The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad;
the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus;
it shall blossom abundantly
and rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the LORD,
the majesty of our God.
Strengthen the weak hands,
and make firm the feeble knees.
Say to those who have an anxious heart,
“Be strong; fear not!
Behold, your God
will come with vengeance,
with the recompense of God.
He will come and save you.”
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
then shall the lame man leap like a deer,
and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.
For waters break forth in the wilderness,
and streams in the desert;
the burning sand shall become a pool,
and the thirsty ground springs of water;
in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down,
the grass shall become reeds and rushes.
And a highway shall be there,
and it shall be called the Way of Holiness;
the unclean shall not pass over it.
It shall belong to those who walk on the way;
even if they are fools, they shall not go astray.
No lion shall be there,
nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it;
they shall not be found there,
but the redeemed shall walk there.
And the ransomed of the LORD shall return
and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
they shall obtain gladness and joy,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
Streaming Isaiah 35
I remember when the television show 24 premiered twenty years ago. Many who read this may have never seen the show, but it provided a unique approach to an action-drama series. Every episode was meant to reflect an exact hour of real time (e.g., its first episode was titled “12:00 a.m. – 1:00 a.m.”). There were 24 episodes that add up to one full day, yet it took almost seven months to make it through that day! This required commitment and hope that the time spent would be worth the watch.
In our streaming world, however, this may now be unimaginable. Many of us seem to enjoy the satisfaction of binging an entire season or at least controlling how fast or slow we will get to the ending. We only must endure what we want to endure.
I wonder if those who first heard Isaiah 35 wished they could fast forward. How long would they wait? When would they go from the desert and the wilderness to gladness and life? From weak and anxious to steady and strong?
During Advent, we are reminded that God is with us (Emmanuel)! Christ arrived, paid the price for our sins, and made all things new. Yet, we still strive against the darkness. Although our world, our institutions and we ourselves are not as broken as they could be… they are broken throughout. Yet there is cause for hope and joy in reading Isaiah 35. It makes clear that a land that is good, peaceful, and just will be prepared for us and that God is at work now (when we want to fast forward)… in our hearts, in our lives, and in our world. Peace, love, and goodness await those who will live in the land God has prepared for us. Be strong, do not fear; your God will come with vengeance (v.4).
Dr. Stacy Jackson is the Kenneth J. Weller ’48 Professor of Management at Hope College.
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.