54:1-5 Observe the low state of religion in the world, for a long time before Christianity was brought in. But by preaching the gospel, multitudes were converted from idols to the living God. This is matter of great rejoicing to the church. The bounds of the church were extended. Though its state on earth is but mean and movable, like a tent or tabernacle, it is sometimes a growing state, and must be enlarged as the family increases. But the more numerous the church grows, the more she must fortify herself against errors and corruptions. Thy Maker is thy Husband. Christ is the Holy One of Israel, the Mediator of the covenant made with the Old Testament church. Long he had been called the God of Israel; but now he shall be called the God of the whole earth. And he will cleanse from sin, and cause every true believer to rejoice in this sacred union. We never can enough admire this mercy, or duly value this privilege.
Isa 54:1-17. The Fruit of Messiah's Sufferings, and of Israel's Final Penitence at Her Past Unbelief (Isa 53:6): Her Joyful Restoration and Enlargement by Jehovah, Whose Wrath Was Momentary, but His Kindness Everlasting.
Israel converted is compared to a wife (Isa 54:5; Isa 62:5) put away for unfaithfulness, but now forgiven and taken home again. The converted Gentiles are represented as a new progeny of the long-forsaken but now restored wife. The pre-eminence of the Hebrew Church as the mother Church of Christendom is the leading idea; the conversion of the Gentiles is mentioned only as part of her felicity [Horsley].
1. Sing—for joy (Zep 3:14).
barren—the Jewish Church once forsaken by God, and therefore during that time destitute of spiritual children (Isa 54:6).
didst not bear—during the Babylonian exile primarily. Secondarily, and chiefly, during Israel's present dispersion.
the children—the Gentiles adopted by special grace into the original Church (Isa 54:3; Isa 49:20, 21).
than … married wife—than were her spiritual children, when Israel was still a married wife (under the law, before the Babylonian exile), before God put her away [Maurer]. So Paul contrasts the universal Church of the New Testament with the Church of the Old Testament legal dispensation, quoting this very passage (Ga 4:27). But the full accomplishment of it is yet future.