A CALL FOR THE BARREN ONE TO SING! - Isaiah 54:1

18th of the 10th month 2016/2017

Shalom all,

Yeshayahu/Isaiah 54:1 “Sing, O barren one, you who did not bear! Break forth into singing, and cry aloud, you who have not been in labour! For the children of the deserted one are more than the children of the married woman,” said יהוה.

After going through Yeshayahu/Isaiah 54 I was once again struck by the clear call given to the barren one to sing and so in a brief message I want to take a closer look at this call and highlight the sure and promised hope that we, as the beloved Bride of Messiah, have in Him and how we are able to bear abundant fruit in Him and give Him continual praise with a resounding cry of joy-filled singing!

In a message called ‘A CALL FOR THE BARREN ONE TO SING!’ I want to take a closer look at this word ‘barren’ and its use in Scripture in order for us to fully grasp the confidence we are to have in the everlasting loving-commitment of our Mighty Redeemer, Husband, Saviour and King!

Yeshayahu/Isaiah 54 is part of the weekly readings that we had just gone through this past Shabbat when we read the Torah portion from Berěshith/Genesis 6:9-11:32 and I simply want to expand on this first verse of Yeshayahu/Isaiah 54, which should cause us to have our ears attentive to hearing this call given to a Covenanted Bride to sing, despite having not yet been able to bear! The question we must often ask ourselves on a regular basis is whether we will heed this charge to sing or not, as this passage speaks a great deal of encouragement to us today, especially about the sure expectation and promise we have, one that is secure, in our Master יהושע Messiah.

Yisra’ĕl, at this point in their history, were at a really low point. They had gone through a succession of wicked rulers who had led them astray from worshipping and serving יהוה with all their heart, all their being and all their strength; and they had gone and whored after other mighty ones of the nations that were around them – the very thing that they were commanded not to do. Yisra’ĕl had been divided and weakened – first it was the Northern Kingdom and then the Southern Kingdom who had fallen to their enemies as they were led into captivity because of their wickedness. The land had been laid waste, the walls had been torn down and the Hěḵal of Elohim where they had worshipped had been ransacked and destroyed by their enemies. With most of them having now been taken captive by their enemies, there remained only a small remnant that remained faithful to יהוה – that is – those who refused to worship idols.

However, when this remnant few had looked around, everything was gone. Their Hěḵal, their city, their nation and their people, who had now been held captive throughout their enemy’s lands, was gone. And it was here that Yeshayahu/Isaiah the prophet of Elohim brought this Word of Elohim to them… with the urging charge to Sing, and not only sing but burst into singing!

The big question was, ‘Could the remnant sing?’ After all as we take a look at Tehillah/Psalm 137:1-4 we are given a clear idea of their mood and their reluctance to singing unto יהוה:

By the rivers of Baḇel, there we sat down and we wept as we remembered Tsiyon. 2 We hung our lyres upon the willows in the midst of it. 3 For there our captors asked us for the words of a song, and our plunderers for rejoicing, saying, “Sing to us a song of Tsiyon!” 4 How could we sing the song of יהוה on foreign soil?

I am sure many of you can identify with this kind of mindset, especially when you are being asked to sing and burst into song unto יהוה, while you are facing intense struggles and feel as though the fruit you ought to be bearing is severely lacking and you end up saying in your heart, Yeah, sing…huh… how do you expect me to sing… you have no idea what I am going through… and you say ‘sing’… I can’t sing! While many of you may identify with this kind of response and many of you may be inclined to feel that you would be right in feeling this way, I do recognise that I, or others, may not know what you are going through, but I do know that whatever struggles or trials you may be going through, they must not lead to any form of excuses and cause one not to sing unto יהוה!

Yeshayahu/Isaiah is saying that we can sing… and we can sing – because of our expectancy in יהוה!

Who is the ‘barren one’ – it is Yisra’ĕl! It is you and me – the faithful remnant Bride of Messiah!

As we have discussed on many occasions we know that Yisra’ĕl means, ‘one who rules with Ěl’.

