Monday, October 03, 2016

Ransomed...

This morning, my Bible fell open to Isaiah before I went to find Proverbs 3. I smiled over what was there... but Isaiah 35 had somehow caught my interest in that brief moment, so I went to read it. /// 

The whole chapter is beautiful and powerful. It includes these marvelous words: /// 
3 Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble.
4 Say to those with anxious heart,
"Take courage, fear not.
Behold, your God will come with a vengeance;
The recompense of God will come,
But He will save you."  ///
So often we need that, don't we? ///
5 Then the eyes of the blind will be opened
And the ears of the deaf will be unstopped.
Then the lame will leap like a deer,
And the tongue of the mute will shout for joy.  ///
I see spiritual meaning in this.  Those who could not see and understand the truth and wonders of God... those who could see only darkness... they will be able to see the goodness of God and the glorious wonders that He has for those who wait for Him. And those who hear only dicouragement and misery will hear His voice. And those who are so broken by circumstances that they cannot walk with God will be healed and set free to dance or leap for joy. And those whose tongue is muted by pessimism and discouragement and despair will no longer have their tongue tied, and they will praise the One who came to save them.

For waters will break forth in the wilderness
And streams in the Arabah
7 the scorched land will become a pool
And the thirsty ground springs of water;
"Arabah" refers to the desert, so this is talking about those whose lives have become dry and dead and scorched... or areas of our lives that have become a desert. He will make them rich and they will bloom and become fertile and fruitful!

8 A highway will be there, a roadway,
And it will be called the Highway of Holiness.
The unclean will not travel on it,
But it will be for him who walks that way,
And fools will not wander on it.
We know from the New Testament how Jesus "was made to us righteousness and holiness", so know that this is speaking of those who have given their lives to be transformed by His power... not those who "are perfect" (for such perfect people do not exist).  Here's the proof... and this is the part of this chapter that spoke to me specifically this morning:

9 No lion will be there,
Nor will any vicious beast go up on it;
These will not be found there.
But the redeemed will walk there,
10 And the ransomed of the Lord will return
And come with joyful shouting to Zion,
With everlasting joy upon their heads.
They will find gladness and joy,
And sorrow and signing will flee away.
That line that I bolded... all this grace and glory is for whom?

The redeemed... the ransomed

God pointed to that word, "ransomed."

What does it mean if someone is ransomed? Does it mean "walking in victory?" Does it mean "someone who understands everything in the Bible and obeys perfectly?" Nope.

This line refers to where our path begins, not the end result that many of us feel guilty for not achieving already.

It says that all of this is for those who travel the path, because walking in holiness in our day to day life is a journey of transformation.

The thing that jumped out at me was this:

It's not possible to be ransomed... 
unless you are being held hostage. 

And a hostage is generally powerless.

You see, all too often we think that the glory and joy and freedom that the Bible says Jesus came to give is for those who are good people. Those who are already holy. Those who "have arrived."

But NO! It is for those who are walking the "Highway of Holiness," and the entrance to it is found in a place where we were powerless captives.  We were blind and deaf and lame and mute and living a desert of an existence... and so we still would be if Someone Else had not ransomed us.

This glorious highway is only for those who were once held hostage. It's not for anyone who managed to get themselves free.

He has done it all. He has paid it all. All of it!

Go back and read the entire chapter again now.

Know that all of this is for those who are powerless to free themselves, but who, when Jesus paid the ransom and broke the chains, allowed Him to lead them from captivity out onto the beginning of that glorious highway.



Isaiah 35:

The wilderness and the dry land will be glad;
The Arabah (desert) will shout in exultation and blossom
Like the [a]autumn crocus.

It will blossom abundantly
And rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon will be given to it,
The majesty of [Mount] Carmel and [the plain] of Sharon.
They will see the glory of the Lord,
The majesty and splendor of our God.

Encourage the exhausted, and make staggering knees firm.

Say to those with an anxious and panic-stricken heart,

“Be strong, fear not!
Indeed, your God will come with vengeance;
The retribution of God will come,
But He will save you.”

Then the eyes of the blind will be opened
And the ears of the deaf will be unstopped.

Then the lame will leap like a deer,
And the tongue of the mute will shout for joy.
For waters will break forth in the wilderness
And streams in the desert.

And the burning sand will become a pool [of water]
And the thirsty ground springs of water;
In the haunt of jackals, [b]where they lay resting,
Grass becomes reeds and [c]rushes.

A highway will be there, and a roadway;
And it will be called the Holy Way.
The unclean will not travel on it,
But it will be for those who walk on the way [the redeemed];
And fools will not wander on it.

No lion will be there,
Nor will any predatory animal come up on it;
They will not be found there.
But the redeemed will walk there.
10 
And the ransomed of the Lord will return
And come to Zion with shouts of jubilation,
And everlasting joy will be upon their heads;
They will find joy and gladness,
And sorrow and sighing will flee away.

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