Reading through the Bible together
In the previous chapter, we learned what will happen to the wicked and those who despise their spiritual birthright – their once apparently prosperous land shall be turned to waste and utter desolation. However, in Isaiah 35 we find the exact opposite.
Although once dead in sin and a parched wilderness without God, the righteous who have grasped a hold of their birthright and of their God, like Jacob saying: “I will not let you go except you bless me” (Gen. 32:26), are given an amazing promise. They are told that their desert will “rejoice and blossom as the rose” (vs. 1) and that “joy and singing” will be upon their lips as the “excellency of our God” is displayed for all to see.
While our wilderness had neither “glory” nor “excellency”—for there can be neither while we live in sin—now we, that are dead to sin, shall be given both. However, the “glory” and “excellency” we experience is ascribed to the LORD, not to us, the transformed wilderness. Matthew 5:16 says, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Emphasis added.) It is important that we always remember Who gets the glory! It’s not about us, but about Him!
A similar promise can be found in Isaiah 51:3, “For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.” (This is one of my favorite promises, for obvious reasons!)
In Isaiah 35, the promises continue. For those that are weak, for those that are fearful, we are encouraged: “be strong, fear not.” The eyes of the blind will be opened, and the deaf shall hear. The lame shall leap as a deer, and the dumb shall sing. Where there was once desert, there will soon be living streams.
Many don’t recognize the value God has placed upon them. Nor do they recognize what He longs to do with the desert of their lives.
The Desire of Ages tells us, “The Lord is disappointed when His people place a low estimate upon themselves. He desires His chosen heritage to value themselves according to the price He has placed upon them. God wanted them, else He would not have sent His Son on such an expensive errand to redeem them. He has a use for them, and He is well pleased when they make the very highest demands upon Him, that they may glorify His name. They may expect large things if they have faith in His promises.” p. 668 (Emphasis added.)
Let us surrender the wasteland and wilderness in our lives to God today, recognizing that He who has redeemed us has a beautiful plan for our lives. In His Kingdom, nothing is wasted. One day, He will trade beauty for ashes and the oil of joy for mourning (Isa. 61:3), for we are promised: “And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away” (vs. 10). What a day that will be!
Melodious Echo Mason
ARME Bible Camp Ministries