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ISAIAH 66:12-13

GOD, OUR HEAVENLY FATHER ... AND MOTHER!

"For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream: then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees. As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem." Isaiah 66:12-13

 A Preacher in his Study

 

 

 

LESSON 1, INTRODUCTION:

Read with me the following short Paragraph of Scripture.

Isaiah the Prophet wrote it, under the direct inspiration of God the Holy Spirit.

I want you to see if you understand it on first reading.

I did not.

"For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream: then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees. As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem." Isaiah 66:12-13

Texts like this are said to be "obscure."

The Latin adjective "obscurus" means "dark, indistinct, not clear!" Actually the root word "scurus," in Latin again, means "covered."

Jesus later explained that such Portions of Scripture are meant to be that way! Written in such a manner purposely, by Almighty God!

They, among other things, make us "dig" to better understand their intent! They also are enigmatic, harder to understand, for another reason. To keep the lightly curious, the insincere, from spending much time in their midst!

See Matthew 13:10-11. Jesus explains this concept much better than I ever could.

Anyway, I want us to examine these priceless Words and see if the Lord will allow us to "understand" them!

I think He will, at least in part.

We of course will ask the Help of the Holy Spirit, the True Teacher of the Word anyhow!

Jesus promises His Help in John 14:26. "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."

Yes!

Furthermore, John 16:13 thunders: "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth." That's our Lord Jesus still talking, by the way.

Our text again.

"For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream: then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees. As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem." Isaiah 66:12-13

The "her" of our Verses is no doubt Israel, first and foremost. Well, the "her," third person plural, soon becomes "ye," first person plural. Then it's "you!"

The people of God are being promised some things!

And while most of us today, saved Gentiles I mean, are certainly not Israelites, we can still claim the "spirit" of these promises!

God is very often to us ... just what He was to Israel!

I believe He extends to us yet today "peace like a river!"

And "nourishment" is ours too, the "sucking" action depicted here.

But what about being "borne" upon God's sides?

And on whose knees are we being "dandled?"

And Who is this Person said to be our "Mother?"

Lots of questions!

Is God the Initiator of all these kind deeds?

Or do we look for another?

Well, tomorrow we shall see!

Meanwhile pray with me, specifically about this Text, the powerful words of Psalm 119:18. "Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law."

Yes, Lord!

Please do so!

Let's meditate herein today. "For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream: then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees. As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem." Isaiah 66:12-13

There are some "new" blessing being promised us here, I'm pretty sure!

Hitherto "unheard of!"

The Tenderness of our Heavenly Father!

Wow!

                                                                    --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

Let Him "love" you today!

 

 

LESSON 2, PEACE LIKE A RIVER:

God begins this great Text with a promise!

"For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream ...." Isaiah 66:12

The "her" has as its antecedent "Israel," the people of God! Well, more specifically, Jerusalem or Zion.

God wants to bless His own with "peace."

God is Peace, in fact!

So, He is merely sharing Himself!

When the Holy Spirit yet today gives us "peace," that is nothing more than the very Nature of God inhabiting our souls!

It's the "fruit" of God the Third Person!

By the way, that verb "extend" is "natah," meaning "to stretch out," at times also "to let down." God is "coating" His people with "peace," much like a lady spreads that delicious icing, think and heavy, all over a freshly baked fragrant cake!

In Hebrew the noun "peace" is generally "shalom." Perhaps it's the best known of all Hebrew words! It means "peace" in this sense: "welfare, happiness, prosperity, favor, safety, rest," a whole host of good things!

Wow!

That's the word used here, except it is doubled! For "peace" the Hebrew Text has "shalom shalom!"

Double Peace!

Peace, Peace!

Listen to Jesus in the New Testament, still giving Peace! "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." John 14:27

But peace, like a river? Back to our Isaiah Text. "For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream ...."

Isaiah likes this metaphor!

God says to Israel, back in Isaiah 48:18, "O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea."

Then "peace as a river" is God's word picture!

The noun "river" is "nahar." It means "to sparkle," from the sheen of a running body of water, in the light!

Pretty, as well as peaceful!

Most often quietly and gently flowing to its destination!

Bringing fruitfulness everywhere it runs!

Eventually food, too!

And commerce, provision!

Not to mention inspiration for those who walk by its banks, reading or meditating or composing!

Or those who live nearby, windows open at night, sleep productively while the muted sounds of the stream serenely play "music" to their ears!

"Peace like a river!"

