The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.
2 It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the Lord, and the excellency of our God.
3 Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees.
4 Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you.
5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.
6 Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.
7 And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes.
8 And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.
9 No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there:
10 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.
Isaiah 35 is a beautiful word picture of the New Earth. It is also a picture of the glorious future God intended old Jerusalem and Israel to present to the surrounding nations. The poetic prose takes us to a lovely land, lush, green, well-watered with sparkling streams, blooming with the delightful beauty of fragrant flowers. All of this loveliness would have replaced the dry barren desert with its wild animals, including lions which were an ever-present danger to travelers.
The vision God had for his people also included physical restoration for those who were physically and spiritually blind, the deaf, the dumb and the lame. Encouragement was to be given to those who were weak and fearful, to strengthen and inspire them to faithfulness and courage.
Regretfully, the rewards God had planned for Israel had to be postponed due to their refusal to follow Him. The wonderful future He planned for them, is now awaiting His people of ages past who sleep awaiting the resurrection and those of us alive today who choose faithfulness to Him above the temptations and pleasures of this world.
Riverside Seventh-day Adventist Church, Washougal, Washington USA