The Word Made Fresh
1The wilderness and dry desert lands shall rejoice.
The desert will joyfully blossom like the crocus.
2It shall put forth abundant blossoms with joy and singing.
It shall receive the joy of Lebanon
and the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the LORD’s glory and majesty.
3Make the weak hands strong and the feeble knees firm.
4Tell those whose hearts are afraid,
“Be strong! Don’t be afraid!
Here is your God coming to save you
with vengeance and terrible reparations.”
5Then the blind eyes shall see again
and the deaf ears shall hear.
6The lame will be healed and will leap like a deer,
and the tongue of the speechless will joyfully sing.
Streams of water shall gush in the desert wilderness.
7The burning sand shall be covered with cool water
and springs of water shall arise in the dry, thirsty ground.
The haunts of jackals shall become resting places
and the grass shall become reeds and rushes.
8There will be a highway there, and it shall be called the Holy Way.
Sinners will not be allowed to walk on it, but only God’s people.
No one can become lost on it, not even the foolish.
9There will be no lions there nor any ravenous animals,
but the redeemed shall walk there freely.
10Those whom God has ransomed shall return
and come, singing, home to Zion.
Their heads will be crowned with everlasting joy.
Joy and gladness will be given them;
sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
1-2: As he has in previous sections Isaiah follows dire predictions with promised restoration.
3-4: The despondent refugees are assured of God’s imminent intervention.
5-10: A three-fold restoration is prophesied: 1) Eyes, ears, legs, and tongues will be healed. 2) The land itself will be healed. 3) The refugees will return to Zion on a Holy Highway prepared for them on which only God’s people can travel without fear of getting lost or being attacked by wild animals. The last line, “sorrow and sighing shall flee away,” surely influenced Revelation 21:3-4.
God’s people may often suffer terrible wrongs, but always are held in God’s hands, and their restoration is assured when God steps in to redirect human affairs. There is no trouble from which God’s people can’t be rescued. Patience is a great virtue to cultivate.