Isaiah, 4


Most of are familiar with these song lyrics:

I planned each charted course;
Each careful step along the byway;
And more much more than this,
I did it my way.

Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley got a lot of mileage out that song, and it moved many people who heard it. Trouble is, it’s all wrong! It’s not the anthem of self-made winner, but rather the epitaph of a loser. Nobody wins when they “do it their way.” In the Bible, we read this well-worn verse:

There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death. (Proverbs 14:12 NKJV)

Nobody wins without God. The deck, as they say, is stacked against the unbeliever who feels like he has to live life his own way, without regard to God’s way.

The prophetic book of Isaiah is full of teachings that center on God’s way and the losing proposition of trying live your own way. Let’s look at what it’s like living God’s way.

The way of holiness, Isaiah 35:1—10

Chapter 35 of Isaiah describes a time in the future—our future. It will be a time when man’s dominion of the Earth will be over and God’s will have just begun. The time of God’s terrible judgment will be over and the peaceful reign of His Son will be under way. We have no frame of reference for what life will be like during the Millennial reign of Jesus Christ because that kind of society has never existed before. There has never been a “utopia” anywhere on Earth, nor will there be until Christ returns.

The Millennium will be marked joy and rejoicing.

Even the wilderness and desert will rejoice in those days; the desert will blossom with flowers. (Isaiah 35:1 TLB)

The prophet has Jerusalem in view, but there is the sense that this rejoicing will take place all over the world and the glory of the Lord will bring about some major physical changes to the Earth. Plants will grow in abundance, for example. The idea is that the Earth, parts of which may be dangerous and hostile to man, will be made habitable and useful. In essence, the curse of Genesis will be lifted and reversed. No wonder men the world over will rejoice!

But not only will the Earth be restored; man’s relationship with his fellow man will be restored:

Encourage those who are afraid. Tell them, “Be strong, fear not, for your God is coming to destroy your enemies. He is coming to save you.” (Isaiah 35:4 TLB)

No more war or fear of war; God will take care of His people.

God’s way is not only the way of rejoicing and peace, but of miracles:

The lame man will leap up like a deer, and those who could not speak will shout and sing! Springs will burst forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert. (Isaiah 35:6 TLB)

God will heal both people and land during this dispensation. Miracles will be the norm, not the exception. It will be remarkable time for human beings! As wonderful as this may sound, verse 8 is the gem:

And a main road will go through that once-deserted land; it will be named “The Holy Highway.” No evil-hearted men may walk upon it. God will walk there with you; even the most stupid cannot miss the way. (TLB)

This is a stunning verse! From the Greek Old Testament, it reads something like this:

There shall be a clean way and it shall be called a holy way, and there shall by no means pass over there anything unclean, neither shall be there an unclean way. The dispersed ones shall proceed on it, and they shall in no wise be caused to err.

The name of God’s road or highway will be called “the way of holiness” because it will specifically for God’s people to travel on as they travel to God’s Holy City. The Hebrew word for “highway” or “main road” is maslul, suggesting a clearly marked public road.

Remember, we are reading about the future. This age isn’t here yet. In a sense, though, true believers are already walking on “the way holiness.” God has cleansed us from sin and is making us holy day by day as we submit to Him through obedience to the Holy Spirit within us. The “highway of holiness” we journey on is spiritual, marked by separation from the world and its ways.

The way to victory, Isaiah 43:15—21

God’s way is a holy way, both today and in the future—today spiritually; in the future practically. But God’s way is also the only way to victory. God is able to create His holy highway on land for His people to travel on, but He can also create way through the sea!

I am the Lord, who opened a way through the waters, making a path right through the sea. (verse 16 TLB)

God, through the prophet, is reminding his people of what He did in the past, because if He came through for them back then, what can prevent Him from doing it again? Indeed, God’s people have no reason to worry or fret! God working in history to accomplish His will is proof He can do it again. Nothing can stop God

But God not only worked in the past.

But forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I’m going to do! For I’m going to do a brand-new thing. See, I have already begun! Don’t you see it? I will make a road through the wilderness of the world for my people to go home, and create rivers for them in the desert! (verses 18, 19 TLB)

The same God who dried up the waters in history for His people, has the power to do the opposite! He can supply water where it is needed; He can make a way for His people where no way exists. He did it during the Exodus, and He will do it again.

Once again, we are reading about a day in the future. This prophecy will become reality—a physical reality one day. But for now, it is a spiritual reality for believers. God, today, does these things for His people. He provides times of refreshing, like waters in the desert. God is able to make a way for His people—He opens doors, provides solutions, shows us the right way to go. We as believers don’t have to wait for the Millennium to enjoy the blessings of the Lord!

