desolate to enlarge the place of their tent. How does this verse continue the thought of verse 1? What are the individual commands of verse 2 speaking of? How can this verse be applied to believers today?
- In verse 4, Israel will be delivered from the reproach of her widowhood. She is like a woman who has lost her husband in death. But verse 5 declares that her Maker is her husband. What is God saying here? Why does He use the picture of Israel as a widow and Him as her husband?
- Verse 15 speaks of those that “shall surely gather together, but not by me.” They “shall gather together against thee.” Read Psalm 35:15 and Psalm 2:1-3. To whom is God referring? To whom would this apply today?
What Does It Mean to Me?
- This passage compares Israel to four sad conditions that women sometimes find themselves in: 1) the barren who cannot have children (v.1); 2) the desolate who never got a husband (v.1); 3) the widow whose husband has died (v.4); and 4) the forsaken whose husband has deserted her (v.6). Although these women are used as pictures of Israel, they also show how God will help those who are described here. Using the promises of this chapter, what are some encouragements that can be given to the women in these four categories? There are statements throughout the chapter that can be applied to these situations. See what you can find.
- In verse 16, God tells Israel that He has created the blacksmith that makes a tool or instrument and He has created the waster to destroy. How do these statements fit with the promise of verse 17, which says, “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper?” Why do you think God uses the two examples He does in verse 16? Who do you think is the waster? What are examples of times when God wants something destroyed? Apply the promises of these verses to us today. What do they mean in our lives?