Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart: http://sothrichfield.podbean.com
Isaiah 35:8-10 (NIV)
8 And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness; it will be for those who walk on that Way. The unclean will not journey on it; wicked fools will not go about on it. 9 No lion will be there, nor any ravenous beast; they will not be found there. But only the redeemed will walk there, 10 and those the Lord has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.
This passage follows immediately from the one we looked at yesterday that talked about an amazing and unbelievable promise that God is going to radically change the world and bring an end to suffering. And the main reason that the promises of God are so unbelievable is because they are not up to us. God’s promises are completely dependent on His love for us and His ability to do what He says He is going to do. God’s promises are not dependent on us and how successful, or hardworking, or religious, or talented, or good we are. In other words, we do not have to go up to God. He has come down to us. In this passage Isaiah does speak of the “Way of Holiness”, but this is not a “way” to get to God. Instead, he is speaking about a “way” of living. Proverbs 4:11 says, “I instruct you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths”. The metaphor of walking in the way of wisdom is about how we live our lives. In the book of Acts the followers of Jesus were called followers of “the Way” (Acts 22:4). What the first followers of Jesus understood was that following “the Way” meant living by faith in the Christ. In Jesus, God had come down to fulfill His promises and begin to set things right again. “The Way of Holiness” is faith in Jesus. The way of holy faith in Jesus is about believing that sacrifice is better than seeking power, that helping the poor is worth our time, that caring for the weak and powerless is absolutely necessary, and that all humanity is valued. Faith in the cross of Christ is the “way” to seeing the world in a totally different way. When we place our faith in Jesus, that is the “Way of Holiness” that we are following and how we are seeking to live out our lives. Let us pray: Heavenly Father, give us faith that understands how deeply you love us and how committed to us you are. As we live each day by faith, following the way of Jesus, help us to give true, committed, costly love to all those we meet. In Jesus’ name. Amen.