Wednesday after the Twenty-Sixth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Isaiah 35:1-10 (NKJV)
1 The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose;
2 It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice, even with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, Tthe excellence of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the LORD, the excellency of our God.
3 Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees.
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.”
5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.
6 Then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb sing. For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert.
7 The parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water; In the habitation of jackals, where each lay, there shall be grass with reeds and rushes.
8 A highway shall be there, and a road, and it shall be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean shall not pass over it, but it shall be for others. Whoever walks the road, although a fool, shall not go astray.
9 No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast go up on it; It shall not be found there. But the redeemed shall walk there,
10 And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with singing, with everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
The “highway of holiness” is the way of salvation and the road of forgiveness, maintained in Christ’s Church. This highway is not for those who are strong, nor has anyone ever climbed up by their own strength to travel upon it. Each and every one has foolishly gone his own way and become sinful, unclean, and weak.
Thankfully the law has revealed our true condition. When it comes to our neighbor, we have weak hands, which do not reach out in works of love. When it comes to serving our God, we have feeble fear-filled knees which buckle under God’s righteous holiness. When it comes to wisely heeding the Word, we are fools seeking our own way.
Through our Lord Jesus, we have been bought back and graciously placed in the way. Isaiah says, “The redeemed shall walk there” (Is. 35:9). Jesus has come to save us by forgiving our sins. He places his believers in His Church to strengthen the weak hands and make firm the feeble knees. Though by nature a fool, through faith in Christ we “shall not go astray.” The highway of holiness is a sanctifying gift for the forgiven. The preaching of God’s Word of forgiveness says, “Be strong, do not fear!” The reception of the sacraments is refreshing pools and life-giving pools of water. In church, the ransomed obtain joy and gladness with singing which drives away sorrow and sighing.
We pray: O Holy Spirit, Who justifies all who believe in Jesus Christ, sanctify your believers in the highway of holiness. Strengthen them in faith toward you and give them strength to serve their neighbor. By means of the everlasting joy of free redemption, give them abundant rejoicing. Amen.