Then Isaiah repeats his image, for emphasis no doubt.

"For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream ...." Isaiah 66:12 again.

"Gentiles" here means the "nations."

Yes, Israel, perhaps for the first time ever, will bask in the light and love and respect of all the nations of the world!

That's amazing!

Thus far Israel has generally been despised and hated by those nations.

It's "peace," all over again!

This time the word "stream" is "nachal," meaning at its root, "to distribute, to bequeath, to inherit!" Blessings, flowing from God above!

As if the windows of Heaven were opened!

As if the eternal River of Life had turned earthward!

Peace like a river!

Blessings and love and acceptance like a flowing rivulet!

God loves His people!

God loves Israel, and Jerusalem!

God loves us Gentiles too!

And, dear friend reading here today, this Friday in October, God loves you as well!

Yes, you!

And He has plenty left!

Plenty of what?

Peace!

Just for you!

Ask Him for some today!

He will not deny you.

Praise the Lord!

                                                                        --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 3, FEMININITY AND THE GODHEAD:

Today's Text says some unusual things!

To a Nation, anyway, to Israel!

"Then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees." Isaiah 66:12

These word pictures, all three of them, "hint" at the idea of a Mother caring for her children!

Yet the "context" of the whole Passage is one in which God the Father is central!

Here it is again, in its entirety. "For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream: then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees. As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem." Isaiah 66:12-13

See?

The LORD is the Actor here!

That's God our Heavenly Father!

But this Masculine God says "as one whom his mother comforteth," so will I comfort you, Israel!

Yes, God, comparing Himself to a loving, caring Mom, watching over her children!

Paul, a man among men, did the same thing, too, used the same kind of metaphor!

"But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children." 1st Thessalonians 2:7, where the noun "nurse" is  "feminine" in gender!

What's all this?

I believe God is teaching us something.

That he is the Source of all humankind, men and women!

We know Adam is created in God's Image.

And we also know Eve is created in Adam's image, out of his very side! So, at least indirectly, Eve is made in God's Likeness too!

Genesis 1:26-27, that single Passage, proves the point to my satisfaction. "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his Own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them."

Man, in God's Image!

Woman, also in God's Image!

So when God behaves like a Daddy, He is being consistent with his Own Character, strong and firm and protective!

Yet also when God behaves like a Mother, He sill is being true to Himself, loving and kind and nourishing!

God is both the perfect Father Figure and the Perfect Mother Figure, in other words, the Perfect Parent!

That's why today's Verse, in conjunction with God our Father, has illustrations of our being fed from the bottle, like a Mom does her sucking infant! And our being "bounced" on a loved one's knees, like a Mom does. And carried about from place to place, on Mother's sides!

Again, Isaiah 66:12, "Then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees."

Wow!

He loves us like a Dad!

He also loves us like a Mom!

More about this tomorrow, the Lord willing.

Until then, enjoy His Care!

His soft and comforting Love!

His great Compassion!

All those Motherly Things!

From God the Father!

What a God we serve!

Let Him "cuddle and dandle and nourish" you today!

Amen!

                                                                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 4, THREE VERBS:

Three verbs!

And God uses each to illustrate how tenderly He loves us!

"For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream: then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees." Isaiah 66:12

The verbs of note have been underlined.

By implication anyway, the LORD is the One doing the feeding, as to a "sucking" baby. He's doing the "carrying" and "dandling" too!

God, acting like a mother!

"Then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees." Isaiah 66:12

The verb "shall suck" translates "yanaq," meaning "to nurse," as a mother does her baby! It is rendered as "milch" once in the King James Bible, the ancient term for "milk." In Genesis 32:15, talking about mother camels and their babies.

In other words, God feeds us!

Like a mother!

Only like a mother, no one else on earth can do this kind of nourishing.

Get this. It's amazing! One of God's Names, El Shaddai, has linkage to His ability to "give us suck." The noun "shad" means the "breast." Two dozen times in the Old Testament it means just that. And even more strangely, "shad," giving nourishment like a mother, is grammatically expressed in the masculine gender!

This is a perfect Heavenly Father, but with traits of a Heavenly Mother being part of His Essence too!

Now, does Paul or any other New testament writer "pick up" on this word picture?

Yes!

Three times for Paul, young newborn Christians need the "milk" of God's Word! Fed from, as it were, the very breast of Heaven! And Peter uses the term once. "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby." 1st Peter 2:2

Milk, from God's Word!

Milk, definitely a feminine term, when used in a motif of "nourishment."

