The Desert and the Parched Land Will Be Glad

35: 1-4

   DIG: What does the image of the crocus bursting into bloom convey to you? What does this show you about the ultimate purpose of the LORD’s judgment?

   REFLECT: What pressures are causing your hands and knees to tremble right now? How might this message bring strength and encouragement to you? When have you given up trying to reach God? How has He come to you? Does living by faith mean you have to be perfect? What does living by faith look like in your life?

    Suddenly the picture changes from the gloomy wasteland of Edom to a place of rejoicing filled with blooming flowers. One can only ask what has happened. Isaiah keeps us in suspense. He gives us a partial answer in 35:2 and then a fuller one in 35:4. The answer is ADONAI. He is the author of all joy. We human beings keep thinking that we can produce joy on our own. But we never can. Joy is always a by-product of the presence of God in His world. When we, through our lack of trust, hold Him at arm’s length, the end result is despair. It is only when we turn to Him, and recognize the uselessness of all other help, that we can perceive His coming for us and find joy in becoming complete with Him.124

    These words apply to specific areas of Isra'el. The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom like the lily (35:1a CJB). The desert refers to the ‘Aravah, which extends from the Dead Sea down to the Red Sea. The wilderness refers to the Negev Desert in southern Israel. Both the Jordan River Valley and the Negev are nothing but desolation today. They are dry and unproductive for the most part. But that will change.

    Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. Amazingly, the desert will become fertile. If you go back to 29:17, 32:15 and 33:9 you will notice that Sharon, Lebanon, and Carmel will fail to produce during the Great Tribulation. But in the millennial Kingdom that will be reversed and Lebanon, Sharon, and Carmel will all become extremely productive. But more importantly they will see the Shechinah glory, the Glory of ADONAI, in the Land. Consequently, the reason it becomes productive and restored is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ (63:1-6).

    They glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of ADONAI, the splendor of our God (35:1b-2). Thirty-seven times glory is mentioned in the book of Isaiah. The LORD wants to share His glory with His creation, but any attempt by His creatures to produce their own glory has always ended in disaster. This sums up what has been emphasized in Chapters 34 and 35. You can either follow God or follow the Gentile nations. That theme will continue to appear throughout the book. If we worship ADONAI for His glory, then He will give His glory to us. For we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He really is (First John 3:2b).

    The believing remnant during the Great Tribulation is encouraged to strengthen the hands that are feeble and steady the knees of those that give way (35:3). These are figures of helplessness. Throwing up your hands, shaking knees and a racing heart are similar figures. It is a vision to steady trembling hands, strengthen weak knees, and lift up fearful hearts. When confronted by the antichrist, who will use his power ruthlessly, what were they to do? They were to live by faith! The righteous will live by faith (Romans 1:17). Why? Because God will be coming in the person of the messianic King. And when He does, they will see His Shechinah glory with their own eyes.

    Say to those with fearful hands, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, He will come with vengeance; with divine retribution He will come to deliver you” (35:4). The basis for their encouragement is Your God! The Israelites of Isaiah’s day could recall the promise of God to Jacob: I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again (Genesis 64:4a). Or they could be encouraged by the words of Joseph when he said: God will surely come to your aid and take you up out of this Land that He promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (50:24). Likewise, as a nation they could look forward to the future with confidence. In the far eschatological future Messiah Yeshua will come with vengeance and retribution to deliver Israel. Because of progressive revelation, they would not know it at the time, but it would eventually be as the armies of the antichrist surround Bozrah. He came the first time as the Lamb of God (John 1:29), but He will come again as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5).

    The prophet Malachi tells us: See, I will send My messenger (40:3), who will prepare the way before Me. Then suddenly the LORD you are seeking will come to His Temple; the Messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come, says the LORD of heaven’s angelic armies (Malachi 3:1 CJB). In every generation it is the same. When the heart cries out, “Lord, You are too far away, I cannot reach You,” His answer is, “You do not have to reach to Me, I will come to you.”

 

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