The northern kingdom of Israel fell to Assyria during Isaiah’s lifetime. In Isaiah 35, the prophet wrote about the restoration of God’s people to the Promised Land, but he must have also been speaking of far greater promises—more than what they could have even imagined at that time. Isaiah was a herald of a New Covenant era and ultimately of the glorious arrival of the Kingdom of heaven.
We still wait, in a way, for the greatest fulfillment of these words so many hundreds of years after they were first uttered. We who have this long-standing hope are in the line of those who have trusted in God from the beginning of time. Even though we today have a firmer expectation of the future because of the appearing of the promised Messiah, yet we too need to “strengthen” our “weak hands” in the ancient promises of God.
Much more than the Old Testament faithful remnant, we should know for certain that Jesus will come again and rescue us. He has already saved us through His death and resurrection. He displayed His holy power in the first century when He opened the eyes of the blind. He unstopped deaf ears, and made the lame man leap for joy. Those who were far from Judaism, who once had no heart for the worship of Israel’s God, were made to sing a new song to Jehovah.
How could Gentiles worship God through the mediation of a Jewish Messiah? The waters of the Holy Spirit broke forth in the spiritual wilderness of lands far from Canaan.
We who live in places that were once so far away from God’s people have been given the great honor of sharing in the hope of Israel. We have been put on the highway that leads to heaven. We have been freed from the bondage of sin and death. We are the ransomed of the Lord through the blood of Christ. No chains of man, or discipline of our loving Father in heaven, can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Though we may often receive news that is less triumphant than what we might desire, and though we have frequent opportunities to comfort others in their very real disappointments, even now we know something of heaven’s gladness. In Christ we are not far from the kingdom of God. All our best hopes and dreams are surely reserved for us above. We have sent our best treasures ahead of us. Our sorrows and sighing are mixed with the wonder of a love that excels all earthly joys.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Father God, we had wandered so far from You, but You have strengthened us and You have saved us by Your strong hand. We have been given new life, and streams have suddenly appeared in the desert. There is a road for us that leads to Zion, for we are Your ransomed people. Cause sorrow and sighing to flee far from us, for we are Your beloved children, and You will never forsake us.