This is a new beginning: the land will be glad and the wilderness will blossom and rejoice with joy. The feeble hands and knees which give way will be strengthened. The faint of heart will be strong and will not fear. Wow. God, that’s exactly what I need today…
1 Come near, you nations, and listen;
pay attention, you peoples!
Let the earth hear, and all that is in it,
the world, and all that comes out of it!
2 The Lord is angry with all nations;
his wrath is on all their armies.
8 For the Lord has a day of vengeance,
a year of retribution, to uphold Zion’s cause.
1 The desert and the parched land will be glad;
the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.
Like the crocus, 2 it will burst into bloom;
it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy.
3 Strengthen the feeble hands,
steady the knees that give way;
4 say to those with fearful hearts,
“Be strong, do not fear;
your God will come,
he will come with vengeance;
with divine retribution
he will come to save you.”
5 Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
6 Then will the lame leap like a deer,
and the mute tongue shout for joy.
Water will gush forth in the wilderness
and streams in the desert.
8 And a highway will be there;
it will be called the Way of Holiness;
it will be for those who walk on that Way…
9 only the redeemed will walk there,
10 and those the Lord has rescued will return.
They will enter Zion with singing;
everlasting joy will crown their heads.
Gladness and joy will overtake them,
and sorrow and sighing will flee away.
Isaiah 34:1-2, 8, 35:1-6, 8, 9-10
In this prophecy of Isaiah, God is angry with the nations around Israel, his precious people. The day of retribution is coming and nothing will stop the Lord from avenging his people. This would be an end to the oppressors of Israel, yet it will be a beginning for the people of God: the land will be glad and the wilderness will blossom and rejoice with joy.
We may have a hard time identifying with the back story and the upholding of ‘Zion’s cause,’ yet we can look at this picture as an example of the restoration God makes available to his people. We have been reading lately of how when we seek God in our distress, he will author a redemption and a restoration for us as his children who are seeking him.
The feeble hands and knees which give way will be strengthened. The faint of heart will be strong and will not fear… Wow. God, that’s exactly what I need. I have been waiting for this time of your protection and blessing. Where have you been, Lord? It has been so lonely here in my predicament.
And we see that in the restoration of God (vs. 35:8) we will walk down a highway of holiness. The path we walk will be in God’s Way, and only those he has restored and redeemed will walk there. This is safe passage. Our oppression and threat will have subsided in favour of God’s safe and secure road.
Singing. Crowns of everlasting joy. Gladness. Joy. We will be overtaken with these blessings in God’s plan and protection…
Are you there? Are you longing to be there? Has God provided this rescue in your life before? These are words of hope coming through Isaiah’s mouth. We can have hope that no matter where we are, we trust in the God who is able to make water gush forth in the desert wilderness to provide a deep drink in our time of thirst…