Sunday, 24 November 2013

Image of Salvation - Isaiah 35

Life can seem grey and routine. Of course there is ordinariness, but does it have to be endless monochrome? In Isaiah 35 we have a wonderful vision - the desert landscape suddenly bursts forth with life and colour, showing God's splendour.

Normal life is actually incredibly fragile. It takes just one event and things can be in a downward spiral, with seemingly no way out. Into this God drops a lifeline. It might be practical help, e.g. from a Foodbank or debt counselling, but it brings hope that surpasses the physical needs. It shows the prospect of life with God, arresting the disintegration happening around you.

For when God intervenes things change! From not able to see to having full sight, from deafness to hearing, the lame can leap, even the quietest can shout and rejoice with un-stoppable joy.

What was dry, barren, unable to sustain life now becomes a pool of living water, bubbling up God's goodness. Springing up, kind of out of nowhere, this water not only brings life for the individual but has a life-giving affect on those around too.

This is life on a new road, that Isaiah describes as a highway leading to God's eternal goodness. Not anyone can travel on this road, it is a special road for certain people who are pronounced 'clean'. In that way it is like a toll road, where only those who pay the toll can travel. Yet different, in that it is God who pays the toll through Jesus Christ. We might try to clean up our act, but try as we might we won't succeed. The fact is God invites us in, and makes us clean by what Jesus has done - that qualifies us to walk the road.

On this road we enjoy God's protection. The beasts and the lion cannot reach us. Yet so many of us, even those who have been Christians for a long time, seem to get distracted off the road. Hence the key question:

[UP] How easily are you distracted off God's road?

Whether it is to self-pity, looking down, or temptations to simply moan and complain, the simple fact is this is not the highway Isaiah describes. It is a different road that can lead to bitterness, a road on which the beasts and ravenous lion easily devour.

Choose afresh to walk on God's highway, walking in anticipation of God's all encompassing goodness, to where you can enter with singing and gladness. Isaiah has given a wonderful vision of salvation. Jesus makes that salvation possible: enter in and travel on that special road.

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