Isaiah 35:1-4: Say to those who are of a fearful and hasty heart, Be strong, fear not!
Amplified Bible, Classic Edition
35 The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the rose and the autumn crocus.
2 It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice even with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the excellency of [Mount] Carmel and [the plain] of Sharon. They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty and splendor and excellency of our God.
3 Strengthen the weak hands and make firm the feeble and tottering knees.
4 Say to those who are of a fearful and hasty heart, Be strong, fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance; with the recompense of God He will come and save you.
The wilderness and dry land shall be glad. This looks forward to the time of the coming of the Messiah. When Jesus shall return the desolate places and those devastated by God’s judgement and correction will be made fruitful and beautiful. Israel throughout its history lived in this cycle of continuous rebellion against Almighty God. God would bless them for a time, but they would eventually forsake the way of the Lord and embrace the false gods and their ways that surrounded them. As a result God would bring judgement and correction.
But here we see that the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the rose and autumn crocus. When the Messiah comes it will be a time of restoration and healing. The coming of Jesus Christ is our great hope as Christians and disciples of Jesus. We live in a world that is mired by sin, but there is coming a day when Jesus shall return and shall establish His kingdom. Until that day we are called to sow the seeds of the gospel and to build the kingdom of God in the lives and hearts of people.
Lebanon, Mount Carmel, and Sharon were all places that were marked by agricultural fertility. The Lord speaks of the desert and waste land producing the glory and excellency of these locations. This is the effect of the coming of the Messiah. When God Himself rules the earth from the throne of David, all of creation will be touched. The millennial reign of Christ is far more awesome than we realize. And someday there shall be a new heaven and a new earth. The more we come to know and understand the truth of God’s word the more we are changed by it. The more we understand the amazing hope we have in Christ. No matter what happens on the earth now we must have our eyes fixed upon our Lord and Savior. Those places that shall be devastated by the judgement of God shall in time experience the majesty, splendor and excellency of our God when He sets His feet upon the earth as the conquering king that He is.
The Lord says to strengthen the weak hands and make firm the feeble and tottering knees. This phrase was used by the writer of Hebrews in 12:12 to encourage Christians who were suffering persecution because of their relationship with Jesus. The Lord says to strengthen and make firm because of what He has said in verses one and two. The reason those who heard the words of Isaiah could strengthen their hands and make firm their knees is because of the hope that awaited them in the coming of the Messiah. For the Lord would rescue them. Their hope in Almighty God enabled them to stand in the power and strength of the Lord.
There were those who were fearful in Isaiah’s day when they saw the coming of the Assyrian empire and they also heard of the judgement of the Lord because of Israel’s rebellion and continued wickedness. But here the Lord says to tell the fearful and those filled with anxiety, be strong and fear not. God over 360 times in His word tells us to fear not. Fear is one of the greatest weapons of Satan to paralyzed the servant of God. Satan’s desire is to get us to abandon faith and to give up hope in the promises of God’s word. It is truly a spiritual war we are engaged in and the battlefield exist in our hearts and minds.
But the Lord tells those of Isaiah’s day and us today to be strong and fear not. He then gives us the reason: behold your God will come with vengeance; with the recompense of God He will come and save you. God has not abandoned us. During Isaiah’s day it seemed that darkness raged and increased. During our day it seems that darkness is ruling the day. There is nothing new under the sun. But the truth is that God is in control. There is a day coming when He shall return and fully pour out His justice upon the nations of the earth. But until that day our hope and trust must be built upon the solid rock and foundation of Jesus Christ. He is an unshakable foundation. His promises are true. We walk by faith and not by sight. No matter how many voices in our day proclaim that evil and wickedness is prevailing, we must know in our hearts that God has a plan and that He is in control. The question is do we trust Him.