The Messiah in Isaiah (Part 3) (Isaiah 35:1-10)
Isaiah’s Messiah (part 3): Streams in the Desert
The idea of Exile and our personal history. Gregg Strawbridge is the 6th great grandchild of Rev. Robert Allen Strawbridge (www.strawbridgeshrine.com), the first American Methodist preacher and conver ot a disciple of John Wesley.
Isaiah 35:1–10 - The wilderness and the desert will be glad, And the Arabah will rejoice and blossom; Like the crocus . . . The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, The majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They will see the glory of the LORD. . . Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble. 35:4 Say to those with anxious heart, “Take courage, fear not. . . For waters will break forth in the wilderness And streams in the Arabah. 35:7 The scorched land will become a pool And the thirsty ground springs of water; . . . Grass becomes reeds and rushes. 35:8 A highway will be there, a roadway, And it will be called the Highway of Holiness. . . But the redeemed will walk there, 35:10 And the ransomed of the LORD will return And come with joyful shouting to Zion . . . They will find gladness and joy, And sorrow and sighing will flee away.
Believe in the Promises of Restoration (35:1-2). This passage is addressed to the people in exile in Babylon who were caught, like us, in the tension between home here and longing for home in true Zion. The imagery is that, “The wilderness and the desert will be glad” because the desert will become like the everglades. Spring flowers and the cedars of Lebanon will line the way of a new Exodus highway to Zion. He promises us deliverance as well.
Take Courage in the Promises of Restoration (35:3-6). References like Lebanon and Arabah seem foreign, but the application is very relevant: if you believe God will restore His people, then “encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble. Say to those with anxious heart, ‘Take courage, fear not’” (vv3-4). The basis of our encouraging others, whether then or now is the same, God keeps His Word. He is faithful whether to an Exodus, a temporary rescue (in Daniel’s day), a simple answer to prayer or to the complete salvation in the work of Christ, culminating in Resurrection. Trusting God relieves those with “anxious hearts” (v4) and He is able to do beyond what we expect, “For waters will break forth in the wilderness and streams in the Arabah [wilderness]” (v6). He makes streams in our desert hearts as well.
Rejoice in the Promises of Restoration (35:7-10). A “scorched land will become a pool and the thirsty ground springs of water” extend the image of an oasis highway to bring His people back to Zion. In this new exodus “the redeemed will walk” and “the ransomed of the LORD will return and come with joyful shouting to Zion” (vv9-10). The ending promise is like that in Revelation, “sorrow and sighing will flee away” (v10). “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away” (Rev. 21:4). He will wipe away our tears as well.
Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more