Blessed are the Barren | Galatians 4:27
Another God portrait from so long ago but still there hanging on Isaiah’s wall:
Shout for joy, barren woman who’s never birthed a thing.
That’s right, scream and cry out, woman who’s been a stranger to the maternity ward all her life.
Scandal! The childless, lonely woman crying herself to sleep every night has more kids
than the fertile woman in bed with her man night after night.
Galatians 4:27 | MAV
The prophetic portrait from Isaiah (see Isaiah 54:1) is one originally of the Jewish exiles returning from Babylonian captivity. All of their dreams of nation, temple, king, and promise were literally dashed to the ground. All seemed over and done with. A dispossessed, barren, people who ultimately had birthed nothing. The great empires and nations around them seemed strong, vivacious and fertile, in the prime of their youth, with imposing cities filled with “children.” By comparison they were the barren, infertile, divorced, woman with nothing to show for her life, living in total shame. And then the great reversal of grace. An exiled people and shamed city outshines them all. The barren woman ends up with a sea of humanity for children flowing into a city that now stands head and shoulders above them all. Paul now applies this to the Galatians. They have been shamed by the false teachers as spiritually barren nobodies – false teachers putting themselves in the role of the spiritually full and fertile trying to help out the pathetic spiritually barren gentiles. Paul turns the tables with the Isaiah portrait, very much in line with the beatitude of Christ: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” It is from the spiritually barren and distraught that fertile, spiritual life springs in glorious abundance. “To the one who has not, more will be given; to the one who has, even what he thinks he has will be taken away from him.” Jesus had announced this truth from the beginning. Paul is simply holding the mirror of that reality up before the Galatians. Perhaps we could stand to take a long, reflective look into that mirror ourselves.
Where have you experienced barrenness in your life that has suddenly seen this great reversal of blessing? Where are you currently feeling such barrenness? How will you entrust this into His hands?
Father, I marvel at your scandalous grace that so meets us in our brokenness, our complete barrenness, and transforms the dry desert into a fertile field. Do that in the barren places in my life today. And use me to bring it to others. Through Jesus.
The whole text this week is Galatians 4:21-31. Read it daily in it’s entirety from a few different translations if possible. You can get the full background of Abraham’s story in Genesis chapters 16-21.
For all of this week’s resources on Galatians including this week’s DG video on Galatians, check out the Vineyard website.