When God Chastens His Children

Isaiah 54:17 (ESV) … “no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their vindication from me, declares the Lord.”


That God’s promise is true is shown by the fact that He is omnipotent. Not only does He make the weapons of war employed against His people but He also makes those who create such weapons.


Inasmuch as God has created the one who makes the weapon as well as the one who uses it, no weapon can possibly succeed in attacking Zion. The Hebrew says: Every weapon formed against thee will not prosper, which we render in English, No weapon formed against thee will prosper. The phrase formed against thee occurs for the express purpose of showing that weapons would be formed to oppose and destroy Zion. To say that these weapons will not prosper simply means that they will not succeed in their design or purpose.


Furthermore, every tongue that will stand with Zion in respect to judgment, Zion will be able to condemn as false. The reference is to a formal accusation brought in a court rather than to irresponsible gossip. The tongue represents the accuser. The phrase with thee is probably best taken in the sense against thee. When the accusations are brought, Zion herself will be able to declare that they are false. In both these forms of opposition the Church of God will be victorious.


In the second half of the verse this refers to the preceding, indicating that security is the inheritance of the servants of the Lord, and that their righteousness comes to them from God. The servants of the Lord are not the entire nation but the true people of God, of whom the blessings mentioned can truly be predicated. In this context it would seem that righteousness is equivalent to salvation, for this righteousness is that condition wherein the people will be secure from the attacks of weapon and tongue. In contrast to the gathering of enemies, which is not from God (v. 15), this inheritance and righteousness are from Him.


The final saith the Lord is a strong affirmation, an Amen, to the truth of this assertion. The servants of the Lord receive the wondrous salvation herein depicted as the free gift of God’s grace, only because the Servant of the Lord suffered vicariously in their stead, and made an offering for sin so that He might see a seed. These servants of the Lord are that seed.[1]

Preacher and author, Warren Wiersbe, put the lesson of this verse this way. Whenever we rebel against God and refuse to listen to His warnings, He must chasten us; and He does it in love (Heb. 12:1–11). Our Father cannot permit His children to sin and get away with it.


But the purpose of His chastening is to bring us to repentance and enable us to produce “the peaceable fruit of righteousness” (v. 11). When God “spanks” His erring children, He may hurt them; but He never harms them. It is always for our good and His glory.

God kept His promise concerning the Flood (Gen. 9:11–17), and He will keep His promises to His people Israel. They can depend on His love, His covenant, and His mercy.

Not only will the captives be set free and the nation restored, but also the city of Jerusalem will be rebuilt (Isa. 54:11–17). If the language here seems extravagant, keep in mind that the prophet sees both an immediate fulfillment and an ultimate fulfillment (Rev. 21:18–21).


The remnant rebuilt the temple and the city under the leadership of Zerubbabel the governor, Joshua the high priest, Ezra the scribe, Nehemiah the wall-builder, and the Prophets Haggai and Zechariah. But the restored Jerusalem was nothing like what Isaiah describes here! For that beautiful city, we must wait till the return of the Lord and the establishing of His kingdom. Then every citizen of Jerusalem will know the Lord (Isa. 54:13), and the city will be free from terror and war (v. 14).


Our Lord quoted the first part of verse 13 in John 6:45. When you read the context, beginning at verse 34, you see that Jesus was speaking about people coming to the Father. “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me” (v. 37, NKJV) does not mean that the Father forces sinners to be saved. People come to Him because they are “taught of God,” and the Spirit draws them through the Word. Personal evangelism won’t be needed in the New Jerusalem, for all the citizens will know the Lord. [2]


[1] Young, E. (1972). The Book of Isaiah, Chapters 40–66 (Vol. 3, pp. 372–373). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. [2] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). Be Comforted (pp. 144–145). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

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