Summary: We can take the entire text of Isaiah 35 and stretch it out like a template over any portion of history, whether it be the whole of human history or the tiniest portion of your very life, and see that God consistently brings people from desert to glory.
Spiritually Dry? Your God Will Come
Pastor Jim Luthy
A song by the late 70’s, early 80’s rock group Styx describes the place many people find themselves spiritually these days. Listen to the words and see if any of these words or phrases correlate with your spiritual experience:
Another year has passed me by, still I look at myself and cry What kind of man have I become?
All of the years I’ve spent in search of myself, and I’m still in the dark ‘cause I can’t seem to find the light alone
Sometimes I feel like a man in the wilderness. I’m a lonely soldier off to war.
Sent away to die—never quite knowing why. Sometimes it makes no sense at all.
Ten Thousand people look my way, but they can’t see the way that I feel. Nobody even cares to try.
I spend my life and sell my soul on the road, and I’m still in the dark ‘cause I can’t seem to find the light alone
Sometimes I feel like a man in the wilderness. I’m a lonely soldier lost at sea.
Drifting with the tide—never quite knowing why. Sometimes it makes no sense at all.
(I’m alive) Looking for love, I’m a man with emotion
(And my hearts on fire) I’m dying of thirst in the middle of the ocean.
Truth be told, we all have times when we feel like we are lost in the wilderness. We have a sense for spiritual things. We believe in God. But when we look, we cannot see God; when we listen, we cannot hear him; when we try to walk in his ways, we stumble like the lame; and when we try to declare his name, we can make no sound at all. Have you ever been there? Do you sometimes feel like a man in the wilderness? Are you there today?
Isaiah 35 speaks to the man in the wilderness. The words of this chapter provide a truck load of hope for the person who feels like they are in a spiritual wasteland. Are you lacking vigor? Does God seem distant and unresponsive to you? Have you tried going your own way for awhile and discovered that you can’t dig your way out of the pit? Listen carefully. Isaiah has good news for you. You will see the glory of the Lord. Are you spiritually dry? Your God will come.
The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God. – Isaiah 35:1-2.
Isaiah is summarizing revival for us. In these few words, he was assuring the divided nation of Israel that God would take them from desert to glory.
You’ve heard people say, "God works in mysterious ways," and he does. He is Spirit and he is sovereign and he is unfathomable in his holiness. We cannot fully understand him, and nothing limits the way that he works. Even though there is a bit of mystery about our God, though, he is not completely unpredictable. He is consistently faithful and he is consistently good and loving toward all that are his. We can take the entire text of Isaiah 35 and stretch it out like a template over any portion of history, whether it be the whole of human history or the tiniest portion of your very life, and see that God consistently brings people from desert to glory. It is his modus operandi. Even if his timing and his methods are unpredictable, his compassion and his love and his initiative are consistent throughout history. His compassion and his love and his initiative will be consistent in your life. By his faithfulness and consistency, I am assured that his compassion and his love and his action can be counted on in the future and for our eternity. To understand this template, let me point out four landmarks on the journey from desert to glory.
The starting point is the desert. Isaiah describes it here in verse 1 as a parched land. In order for any type of restoration or revival to occur, there has to be a thirst for it.
The second landmark in God’s work is presence. The promise proven in the whole of history and from time to time throughout history is that our God will come. In verses 3-4, Isaiah prepares the people:
Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, "Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you."