by Tony Nester

The Joy of the Redeemed
Tony Nester
Isaiah 35:1-10

Isaiah paints a marvelous picture of what God will make possible for the land of Palestine.
• In this picture Lebanon will shine with the glory of its natural beauty.
• The land will be a place of healing - the blind will see, the deaf will hear, the lame will leap for joy.
• There will be streams in the desert bringing an abundance of vegetation, flowers, and harvests.
• There will be a highway through the land that shall be called the Holy Way, and on it the redeemed of the Lord will walk and sing and sorrow and sighing will flee away.

Isaiah spoke these words to Israelites who had seen their land ravaged by the invading armies of Assyria and Babylon. Many Israelites had been taken captive and forced into exile from their homeland.

These words of prophecy were given to encourage the people to believe that one day God would provide a breakthrough for His people. He would bring them home. He would build a highway for their return. They would return with singing; they would live in peace and enjoy the beauty of the land.

We live in the gap between the peace and beauty of this prophecy and the hurts, difficulties and acts of violence of the present moment -
• a terrorist attack in Norway,
• a just-averted terrorist attack at Fort Hood in Texas,
• another famine in East Africa,
• Americans displaced by floods, and fires, and tornadoes.
• Increasing frustration across the world as nation after nation, including our own, struggles to find a way to maintain both political freedom and economic justice.
Some are trying to close this gap by gaining the power to destroy their enemy.
The Islamic people who want to wipe Israel off the face of the map will not succeed in driving Israel into the sea no matter how many missiles they fire into Israel. The Israelis who think they can secure their peace by military might will not succeed in ...

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