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God’s Word for You

Isaiah 35:1-7

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Thursday, April 17, 2008

Joy of the Redeemed

The book of judgments is drawing to a close. Chapters 36-39 will form an historical bridge, transitioning from the Assyrian Crisis during Isaiah’s lifetime to the more distant threat from Babylon, and looking ahead to the restoration of God’s kingdom in Christ.

Here is chapter 35, there are no more judgments. No more warnings. Now the prophet stands and sings:

35 The desert and the parched land will be glad;
     the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.
Like the crocus,
     2 it will burst into bloom;
     it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy.
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.

A few chapters ago, Lebanon, Carmel and Sharon had all withered up and were wasting away (Isaiah 33:9). Now the whole world “bursts into bloom.”

The splendor of our God is the life he gives. He gave all the world life in the creation and is responsible for making each one of us (“You hands made me and formed me,” Psalm 119:73). But he also gave us new life by taking the guilt of our sins on himself: “Just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:19).

3 Strengthen the feeble hands,
     steady the knees that give way;
4 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.”

God gives us strength through the message of his gospel. In the agony of knowing our sinfulness, we have no way out except through God alone, and God sends the news of his forgiveness to us again and again. He promises to be with us throughout our lives. He promises that he will give us whatever strength we need; whatever strength we lack. He will be there.

This is how he reassured Joshua when he was taking the place of Moses: “Be strong” (Deuteronomy 31:6; Joshua 1:6). The same words were used to encourage David’s army (2 Samuel 10:12); as well as young King Solomon (1 Kings 2:2 and 1 Chronicles 22:13).

Be strong. Do not be afraid. Our God is with us.

5 Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
     and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
6 Then 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.
7 The 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. (NIV)

The blessings that come from faith in Christ are matched by his miracles themselves. Does it seem like we are in a tough spot today? Jesus has already helped people in worse places. His miracles are testimonies to his divine power, and they also show God the Father’s approval on everything Jesus does. The helplessness of the human condition is helped by God himself. The incurable, inherited disease of sin is cured completely by the pierced hands of our Savior.

He gives us every blessing. He has given us peace.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim SmithAbout Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. His wife, Kathryn, attended the Chapel from 1987-1990 while studying Secondary Education (Theater and Math) at UW-Madison. Kathryn’s father, John Meyer, was also the first man to serve as a Vicar at Chapel.

To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.