At different times in a Christian’s life, they will find themselves in a wilderness, starting to wander off and maybe even lose hope that things are ever going to change.
In the book of Isaiah, he tells the story of how God’s people forfeited His protection and blessings when they forgot about Him and went their own way. Yet in the midst of God’s discipline, His desire and ultimate plan to restore his people back to Him never diminished. However, if you place your hope and trust in our beloved Messiah, He will transform our wilderness into a lush garden overflowing with abundance.
Every time Jesus referred to the “Scriptures,” He was referring to the Old Testament. The book of Isaiah is a messianic book. These Scriptures we are going to study are prophecies referring to the Messiah. Isaiah, Chapter 35, is one of these messianic chapters.
When Isaiah writes Chapter 35, he is looking forward in time to the Messiah and the cross. So when we read Isaiah, it says, “He will,” so we realize, “He did.” What Isaiah says will happen, has happened.
A Way In The Wilderness
Isaiah 35:1 – The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose; (Verse 2) It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice, even with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the excellence of Carmel and Sharon. (This is about Israel.)
Because we Gentiles have been grafted in, what was a dry and barren wasteland, is now blossoming, abundantly with joy and singing, because the Messiah has come.
Lebanon is a country now, but it wasn’t when Isaiah wrote this. Lebanon was a very fruitful place in the northern part of Cannan, the Promise Land. If you’ve ever been to Israel, it is a “Garden” in the middle of a wilderness. In other words: God prepared a luscious garden in the middle of the wilderness for His people.
We may be living in a fallen world, but we are living in a garden if you are a believer! And there are ways that we can receive strength while in this garden because the Messiah brings strength. Labonon represents “fertile trees.”
Psalm 104:16 – The trees of the LORD are full of sap, the cedars of Lebanon which He planted, (God planted the land of Lebanon for His people. In the same way, He has already provided for us who believe, a rich and fertile garden for us to live in once we believe.
Carmel actually means “garden land.” It means plentiful and beautiful cultivated soil.
2 Chronicles 26:10 – Also he (Uzziah) built towers in the desert. He dug many wells, for he had much livestock, both in the lowlands and in the plains; he also had farmers and vinedressers in the mountains and in Carmel, for he loved the soil.
Then Isaiah spoke about Sharon and Sharon refers to the beauty of the Bride of Christ. Song of Solomon 2:1 – I am the rose of Sharon and the lily of the valleys.
Isaiah 35:3 – Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. (Verse 4) Say to those who are fearful-hearted, “Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God;’ He will come and save you.”
The hands could represent what we do; knees could represent where we walk, and our heart could represent how we think. God strengthens our hands in what we do for Him. He also will strengthen how and where we walk as He strengthens our heart.
Hands Refer To Worship
If we want to strengthen what we do, we need to become a worshiper of God.
Nehemiah 8:6 – And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. Then all the people answered, “Amen, Amen!” while lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground.
Do you remember the first time you were in a church and saw people lifting their hands in worship? I do and thought “Wow!” That’s awesome! Here are four excuses why people don’t lift their hands in church: (1) “I’ll lift my hands when I get to heaven.” But God says in Psalm 63:4 – Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. (2) “I lift my heart up.” Lamentations 3:41 – Let us lift our hearts and hands to God in heaven. (Excuse # 3) “The Bible doesn’t tell us to lift our hands in church.” Psalm 134:2 – Lift up your hands’ in the sanctuary, and bless the LORD. (4) “Well, those are Old Testament Scriptures.” 1 Timothy 2:8 – I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands.
And excuse is just an excuse to be stubborn and rebellious. I’ve stood beside people who just refused to lift their hands to God. It always made me wonder what else they were refusing to do. Look, if you can throw your hands up at a ball game, you can certainly raise your hands in praise to the One true God for all He’s done. If you want to strengthen your relationship with God, learn to worship Him!
1 Kings 8:54 – And so it was when Solomon had finished praying all this prayer and supplication to the Lord, that he arose from before the altar of the Lord, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread up to heaven.
Philippians 4:6 – Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God.
The more we think about things and dwell on something, the more worried and anxious we become. But the Bible tells us to pray about it and give it to the One that cares for us!
Proverbs 16:3 – Commit your works to the Lord, and your thoughts will be established. Prayers are “rolling off” the “burden!” But here’s what most of us do: We pray for the Lord to lift the burden, get up, walk away, and as soon as we talk to someone, we start telling them about how big this burden is. Sheep were never designed to carry burdens. We are designed to carry our burdens only to the feet of Jesus!
When a heart is not given over to God, fear comes in. In Deuteronomy 31:6, Moses told Joshua: Deuteronomy 31:7 – The Moses called Joshua and said to him in the sight of Israel, “Be strong and of good courage.” Moses was putting a Word in Joshua’s heart, don’t fear, you are going to win.
2 Timothy 2:1 – You, therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
So how do we literally become strong in Jesus? We get the “Word” in our heart! When we have a word from God, it doesn’t matter what comes against us. If we don’t have His word, then we become fearful.
Psalm 119:11 – Your word I have hidden in my heart.
The person who meditates on God’s word, everything they do will prosper. However, you have to be familiar with God’s Word in order to meditate on it.
To be strong, worship, pray, and read God’s word! and the Messiah will strengthen you!!