Summary: Hold on to the promise of a loving God in the midst of affliction, for He remembers the faithful.
Israel at this time was at a very low point in their history. They had gone through a succession of wicked rulers who had led them astray from God. The Kingdom had been divided and weakened. First the northern, and then the southern kingdom had fallen to their enemies. The land had been laid waste, the walls torn down. Even the temple of God where they worshipped had been ransacked and destroyed by their enemies.
Most of them had been taken captive to Babylon. Only a remnant of the people remained faithful to God, refusing to worship idols. But when they looked around, everything was gone. Their temple, their city, their nation, and their people, now held captive throughout the enemy lands.
Isaiah the prophet brought the Word of God to the people: Isa 54:1 "Sing... burst into song, shout for joy..."
1 By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion. 2 There on the poplars we hung our harps, 3 for there our captors asked us for songs, our tormentors demanded songs of joy; they said, "Sing us one of the songs of Zion!" 4 How can we sing the songs of the LORD while in a foreign land?
Isaiah says SING, for there is HOPE in God. God has not forgotten them...
(1) WE HAVE HOPE BECAUSE OF WHO HE IS - A Compassionate God
54:6 "The LORD will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit."
54:7 "...with deep compassion I will bring you back."
54:8 "... with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you."
He is a loving God, with deep compassion for us.
And He is the Mighty God who can save us:
54:5 ...the LORD Almighty is His name - the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; He is called the God of all the earth.
He is the Almighty God of all the earth - and He is our Redeemer. He LOVES the people of Israel and He is CAPABLE of saving them; bringing them back home to Jerusalem.
What God plans to do, no man can stop it. No nation, as big as Babylon can thwart it. This is the God we believe in today. Trust Him. Therefore they have reasons to SING, to burst into song and shout for joy.
Notice who Isaiah calls to sing (Isa 54:1): "Sing, O barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labour...
The woman was called to sing while still barren, without a child. Circumstances have not changed but Isaiah calls the people to sing, because God’s plan will come true. It is not just a song of HOPE but a song of FAITH - trusting what God has prophesied will come true. He is going to bring His people back, because 5 ...the LORD Almighty is His name - the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; He is called the God of all the earth.
We sing because we have hope. We sing because we have a great future. We can rejoice in the midst of difficult circumstances because what God has promised will come true. The journey may be tough, but the end point is SURE - we’ve a glorious future in Christ. That’s why Paul says, "18I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." (Rom 8:18). Everything will turn out well for those who trust Christ.