The Ransomed Shall Return
35 The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad;
the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus;
it shall blossom abundantly
and rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the LORD,
the majesty of our God.
Strengthen the weak hands,
and make firm the feeble knees.
Say to those who have an anxious heart,
“Be strong; fear not!
Behold, your God
will come with vengeance,
with the recompense of God.
He will come and save you.”
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
then shall the lame man leap like a deer,
and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.
For waters break forth in the wilderness,
and streams in the desert;
the burning sand shall become a pool,
and the thirsty ground springs of water;
in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down,
the grass shall become reeds and rushes.
And a highway shall be there,
and it shall be called the Way of Holiness;
the unclean shall not pass over it.
It shall belong to those who walk on the way;
even if they are fools, they shall not go astray.
No 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.
And the ransomed of the LORD shall return
and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
they shall obtain gladness and joy,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
Isaiah 35 Commentary
by Hank Workman
After the barrage of judgment over evil against nations and wayward people, God speaks in beautiful terms of restoring His own. Although this prophetically speaks toward the absolute joy found in the final return, there are such wonderful phrases and pictures for us to grasp and cling to.
You see, until that day comes, which we long for with deep anticipation, this is no time to be idle. This is no time to simply wait on that return but to be strengthened by the very power of the Spirit to accomplish what He desires.
It is so easy to be overwhelmed by the circumstances of our life. It is a default within us at times of a sitting back and checking out when things get hard. Hardship on whatever level we are experiencing brings many different aspects to our own response. That’s what I love about this promise but also a call from God to stay the course.
“Encourage the exhausted and strengthen the feeble. Say to those with anxious heart, ‘Take courage, fear not. Behold your God will come with vengeance. The recompense of God will come, but He will save you.”Isaiah 35:3-4
After all these chapters of God’s judgment laid out it would be a natural thing to consider the overwhelming aspect of what this means. But God speaks differently. In light of an awesome restoration God will bring when Jesus returns there is work to be done. We don’t have time to be weak or exhausted. We need to be strengthened by Him and His Spirit to continue this path. Get strong and get going! That’s what He’s saying.
Hebrews 12 quotes this verse in regards to even the discipline of the Lord we experience. Consider:
“It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. 11 All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. 12 Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.”Hebrews 12:7-13
Even in the personal discipline the Lord gives us, it is for purpose and refinement toward His glory. It is toward the betterment of who He calls us to be. But that doesn’t change His love or His purpose for us. This discipline needs to push us toward a deeper obedience but also strengthen us and move on.
What good parent allows their child to do what they please? It’s a destructive pattern that affects the child and their future. An involved parent knows discipline is hard work and hard on them as well. But it is toward purpose. Such correction, punishment and training pushes the child toward betterment and protection. Discipline is never easy but is truly a sign of deep love.
We all respond in different ways to discipline when it comes from God. We can accept it with resignation. Accept it with self-pity. Become angry and resentful or we can accept it gratefully, embracing what He is doing. It doesn’t mean it’s easy. It’s the hardest thing when God is bringing to light areas of our life that are in need of His attention and where He’s calling us to surrender.
But here’s where we must hope. God is working in these areas of our life to bring better things within and through us. If you’re struggling with such a place today because of the Lord’s discipline it is because He loves you deeply. He’s also calling you deeper. Take strength in Him. Let Jesus strengthen you and get going in where He’s calling.
Isaiah 35 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
The promise at the end of the chapter is beautiful.
There will be no lion there, and no vicious beast will go up on it; they will not be found there. But the redeemed will walk on it, 10 and the redeemed of the LORD will return and come to Zion with singing, crowned with unending joy. Joy and gladness will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee.Isaiah 35:9-10 HCSB
Can you imagine, for a moment, what it will be like to have unending joy and gladness overtake you? There will be no sorrow and no pain. There will be no tears. Knowing how we live right now, it’s almost impossible to believe. It takes faith.
This chapter was written for a specific time period but also has prophetic implications. We know that Isaiah is describing our restoration with the Lord for eternity. The beauty of this verse is that we can believe it with certainty. The work has already been done! Christ has died and risen and we are new creations.
As we partner with Him on this Earth, we must always keep this in mind. There is nothing that can separate us from His love. His purpose and plan cannot be trumped! Where do you need to be reminded of this encouragement? Where has life drained you of this hope and joy? Celebrate knowing that as a follower of Christ, your place at the table of the Lord awaits.