The Scriptures are filled with promises of joy for the redeemed of the Lord. However, when we go through the motions of our daily lives, we may sometimes wonder about this joy, especially if we are troubled on every side. But God always keeps His promises and in Isaiah 35 we have a most important reminder of these promises of joy set to the most beautiful symbolic language.
The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy.
The effect of God’s grace on the heart of a person can make a previously dry and barren spirit sing with joy, encouraging the fearful. Fear weakens us and God tenderly and continuously calms our fears with the greatest patience for we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses. Encouragement is one of the effects of the Gospel and we were given that Great Encourager: The Holy Spirit.
These words should change our focus back to heavenly things and away from earthly things when we become distracted by life’s troubles. We are encouraged since it is made clear that the exceeding glory of what awaits us will make these momentary troubles seem like nothing.
We are reminded that Jesus defeated the powers of darkness. He invites us to come to Him with our troubled and tired hearts and He will give us rest. This chapter essentially sums up the blessings that will follow the judgment of God. Remember too that Jesus took that judgement upon Himself on the Cross.
The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God.
God’s glorious power turns what is barren into fruitful places. Great joy will fill us once we grasp the goodness of God as revealed in His abundant provision. Carmel and
Sharon were two places known for their abundant fruitfulness and here they are depicted symbolically to paint a picture of how beautiful God’s restoration work will be.
Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way
We are also encouraged to reach out to our brothers and sisters. Nowhere do we find that the Scriptures are silent to our daily realities. In fact, when we read about the great names of faith, we read of their weaknesses as well as their strengths. God remembers that we are only dust and He will never leave us nor forsake us in our weakest moments. He has also given us each other to comfort and encourage us when we become weary in this race.
Strengthen is here translated from the Hebrew châzaq which means to help and repair and fortify, to encourage to valiantly withstand and to prevail. We are called to encourage the despondent ones and remind them of the sure blessings that we have been promised. We are called to reach out and cheer up those whose faith has weakened.
A person’s strength lies mostly in the arms and legs (or knees). If your knees give way under you, you can no longer stand up straight. Therefore, if the hands and knees are feeble, your entire body will be feeble. Fear paralyzes the strength of the arms and weakens the firmness in the knees. The expression ‘weak hands’ and ‘feeble knees’ paints a picture of a timid, fearful and despondent state of mind. Remind them of all the great promises which are “Yes!” in the Messiah.
Those who despair at the sight of their insurmountable troubles should be comforted with the hope of all the Lord’s blessings promised to His children in the Seed of Abraham, namely Jesus Christ. In Galatians 6 Paul calls us to the same duty –that we are to share one another’s burdens. We have our own moments of weakness and then others will encourage us in return. Let us encourage one another so that we may continually experience the joy of the Lord’s salvation.
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.”
How beautiful! The word translated as ‘fearful’ is the Hebrew word mâhar which means to be like liquid. It means not solid, unstable and insecure, to be hurried and anxious. This is the picture of an agitated heart –it is a timid heart that trembles in the face of trouble.
I love the literal translation of this portion from the Hebrew language. It reads: “God will come, vengeance! Even God, a recompense!” God will completely and finally deliver His people. The promise here is that no matter how overwhelming the threats of the enemy, God is still in control and He is the Protector of His people.
So, may they not be hasty to draw back, but be part of those who believe and are saved. Remain strong in your faith. Do not fear your enemy. Do not doubt that the Lord is able to perform what He had promised. He will save His people from death, hell and grave through Jesus Christ our Lord. He will also deliver us from our present troubles. Remember the words of joy associated with the birth of Jesus which included good tidings of great joy! Only may we pray and not give up.
I have only dealt with the first 4 verses of Isaiah 35 but I do encourage everyone to read it through entirely.
- Seven Promises for the Righteous (thoughtsonscripture.com)
- Controlling your Tongue instead of Your Tongue Controlling You (jesuscarriesme.com)
- Remember – Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled (123hallelujah.wordpress.com)