Yisra’ĕlיִשְׂרָאֵל Yisra’ĕl – Strong’s H3478 which means, he who prevails, overcomes with Ěl, comes from the two primitive root words: 1) אֵל Ěl – Strong’s H410 which means, Mighty, power, shortened form of Elohim – Mighty One and 2) the root word verb שָׂרָה sarah – Strong’s H8280 which means, to persist, exert oneself, persevere, wrestle, contend, and is spelt the same as the name of Aḇraham’s wife, שָׂרָהSarah’ – Strong’s H8283 which means ‘princess or noble woman’; which is the feminine of the word שַׂר sar – Strong’s H8269 which means, prince, captain, chieftain, ruler!

יִשְׂרָאֵל Yisra’ĕl, as a treasured people and set-apart nation, could then also be understood as those who rule with Ěl, as His princes!

We are a royal priesthood and, in a manner of speaking, with Aḇraham as our father in the faith, we are also children of Sarah the ‘princess’ and are therefore ‘princes’ in the Kingdom of our King; and we who overcome shall rule with Him!

We, who shall rule with Elohim, when He comes to establish His reign in the 7th Millennium, are to be ones who are bursting into song for our Mighty Master and King, right here right now, despite there being times where it seems like nothing is being brought forth!

Before looking at the command to sing and burst into singing, let us take a closer look at this Hebrew word that is used here for the ‘barren one’.

The Hebrew word that is translated as ‘o barren one’ is עֲקָרָהaqarah – which comes from the root word עָקָר aqar – Strong’s H6135 which means, barren, sterile. This root adjective עָקָר aqar – Strong’s H6135 is used 12 times in 11 verses and I want us to take a look at a few of these verses so that we can get a better understanding of who this ‘barren one’ is! This root word is used 12 times in Scripture, which I find very interesting, as the fullness of the promise given to all 12 tribes of Yisra’ĕl, is that they will be fruitful and bear much fruit!

The first time we see this word being used in Scripture is in:

Berěshith/Genesis 11:30And Sarai was barren, she had no child.

Sarai was the wife of Aḇram who bore Yitsḥaq. The next time we see this word עֲקָרָהaqarah being used is in:

Berěshith/Genesis 25:21And Yitsḥaq prayed to יהוה for his wife, because she was barren. And יהוה answered his prayer, and Riḇqah his wife conceived.

Riḇqah, Yitsḥaq’s wife was barren too and then we see the third time that this word עֲקָרָהaqarah is used is in reference to Raḥel, the wife of Ya’aqoḇ, being barren:

Berěshith/Genesis 29:31And יהוה saw that Lĕ’ah was unloved, and He opened her womb, but Raḥĕl was barren.

To be barren was often seen or understood as being cursed, yet what we see with these 3 women is the clear pattern of the promises of the Covenant coming through the seed of women, who were barren for a time. Sarai was barren, Riḇqah was barren and Raḥĕl was barren, yet the clear promise given by יהוה stood firm, in all three of these women becoming pregnant and bearing the fruit of carrying the seed of the promise.

The next time we see the root word עָקָר aqar – Strong’s H6135 being used is in:

Shemoth/Exodus 23:26 “None shall miscarry or be barren in your land. I shall fill the number of your days.

Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 7:14 “Blessed are you above all peoples – there is not going to be a barren man or a barren woman among you or among your livestock.

Both of these verses highlights for us the promise given to a faithful covenanted people and what we are able to begin to learn from the examples we have in Scripture, is that being barren for a time does not mean that the promise will not be brought forth but rather that belief must be strengthened in the sure hope we have in the everlasting loving-commitment of יהוה our Elohim, for His loving-commitment endures forever!

The next time that we see the Hebrew word עֲקָרָהaqarah being used is in:

Shophetim/Judges 13:2-3 “And there was a certain man from Tsorʽah, of the clan of the Danites, whose name was Manowaḥ. And his wife was barren and had not borne. 3 And a Messenger of יהוה appeared to the woman and said to her, “See now, you are barren and have not borne, but you shall conceive, and you shall bear a son.

At a time when the children of Yisra’ĕl did evil in the eyes of יהוה and had been given into the hands of the philistines for 40 years, the promise of a son was given to the wife of Manowaḥ, who had been barren! She would bear Shimshon, who would be a Nazirite from the womb and deliver Yisra’ĕl from the philistines!

The next time we see the root word עָקָר aqar – Strong’s H6135 being used is in:

Shemu’ĕl Aleph/1 Samuel 2:5The satisfied have hired themselves out for bread, and the hungry have ceased. Even the barren has borne seven, and she who has many children pines away.

