For this Advent season we offer you a Bible reading for each day which points to the first coming of the Lord Jesus at Christmas and his return in glory!
Isaiah 35:1 - 10
1The desert and the parched land will be glad;
the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.
Like the crocus, 2it will burst into bloom;
it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy.
The glory of Lebanon will be given to it,
the splendour of Carmel and Sharon;
they will see the glory of the LORD,
the splendour of our God.
3Strengthen the feeble hands,
steady the knees that give way;
4say 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.”
5Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
6Then 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.
7The burning sand will become a pool,
the thirsty ground bubbling springs.
In the haunts where jackals once lay,
grass and reeds and papyrus will grow.
8And a highway will be there;
it will be called the Way of Holiness;
it will be for those who walk on that Way.
The unclean will not journey on it;
wicked fools will not go about on it.
9No lion will be there,
nor any ravenous beast;
they will not be found there.
But 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.
A few comments
What will it be like when the Messiah, God’s king, comes? The picture is of a desert: parched and arid, devoid of life. But the glory of the Lord – the coming of God – is like life-giving rain that causes the desert to flourish with life. This is a promise to those who feel feeble and weak, to those who are struggling to keep going trusting God in this desert-like world (3-4).
God will come and when he does he will give sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf, and enable the paralysed to dance with joy. Surely this is a metaphor – a poetic way of saying God will revive his people? Yes.
And no. When Jesus walked on earth these things happened. Literally. And when he returns they will happen fully and finally. God’s eternal paradise world will not be a desert, and there will be no disability or suffering there. How wonderful therefore to read in verses 8-10 of the great highway that God has built. Finally there is a way back to God, a way to paradise and life.
Point for Prayer
Pray through the images of this passage and allow them to stir your longings for the restoration and wholeness we will know in God’s eternal kingdom.