Sing, O barren, you that did not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, you that did not travail with child…
I. THE CHILDLESS MOURNER. The passage is the present heritage of the Gentile Church. Gentiledom was for a long time without a spiritual child. Now she may sing over a multitudinous family of true Christians. Addressed to the Jews as a prophecy — showing, in their sadness and depression, that though matters looked so dark for the cause of God now, yet there was a bright and blessed hope. Cheers them, not so much by showing grounds of present rejoicing, but by providing a telescope by which they might behold "the good time coming." We may here note —
1. One great use of prophecy. It can cheer when things immediately around cause depression.
(1) To a sad Church the minister should speak much of unfulfilled prophecy.
(2) The Christian, in the "present distress should do the same for himself (2 Peter 1:19).
2. The imagery. It rings poetic changes on the idea of childlessness. Expressive imagery to Jewish women, who so longed for children, in hope of Messiah.
(1) Such should be the Church's longing. Her prayer should be, "Give me children, or I die!" Bad sign when a Church seems content to be barren or to have no spiritual increase.
(2)When she remains without new births (or conversions), she should mourn. Contemplate the once barrenness of Christendom. Its comparative barrenness in vast tracts now, even in Christian England!
II. THE REJOICING MOTHER. Gentiledom for ages "unmarried" — "desolate." When Christ came, He "called her by name," and espoused her. Then how rapidly a family was brought forth. In Pentecostal times, what "multitudes were added to the Lord" (Acts 6:7; Acts 16:5). What joy this caused! (Acts 2:46, 47, etc.)
1. The great subject of the verse, the joy of the Church in multitudes of conversions. This joy of the Lord is her strength (Nehemiah 8:10). She is then encouraged to labour with fresh zeal and hope in works of evangelization. Therefore "new births should be, as it were, registered; the successes of the Gospel should be published to evoke this healthful joy. hence the reflex benefits of missionary gatherings.
2. Reasons for such joy. Not only because souls are saved, but because —
(1) Increase is a sign that God's power is with His Church.
(2) It confirms our own faith. The more they are who believe what we believe, the more confident we must feel in the truth of our faith.
(3) It makes heaven appear attractive by the "sympathy of numbers." We may use the text as a test . How far are we in sympathy with the Church in joy over conversions to God?
(R. Glover, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the LORD.
WEB: "Sing, barren, you who didn't bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, you who did not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife," says Yahweh.