These words form part of the prayer that Ḥannah prayed to יהוה when she rejoiced in יהוה for giving her a son that she had asked for and she called his name Shemuʼěl - שְׁמוּאֵל Strong’s H8050 which means ‘El has heard’. Shemu’ĕl was a great prophet and the last judge of Yisra’ĕl.

We see the root word עָקָר aqar – Strong’s H6135 being used is in:

Iyoḇ/Job 24:21treating evil the barren who does not bear, and does no good for the widow.

Iyoḇ was highlighting here how the evil will treat the barren with wickedness and an example of this can be seen in the account of Ḥannah, who was provoked by Peninnah, the other wife of Elqanah, husband of Ḥannah, just because יהוה had shut her womb:

Shemu’ĕl Aleph/1 Samuel 1:6-7Moreover, her rival also provoked her greatly, to make her irritable, because יהוה had shut up her womb. 7 And so he did, year by year. Whenever she went up to the House of יהוה, she was provoked, so that she wept and did not eat.

This provoking certainly caused much distress and sorrow for Ḥannah, yet what we can learn from her account is how here mourning was turned to joy and her tears of sorrow were turned in to rejoicing song before Elohim, who had caused the barren one to bear!

I have now mentioned 11 of the 12 occurrences where we see this root word עָקָר aqar – Strong’s H6135 being used and the next verse I want to highlight where we see this word being used, forms a part of a powerful Tehillah/Psalm:

Tehillah/Psalm 113:9 “Causing the barren woman to dwell in a house, a rejoicing mother of children. Praise Yah!

This Tehillah/Psalm 113 opens with a call for the servants of יהוה to praise and bless the Name of יהוה now and forevermore and repeats this call in various ways. It is followed by a description of יהוה’s incomparable greatness and His mercy toward the poor and needy as he causes the down trodden to be raised up to sit with sovereigns and He causes even the barren woman to have a home filled with children. The Tehillah then ends with the call that it began with – and that is to ‘PRAISE יהוה’!!!

This is a song of praise for יהוה’s goodness and His loving-commitment and this is a song that reminds us of His faithfulness and that His Word never fails, which should cause us to be able to sing, praise and bless His Name here and now, doing so forever – for He causes the barren to be fruitful!

As we consider the call given in Yeshayahu/Isiah 54 for the barren one to sing, we also take note that the children of the deserted one are more than the children of the married one! To Yisra’ĕl, who had now been ‘deserted’ or widowed (verse 4) or a divorcee, it is promised that she would have more children than what she had when she was married. “You have been divorced and barren… but you will be brought back and have many children” – this is exactly the message we see being pictured for us in the book of Hoshěa – in the scattering of the Northern Kingdom (10 Tribes – House of Yisra’ĕl) into the nations, with the assured promise that there will be an abundant harvest of children coming forth as He gathers His lost sheep of Yisra’ĕl!

Yeshayahu/Isaiah 49:21-23 “And you shall say in your heart, ‘Who has brought forth these for me, since I am bereaved and barren, an exile, and wandering to and fro? And who reared them? See, I was left alone – from where did these come?’ ” 22 Thus said the Master יהוה, “See, I lift My hand up to the gentiles, and set up My banner for the peoples; and they shall bring your sons in their arms, and your daughters carried on their shoulders; 23 “And sovereigns shall be your foster fathers, and their sovereignesses your nursing mothers. They bow down to you with their faces to the earth, and lick up the dust of your feet. And you shall know that I am יהוה– those who wait for Me shall not be ashamed.

 Scattered and barren, yet you shall be brought back and be fruitful!!! This is a very encouraging message of the sure hope and expectation we have in our soon returning King, who causes us to bear fruit that lasts, as we stay in Him and rejoice in Him and burst into singing for His great and awesome Name!

What we are able to learn from the usage of this word עָקָר aqar – Strong’s H6135 is that the women who were barren bore the fruit of the promise of Elohim; and this was because they kept their eyes on Elohim and His promise and not on the barrenness of their womb!

We must learn from these accounts and give urgency in responding correctly to the call for the barren one to sing!

The Hebrew word that is translated as ‘Sing’ in verse 1 of Yeshayahu/Isaiah 54 is the primitive root verb רָנַן ranan – Strong’s H7442 which means, ‘to overcome, cry out, shout for joy, give a ringing cry, sing aloud’. It is from this root verb that we get the noun that is translated as ‘singing’, which is רִנָּה rinnah – Strong’s H7440 which means, a ringing cry, joyful shout, joyful singing’.

