Prepare to Listen. And the ransomed of the LORD shall return.
Prayerfully Read Isaiah 35:8-10
8A highway shall be there,
and it shall be called the Holy Way;
the unclean shall not travel on it,
but it shall be for God’s people;
no traveller, not even fools, shall go astray.
9No 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.
10And the ransomed of the LORD shall return,
and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
they shall obtain joy and gladness,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
“A highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Holy Way.” The imagery of highway is a common biblical image, reminding God’s people to focus on the journey rather than the destination, live in the now and travel well.
The problem, as the prophet recognized, is that journeys are often fraught with challenges and uncertainties that instill fear instead of trust. Potential difficulties include losing our way, facing attack from an enemy, encountering false ideologies of cunning preachers and politicians, meeting lions or ravenous beasts, symbols of oppressive rulers who prey on the vulnerable and marginalized. As a result, fear becomes the default reaction on the highway making us suspicious of others. But on God’s highway we walk with the redeemed, the ransomed, that is, with the people who belong, body and soul, to the Redeemer, our Messiah.
Fear and violence are unnecessary because the destination is secured and Messiah is present with us. We’re on God’s holy highway where “no traveller, not even fools, shall go astray.” We can trust that “the ransomed of the LORD shall return.” This is the gospel, the good news. There is no need to be anxious about the way or to work for our safety because it’s guaranteed. Joy and gladness replace fear and sorrow on God’s highway.
What surprised you in these verses?
Sometimes, Lord, I get lost in fear and anxiety and take matters into my own hands. Help me trust you that the highway is safe and secure all the way home. Amen.
Live obediently. Trust the secure highway God built.