Also this fact should be considered.

Isaiah 66:12, our Text, carefully places "peace" and tranquility before the "feeding" ever begins! "For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream: then shall ye suck ...."

"Peace like a river," then "shall ye suck!"

Remember from the 23rd Psalm, before the sheep can "lie down in green pastures," they must be at peace! No enemies chasing them! No internal fighting as a flock! No pests or parasites eating on them either!

Only then, when at peace, can they eat the rich grasses of those fertile pastures and drink of those clear, cool, still waters!

God gives us peace!

God then gives us milk!

Quiet!

Then food!

Isaiah earlier reminds us, "In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength." That's God talking in Isaiah 30:15.

We shall get our strength, our food, our milk, after experiencing God's quietness!

Amen!

Now quickly to the second verb.

God the Father next "bears us on His sides."

The King James translators express this though "anthropomorphically." Putting the verb into feminine terms, "and be borne upon her sides."  But do notice the italicized "her," in your Bible. God the Father is the "her" of this Text!

The verb "be borne" is obviously passive in voice. We are not here walking! He is carrying us! Like a mother does! On her sides, everywhere she goes! Day after day! To the market, to the well, to the synagogue!

"Nasa" means that, a passive imperfect (action continuing indefinitely) verb that suggests "being lifted and transported" somewhere!

"Toted" like a little baby, by a caring and loving Mom!

That's how God treats us!

Oh, be sure there are other ways the Bible illustrates this "transportation" thing. "Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself." Here we are flying, Exodus 19:4, God being the Pilot!

But I like the "at Mom's side" picture, too!

Thank You, Lord!

Then lastly for today, the verb "dandled" is used. "And be dandled upon her knees." This is so tender! "Dandled" is "shaa," meaning "to stroke with the hand!" To soothe, to "pet," to fondle, "to delight in" a person!

Here's a Mom playing with and cuddling and cooing over her precious child! And it's a picture, an illustration, of how God does us!

He can "love" on me that way, any time he chooses! "Patting me with His Hand, rubbing me gently, drawing me close to His heart!"

The noun for "knees," interestingly, is "berek," a close relative of "barak," the key Old Testament word for "blessing."

God is blessing us, with His bent knees supporting and bouncing and loving us, as only a parent can!

Wow!

Please feel "special" today!

You are, dear Christian friend!

Nursed and carried and petted, by an Almighty Heaven Father, acting like a Heavenly Mother! 

Yes, I believe Adam was created in God's Image.

And I believe Eve was too!

After all, God is perfect in every way.

The protection of a Father!

The love of a Mother!

What a combination!

Are we who are saved are the recipients, the beneficiaries, of it all!

Alleluia!

                                                                    --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 5, AS A MOTHER:

Often the Scriptures do this.

It's called "parallelism."

One line in a verse states a fact. Then the next line restates the same truth, just in slightly different words.

This is a common tool of poetry, really.

And, after all, even the Prophets get "poetic" occasionally!

Here's Isaiah's first "line," talking about God. But this is God acting like a Mother! "Then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees." Yes, the "her" in this clause is None Other than Almighty God!

Now, here's his follow-up line. "As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem." Still with the Lord talking!

See the identical thought patterns?

From Isaiah 66:12-13, nonetheless!

Not from a Psalm or a Proverb or a Hymn!

"Motherhood" is prominent in both sentences!

Now, let's examine a little further today's Verse. "For thus saith the LORD: as one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem." Isaiah 66:13

The Hebrew noun "mother" is spelled "em," just "em!" Two letters! It likely means the one from whom you "part" at birth! The one who brought you into the world! In Ezekiel 21:21 "em" is translated "parting," as in "the parting of the way," King James Version.

But, get this!

Though "em" is used 220 times in the Old Testament, and translated "mother" 214 of those times, it is still a "masculine" noun in Hebrew! Masculine gender! For "mother!"

Well, here's the exact way the lexicons describe "em." Word for word: "Noun, common feminine singular construct 3rd person masculine singular."

What's that called?

Androgynous?

Something that has some "man" characteristics, and some "woman" characteristics as well!

That's what this noun does, really!

I am probably "upsetting" someone's theology this morning!

But in reality I am just giving a little grammar lesson, in Hebrew.

God is the Perfect Parent, having ideal Fatherly and Motherly Traits!

Humankind is created in His Image! Both male and female! Adam and Eve! If we believe the Bible literally!

God is clearly saying, back to Isaiah 66:13, "As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem."

