““Shout for joy, O barren one who has not given birth! Give a joyful shout and cry out, you who have not been in labor! For the children of the desolate one are more numerous than the children of the married woman,” says the LORD. Make your tent larger, stretch your tent curtains farther out! Spare no effort, lengthen your ropes, and pound your stakes deep. For you will spread out to the right and to the left; your children will conquer nations and will resettle desolate cities. Don’t be afraid, for you will not be put to shame! Don’t be intimidated, for you will not be humiliated! You will forget about the shame you experienced in your youth; you will no longer remember the disgrace of your abandonment. For your husband is the one who made you – the LORD who commands armies is his name. He is your protector, the Holy One of Israel. He is called “God of the entire earth.”” Isaiah 54:1-5 NET
Isaiah is encouraging the people with truth and then compelling them to act all at the same time.
Expand your understanding of who God is calling. Make your tent bigger. This is like when your kids are coming home from college for their spring break and ask “Do you mind if I bring some friends?” You clean out the guest room, put away the papers all over the dining room table, and put a new bar of soap in the guest bathroom.
Israel knew they were God’s chosen people. They knew there were some Gentiles (that word doesn’t just mean non-Jewish. It means lost and doomed!) that God would save, but they didn’t realize how many. Expand you tent means prepare for the unexpected masses to come to the Lord.
It’s the same message as the barren woman image. Don’t think that just because you haven’t birthed children that you can’t have a house full. Invite. Welcome. Serve until your house is full.
There are empty parts of our lives and houses and Sunday School classes waiting to be filled by all kinds of people we wouldn’t expect.
One day I was having donuts with church leaders from a few different churches and noticed a guy at the next table sitting alone with the Bible. Somebody invited him to sit with us since we all had Bibles sitting out too. We found out he was a church planter who at that very moment was sitting and thinking about how lonely it is to be a church planter!
Expand your tent!
You will not be ashamed in the end. Even if 50 people turn down your invitation, the one that accepts it will make it worthwhile.
You’ll forget how immature and foolish you felt about inviting people to church when you’re all singing together.
You’ll wonder what you ever did with your time once it’s shared with unexpected people in need.
And the best part is when they don’t all look just like you. The God of the whole earth, He is called. They might seem louder. They might have accents. They might be from all different countries in the world.
Gods tent and His name are big enough for all who call on it.