Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. For you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities (Isaiah 54:2,3).
This has to be one of the greatest promises in scripture. It's one the arrests me like few others. It was written for the exiled Jews who ended up slaves in Babylon after being thrust from the promised land because of their sin. They wondered if there was any hope left; if there was a future for Israel. They wondered if they had out-sinned Yahweh's promises.
The Lord used this promise and many others like it to assure them they would not be extinguished as a people. They would return to the promised land and Israel would have many children. There was hope and a future for Israel because of Yahweh's unfailing love.
Ultimately this promise was fulfilled through Jesus. It is promise of a redeemed, enduring people, not just from among ethnic Israel, but from among all the ethnic groups of all the ages. All who have faith in Jesus' death and resurrection have become true Israel and her descendants are a number no one can or ever will be able to count.
Here's the culmination of the promise: "After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb...they cried out, 'Salvation belongs to our God!' (Rev. 7:9,10a)."
What this means for you and mean is staggering: First, through faith in Jesus we can say with certainty: "I have a future and a hope!"
And second, we can join Jesus in his work to birth spiritual children from all the peoples on the planet. We live in a day of the exponential growth of God's family. And you and me are called to be a part of this.
Whether it's reaching out to your neighbor or co-worker, or giving to missions, or prayer for a people group that's never heard, or using your unique talents as a business-person or scientist or artist to display God's fame here and abroad, or teaching your kids or grand-kids to love and serve Christ, or planting a church among an unreached people; or going on a short term mission trip; you are called to be part of birthing spiritual children through Jesus Christ.
So prepare for growing pains. Enlarge the place of your tent; stretch your tent curtains wide. Lengthen your cords; strengthen your stakes. You will spread out to the left and to the right; you will have many spiritual descendants through Christ. Christ is building his church and the gates of hell cannot resist his unstoppable plan!