The wild animals in the fields will thank me, the jackals and ostriches too, for giving them water in the wilderness, yes, springs in the desert, so that my people, my chosen ones, can be refreshed. I have made Israel for myself, and these my people will some day honor me before the world. (verses 20, 21 TLB)

This is the word of the Lord to Israel; to His people. If chapter 43 teaches us anything, it’s that God is in no way finished with the nation of Israel. A great many churches think that God has disposed of Israel and replaced it with the Church is His program of prophecy. This “replacement theology” does great damage to God’s honor and integrity. He has made some very specific promises to Israel that have nothing to do with the Church, and if we have learned anything about God, it’s that He always keeps His Word! That very fact should give us as Christians great hope. Though we are not Jews by birth, we are by the Spirit—we have been adopted into Abraham’s family.

The road to restoration, Isaiah 49:7—15 and 62:10—12

Yet they say, “My Lord deserted us; he has forgotten us.”

“Never! Can a mother forget her little child and not have love for her own son? Yet even if that should be, I will not forget you. See, I have tattooed your name upon my palm, and ever before me is a picture of Jerusalem’s walls in ruins. (verses 14—16 TLB)

God’s people were despondent, and it is to them these words of encouragement were addressed. At this time in their history, Jerusalem was ruined and God’s people had become objects of scorn and derision. And yet, at the same time, they remained God’s people! In spite of the circumstances, these deflated, discouraged, depressed, and dispersed people were still God’s chosen people; He had not thrown them over; He was not finished with them.

Once again, Isaiah is offering a hopeful word of what it will be like for Israel in the future. When the prophet wrote these words, the people of Jerusalem had been hauled off into captivity; they were taken from their homes and resettled throughout the Babylonian empire. The future not only looked bleak to the captives, it must have looked like they had no future! They, like all people, tended to only see their immediate circumstances. Many had forgotten the eternal promises of the Lord. They took their eyes of the long game. It never pays to be that short sighted! God isn’t! He never forgot His people—then or now.

God’s purpose for the Earth—indeed His purpose for the universe—centers around the nation of Israel. When the people of God finally return to their land, both heaven and Earth will rejoice. Then, things in our material universe, so out of kilter today, will be set aright. God ought to blessing this world through His people, but He can’t. Satan and his demons should be in Hell, but they aren’t. Man should be free to serve the Lord and enjoy His presence all day, any way and every way, but there are forces arrayed against man today making that very difficult. However, when Jesus Christ, the Messiah, returns in power and glory, He will restore the people of God to their land and He will arrange the material universe the way the Creator intended it to be.

This thought is carried on and captured vividly in these verses:

Go out! Go out! Prepare the roadway for my people to return! Build the roads, pull out the boulders, raise the flag of Israel. See, the Lord has sent his messengers to every land and said, “Tell my people, I, the Lord your God, am coming to save you and will bring you many gifts.” And they shall be called “The Holy People” and “The Lord’s Redeemed,” and Jerusalem shall be called “The Land of Desire” and “The City God Has Blessed.” (Isaiah 62:10—12 TLB)

This paragraph is all about the future. Today, if you watch the news, it seems as though the whole world is pointing their guns at Israel, a tiny speck of nation. Those unfamiliar with Biblical prophecy wonder why. Why does it seem like everybody is against Israel? The fact is, Jerusalem can never experience true and lasting peace because her Messiah isn’t there. At the moment, Jesus Christ is seated at the right hand of God, waiting for the day His Father tells Him it’s time to go back to rule Israel in righteousness. Heaven and Earth, all of creation, is waiting for that day.

Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will give us later. For all creation is waiting patiently and hopefully for that future day when God will resurrect his children. For on that day thorns and thistles, sin, death, and decay—the things that overcame the world against its will at God’s command—will all disappear, and the world around us will share in the glorious freedom from sin which God’s children enjoy. For we know that even the things of nature, like animals and plants, suffer in sickness and death as they await this great event. (Romans 8:18—22 TLB)

The restoration of Israel is the key part of God’s plan for His universe, and also the key ingredient in His great plan of salvation. And part of that great plan involves the salvation of national Israel. Today, Israel is not a redeemed nation, but when Christ returns and reveals His salvation to them, that nation will be transformed, just as the Earth will be. Then, and only then, will God’s people be called a “holy people.” The exact opposite is true today. What a marvelous day that will be.

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