Now to the verb "comforteth." It's "nacham," meaning "to ease" someone's burden! "To console" that person. Even "to feel sorry" for them, when they are hurting or in distress!

This is fundamentally a feminine trait, of course.

But God is the Expert at such compassion!

The verb "nacham" occurs three times in our short clause today, the first two times as a piel imperfect. This form shows great intensity of emotion! The long-lasting kind, too!

The third and final appearance is expressed in the passive voice, but still continuous in reference to its time frame. Let me show you, by underlining them. "As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem."

That's a lot of Mom-like comfort, folks!

And, let's face it, no one can love and comfort and bring peace and wholeness like a Mother can!

And that's God, describing Himself, this morning!

In Isaiah 66:12-13.

Wow!

Then, lastly, He says something particularly about "Jerusalem," the city. "And ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem."

By definition "Jerusalem" has the inherent idea of "peace" built right into it! It's the Hebrew noun "shalom."

The City of Peace!

The Place where God lives, in Old Testament terminology anyway.

That's where this great Heavenly Father/Mother does His best work, at Home!

At His Temple!

At the Mercy Seat!

Where the Blood was shed!

The Blood of the Lamb!

Transferred into New Testament language, that's at the foot of the Old Rugged Cross!

That's where this great Comfort is found!

This great Compassion!

This great Love!

This great Mercy!

And, folks, it's a promise!

From God!

"As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem." 

Yes, our God is the great "our Father" of the Lord's Prayer!

And He is great "as a Mother" of Isaiah 66:13 as well!

What a Lord we serve!

Let Him protect and defend you today, Father like!

And let Him comfort and caress you today too, Mother like!

He can do both!

Equally well!

Enjoy your Saviour today!

He is worthy!

                                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

CONCLUDING LESSON:

Yes, Isaiah 66:12-13 has been our Text for the past five days.

It reveals God our Father in a fresh way.

He is more tender and caring that we could have ever imagined!

Like a Mother, even!

"For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream: then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees. As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem."

See it?

God the Father nourishes His children, by giving them suck, by feeding them from the bottle! By the "breast," the old timers would not have hesitated to say.

God "carries" us on His sides too, like a Mother toting her baby! Everywhere she goes!

And God "pets" us, "caresses" us, "fondles" us, those all being definitions for "dandling," certainly a feminine thing to do!

God promises:  "As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you." No doubt about it!

Wow!

God, the perfect Parent!

The Role Model for all Fathers ... and Mothers!

But, now I must issue a warning.

While the Bible does say exactly these things, about the perfect Balance of God the Father, tender and feminine side being included, it goes no further!

Some today have "added" much to this concept of God as a Mother as well as a Father, perverting the Scriptures!

For example, new Bibles are now being written, changing all the times God is called our Heavenly Father! Making Him our Heavenly Mother, or at least our Heavenly Parent!

No!

Do not do that!

Others are now saying that God once, originally, was a Woman, not a Man! Do not "go" there, either! That's not what the Bible teaches!

And others, perverting God's feminine side, have taken the Old Testament concept of "Wisdom," Book of Proverbs style, and personalized her far beyond the scope of Scripture.

Calling her by her Greek name, "sophia," some feminists now worship the goddess Sophia, saying She is the true God!

No!

No!

No!

God is our Heavenly Father!

And He does have a Son, our Saviour!

The Bible clearly presents the Godhead in masculine terms, 99% of the time!

But, still there is occasionally a "hint" of God's softer side, God's "Motherly" side, but well within the parameters of the Word of God!

Say what the Bible says about it.

But no more!

God is not a Woman!

Jesus was not a Girl!

But that same God, that same Jesus, sure did treat the ladies fairly!

And God indeed created Sister Eve, so similar to Adam in many ways, Adam being made explicitly in the Image of God!

So, Eve is "like" God in ways, too!

"As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you." So said the dear Lord!

Those great words I will not change, either!

He loves us like a godly Daddy!

And like a godly Mother, too!

We are not orphans!

Nothing is "missing" in God's care for us!

Nothing whatsoever!

Praise the Lord!

                                                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

Oh! Just this too ...

Remember the time Jesus compared Himself to a "hen," gathering her "chicks" under her wings? "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!" Matthew 23:37 is definitely a "glimpse" of Jesus' feminine side too! Cuddle up "under His wings" today! Like little biddies "snuggling" in the warmth and safety and security of Mom's unique love!

What a place to be!

 

                                         In God, we have everything!

 

 

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