The Hebrew word that is translated as ‘cry aloud’ comes from the primitive root verb צָהַל tsahal – Strong’s H6670 which means, to cry aloud, shout, make shiningand clearly expresses a very vocal and visible praise of Elohim as we are to shine the light of resounding praise for His Name! We see this verb being used for the first time, and translated as ‘rejoiced’, in:

Estěr/Esther 8:15And Mordeḵai went out from the presence of the sovereign wearing royal garments of blue and white, with a great crown of gold and a garment of fine linen and purple. And the city of Shushan rejoiced and was glad.

The reason for me highlighting this verse is to give an example of the kind of rejoicing that this word expresses, especially as we consider the great and loud cries of rejoicing praise that took place when this victory over a decree of death sentence had been won and the lot of death against the Yehuḏim had been nullified!

We need to be a people who are crying aloud the shining praise of our Master and redeemer, who has purchased us with the price of His own blood, in order that we may have abundant life in Him and equipped to bear much fruit of righteousness that lasts!

To bear the fruit that we were once not able to bear, due to sin, we are to continually be looking to Him, the Prince and Perfector of our belief.

Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 12:1-2We too, then, having so great a cloud of witnesses all around us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race set before us, 2 looking to the Princely Leader and Perfecter of our belief, יהושע, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the stake, having despised the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of Elohim.

As we consider this call for the ‘barren one’ to sing, break forth into singing and cry aloud we are able to understand how we are to do this by keeping our eyes fixed on our Master and Elohim, especially as we consider this word for ‘barren one’ - עֲקָרָהaqarah – in the ancient pictographic script, which looks as follows:

heyreshquphayin

 

Ayin - עֲ:

The original pictograph for this letter is ayin and represents the idea of ‘seeing and watching, looking’, as well as ‘knowledge’, as the eye is the ‘window of knowledge’.

 

Quph – קָ:

This is the letter ‘quph’, which is pictured as quph, and is a ‘horizon’ and depicts the elements of ‘time’, as it pictures the sun in its rising and setting. It therefore carries the meaning of ‘circle’ or ‘to go around’, representing for us both, appointed cycles or times as well as eternity. It therefore can also carry the understanding of ‘continual, continually’.

 

Resh - רֶ

The ancient script has this letter as resh and is pictured as ‘the head of a man’ and has the meaning of the head of a man as well as chief, top, begging or first. Top as in the top or head of a body and chief and is head of a tribe or people as well as the one who rules the people.

 

Hey – ה:

The ancient script has this letter pictured as hey, which is ‘a man standing with his arms raised out’. The Hebrew word “hey” means “behold” as when looking at a great sight. This word can also mean “breath” or “sigh” as when one sighs in amazement when looking at a great sight. It also carries for us the meaning of ‘surrender and praise’, as we lift up our hands and submit to יהוה, as we lift our hands in rejoicing praise, declaring His authority under which we humbly and joyfully submit!

 

As we consider this word for the ‘barren one’ who is commanded to sing and hold fast to the promise of there being an abundant harvest of fruitfulness we are able to recognise the following:

LOOKING CONTINUALLY TO THE HEAD WHO IS TO BE PRAISED!

Barrenness cannot be an excuse not to sing, praise and cry aloud by bursting into singing. In fact our eyes must be continually fixed on our Coming Husband and King, for then our ability to shine the bright and boasting light of His praise will be made possible and evident to all!

How is your praise unto יהושע Messiah? Are you, o barren one, hearing the call to sing? Are you bursting into singing and crying aloud His praise? If not then why are you not?

Hear the call of יהוה through the prophet Yeshayahu/Isaiah – and SING – burst forth into singing and cry aloud to your Husband and your Maker and your Redeemer. Perhaps you have faced some fierce battles of late! Then be reminded once again of this – Our Master’s loving-Commitment has not been removed from you but is firmly established forever! Fix your eyes continually on Him and burst into song, o barren one!!! To help you in this I encourage you to go and read Tehillah/Psalm 113 and meditate on the need to praise and bless the Name of יהוה now and forevermore as you hear:

A CALL FOR THE BARREN ONE TO SING!

יהוה bless you and guard you; יהוה make His face shine upon you and show favour to you; יהוה lift up His face to and give you shalom!