Title: God’s Highway Returns Us Home
Text: Isaiah 34:16-35:10
(There may times in your life when it seems life is not fair and everyone is against you. There may be times when even God seems far away from you, but God promises to never leave or forget his promises to you. These are the words He spoke through His prophet Isaiah long ago when the people of Israel felt abandoned by God. God may allow bad things to happen, but good news will come from it. Read what Isaiah said…)
Get and read God’s book: None of this is going away, this breeding, brooding evil. God has personally commanded it all. His Spirit set it in motion. God has assigned them their place, decreed their fate in detail.
This is permanent— generation after generation, the same old thing.
Wilderness and desert will sing joyously, the badlands will celebrate and flower— like the crocus (beautiful, colorful garden plant) in spring, bursting into blossom, a symphony of song and color; mountain glories of Lebanon— a gift; awesome Carmel, stunning Sharon—gifts: God’s resplendent glory, fully on display; God awesome, God majestic.
Energize the limp hands, strengthen the rubbery knees. Tell fearful souls, “Courage! Take heart! God is here, right here, on his way to put things right and redress all wrongs. He’s on his way! He’ll save you!”
Blind eyes will be opened, deaf ears unstopped, lame men and women will leap like deer, the voiceless break into song. Springs of water will burst out in the wilderness, streams flow in the desert. Hot sands (of the desert) will become a cool oasis, thirsty ground a splashing fountain. Even lowly jackals (wild dogs of the desert) will have water to drink, and barren grasslands flourish richly.
There will be a highway called the Holy Road. No one rude or rebellious is permitted on this road. It’s for God’s people exclusively—impossible to get lost on this road. Not even fools can get lost on it. No lions on this road, no dangerous wild animals— Nothing and no one dangerous or threatening. Only the redeemed will walk on it. The people God has ransomed will come back on this road. They’ll sing as they make their way home to Zion (God’s mountain), unfading halos of joy encircling their heads, welcomed home with gifts of joy and gladness as all sorrows and sighs scurry into the night.
Truth: God is always in control of all things. Even the bad things in our life happen because God allows them to happen, but He allows them to happen for our good. Just like your parents may punish you so that you may learn the difference between what is right and wrong, so does God use bad things to help us to trust His ways. And where can you know what His ways are? As Isaiah said in the beginning of this passage, “Go and get God’s Book, His Bible. It is His gift to all of us to guide and help us find that HOLY HIGHWAY that leads us safely to His special mountain.
Application: There are a lot of images in this passage to think about and share with your mom and dad as you read this, but it is one that shows you there is always hope when bad things happen. God is always there for you – no matter how bad it may feel to you. God has promised His love will never fail us. We must believe that God will always show us His good purpose for everything. It may be in His timing, not our timing, but if you will trust God, we will always come to realize God’s ways are the best for us.
Can you picture this special HIGHWAY! Only those who God loves and He allows will be on this HIGHWAY because they are not dangerous, rude or rebellious to others. This HIGHWAY is protected and guarded all along the way by God and His angels so no one can get lost, and the evil people are not allowed to enter.
Yes, difficult and even evil things may happen in our life time, but it is not because God does not love you…in fact, the opposite is true. God proved His love for you so much that long ago He gave us His own Son and though He shared the message of God’s love to everyone, evil and bad things happened to Him, but God allowed it to happen to show us there is always a way through the ugly and painful times in life. Jesus was His Son who was tortured and killed, but God’s love brought Him back to life so that we could see that even death cannot defeat God’s love for us.
If there is any message about life that I can offer my grandchildren and all who read this to their children, it is the message of hope, faith and love that God desires we cherish and cling onto no matter the circumstances we may face in this lifetime. Where can we begin this life journey of hope, faith and love? God’s Word is the beginning and ultimate source of finding our way onto God’s HOLY HIGHWAY! God will do the rest if only we will believe.