"No weapon that is fashioned against you shall prosper, and you shall confute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their vindication from me, says the Lord" (Isaiah 54:17 NRSV).
Chapter 54 of the Book of Isaiah was written during the final years of Babylonian exile; it is part of a section (Chapters 40-55) known as Second Isaiah, because the writer is different from the author of the earlier chapters, written before the exile began. The general purpose of Second Isaiah is to encourage the people to accept the freedom offered them by Cyrus the Great, whose Persian Empire had just conquered Babylon. The writer wants them to return to their homeland, and especially to rebuild the sacred city of Jerusalem.
The Jews had grown comfortable in exile, and many were reluctant to leave Babylon and undertake the arduous journey back to a country they could barely remember. Again and again the prophet urges them forward, reassuring them that the journey will be easy and the rewards abundant, because it is God calling them home. In Chapter 54 the Hebrew nation is depicted as a barren woman, abandoned by her husband. But that husband (God) has returned. "For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with great compassion I will gather you" (Isaiah 54:7). Out of this new affirmation of love and unity comes the promise of verse 17: "No weapon that is fashioned against you shall prosper, and you shall confute every tongue that rises against you in judgment."
We, too, are called to continue our spiritual journey—especially when we might be tempted to settle for what we already have. We are not here in human form to simply live out average lives. We are here to be the creative Power of God in expression, and to use that Power to create the kingdom of heaven. It seems a daunting task, but there is nothing to fear. Shadows and resistance will arise to challenge us, but they will have no power. Our spiritual purpose cannot be denied. "This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord."