Forget It! (Part 2)
“Shout for joy, O barren one, you who have borne no child; Break forth into joyful shouting and cry aloud, you who have not travailed; For the sons of the desolate one will be more numerous Than the sons of the married woman,” says the Lord. 2 “Enlarge the place of your tent; Stretch out the curtains of your dwellings, spare not; Lengthen your cords, And strengthen your pegs. 3″For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left. And your descendants will possess nations, And they will resettle the desolate cities. 4 “Fear not, for you will not be put to shame; Neither feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced; But you will forget the shame of your youth, And the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more. Isaiah 54:1-4 NASB
Again, in our text, God contrasts Israel’s bondage in Egypt, their captivity in Babylon—a people that is barren and desolate—with a restored and redeemed Israel that will be fruitful and rejoicing. God’s promise to His people was “. . . for you will not be put to shame . . . feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced . . . you will forget the shame of your youth . . .” (Isa 54:4).
In order for this promise to be realized in your life, you must stop thinking about who hurt you, wronged you, sinned against you, and recognize that the desire for revenge is self-destructive and is always interpreted internally as a request for more pain in your life. Feel the pain, release it, put it behind you and get on with your life. God further promised that, “[He] will bring to it health and healing, and [He] will heal . . . and [He] will reveal to them (the humiliated and shamed) an abundance of peace and truth.” (Jer. 33:6).
The Gospel is clear that you should stop remembering what God has forgotten (Isa. 43:25). Choose not to remember your mistakes, rather learn from them and put them behind you and grow. For example, manure stinks until you understand that you can use it for fertilizer. Choose to use the mistakes of the past and the shame of your youth as learning and growing experiences rather than an occasions for humiliation and disgrace. The difference between manure and fertilizer is revelation. Revelation turns manure into fertilizer that God uses to bring a harvest and growth into your life. With this attitude, you will be healed of the humiliation and shame and put it behind you as if it never happened. We need only to look at the example of Joseph (Gen. 37 and 39).
Joseph was one of the twelve sons of Jacob. Jacob loved Joseph but his brothers hated him; Jacob couldn’t give Joseph enough, his brothers couldn’t take enough away from—in fact, his brothers conspired to kill him but instead sold him into the slavery of Egypt. While in Egypt, he was falsely imprisoned for taking a righteous stand. Notwithstanding, God gave him favor, delivered him from prison, and raised him up to become governor of Egypt. After taking a wife, “Joseph named the firstborn Manasseh, “For,” he said, “God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.” He named the second Ephraim, “For,” he said, “God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.” (Gen 41:51-52). “Manasseh” means forgetting. “Ephraim” means fruitful. Joseph was able to bounce back because he had a capacity to forget his painful past. If you are willing to forget the shame and pain of your past, like Joseph, you can prosper in the place of your humiliation, shame, and pain. Just forget it!