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Advent Devotional: Day 2

Gordon-Conwell Advent Devotional Day 2
Flowers in the Desert
Isaiah 35

Isaiah 35 affirms that the wilderness will bloom. The “flowers in the desert” symbolize the renewal of all things, the victory of life over death and the joy of salvation. This prophecy of salvation has the aim of encouraging all those who have lost hope.

The prophet affirms that God will perform wonders. The text describes how God will restore humanity. At the end of time, the blind will see, the deaf will hear, the lame will jump and the mute will sing (vv. 5-6). These “flowers in the desert” suggest that nothing is impossible for God. In the same way that the desert can flourish, humanity can be regenerated, in the name of the Lord.

Verses 6c-7 describe the desert as a fertile ground where torrents of water will flow. Even the driest parts will become pools of water. Even the caves of wild dogs will be fertile fields. These are images of peace, joy and hope. However, it must be clear that this promise of life and salvation goes hand in hand with a demand or condition. God demands that human beings live in holiness (v. 8). Holiness is integrity. Those who live in holiness act with integrity, having only one face, one voice and one word.

Their words and actions are congruent, and their behavior is consistent. For the righteous, God's judgment brings joy and hope. The righteous are not afraid of divine judgment. When you live in communion with God, you trust in the divine care. On the contrary, those who practice injustice live in fear, anxiety and despair. They fear divine judgment because they know that their actions are not proper. That is why they see the future with distrust and apprehension.

This is a beautiful and moving prophecy. We who believe in Christ Jesus our Lord look forward to the day when the dangers of the road will disappear. We wait for the day when those redeemed and liberated by God will return to “holy ground.”