Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Today - an Ending and a Beginning

Our minds play tricks with us -
we see something and isolate the parts we like,
and ignore the rest of the context.

When we apply this approach to scripture we easily lose meaning and purpose. 

Isaiah's picture of the desert transformed (Is. 35) is beautiful, 
But it is easy to ignore the preceding chapter which tells us when the desert will be transformed.
It is easy to forget that the transformation will be after the "day of the Lord's vengeance." (34.8)

It is easy to forget that "all her princes shall be nothing." (34.12)
     The rulers and  the leaders will be incapable of leadership.
It is easy to forget that the palaces and fortresses shall be forsaken. (34.13)
     The places of the government will be void of meaning, of resource.

It is easy to forget that all man built society is collapsed when God comes.
It is easy to refuse to look around ourselves and ask if at this present time 
this is not the state of the world in which we live?

How bad do things have to get before we realize the events around us 
are not  merely a speed bump on the highway of life?
     We hear that "All these things will soon be over and life will resume?" ...   
          God told you that? ...Really?
               Really ... when governments, churches and individuals are bent on
               leaving God behind, or trying to "contemporise" Him?
How much more has to collapse before we realize that we are incapable,
     and only God has the answers?
          How much longer until we come to the end of our striving to make it 
          all work?

In Chapter 35.1 Starts with the desert,
     the empty places where only the beasts are found -
          the earth as it was before man was ever created.

It is to this place God comes -
this place to which man's own governance has finally brought him.
     "The wilderness...the solitary place...and the desert,"
     three similar terms express the death and the emptiness.
          Gladness, rejoicing and blossom in the same verse -
          three expressions of response toward God.

Verse 2 is an amplification of verse 1 -abundant blossom ... joy and singing
... glory.
     Man has no more place, God Himself is taking over.
          Transformation is now the rule of the desert.
               "Old things are passed away;
                    ... all things are become new." (2Cor 5.17)

The rest of the chapter enlarges this theme -
the things that take place when God comes and controls.

And the chapter ends with a highway through the desert.
The desert gloriously transformed is the mere scenery, 
through which God has built a road,
to the city of God - the place where God Himself dwells with His own.

Here, with overflowing joy, His own return to restoration, -
"joy and happiness in their grasp now."
     They return to the place where the Presence of God is in the midst,
     and the joy is everlasting.



  1. Yes, the wonderful world that Isaiah is describing is yet future, and humans won't have anything to do with how or when these things will take place, and this is a lesson the Church is hopefully learning. In the meantime, we can live in and experience the Kingdom of God here on earth on a personal level and in our relationships among the Brethren as we are empowered by the Holy Spirit.