Streams in the Desert
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….
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”…
Gladness and joy will overtake them
and sorrow and sighing will flee away.
(Isaiah 35:1, 3-4, 10; see also Isaiah 35:1-10)
How do you picture fear? Is it like a wilderness or desert? Is it knees knocking, hands and head drooping, and heart quivering? Is it being lost on some deserted highway? This is how Isaiah sees Israel’s fear on the eve of their exile. But he also sees hope for Israel with equally powerful images — images that speak comfort to those with fearful hearts. Let’s look and consider.
How do the images in the first verses here convey hope on the eve of disaster?
Why would telling someone who is afraid, “God will come to you,” dispel fear more deeply than telling them, “Your troubles will go away”?
What is meant in 35:10: “Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away?
When have you been aware of God’s presence bringing beauty and life and strength to a dry and discouraging situation?
Almighty God, as you brought the Lord Jesus back to life from the dead, bring life and joy and gladness to my dry and dusty soul.
Taken from Be Not Afraid by David Ivaska. ©2000 by David Ivaska. Used by permission of InterVarsity Press, P.O. Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL 60515-1426. ivpress.com
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