Advent 3 OT (Series A)
Isaiah 35: The judgment on the nations in Isaiah 34 gives way to a vision of God’s restoring work in Isaiah 35. The imagery covers many aspects of change. The changed landscape (“wilderness and desert blossom abundantly”). Encouragement to those who are ready to give up (“Strengthen the weak”). Reversing the effects of sin (“eyes of blind opened… the lame shall leap”). The result is that Yahweh brings the people back to Zion, and they sing with everlasting joy.
For those in Judah who were experiencing and would experience the pain of separation from God because of their sin, these prophecies held out hope in “impossible situations.” How do we view something like this? To many of us in the U.S., who live in relative physical luxury, these promises of God’s restorative work do not excite much hope or passion for the future or God’s work. Yet when we strip away our masks and see ourselves and our lives as they really are, then we see that the future we planned is but a pale shadow of what God desires for our future.
God’s restoring work involves the totality of creation because everything was ruined in Adam’s sin (relationships with God, within ourselves, with others, and with creation). In Jesus, we see the fulfillment “in principle” (Voelz) of all these prophecies (see the Gospel reading). Thus, these promises are real and valid when seen in fulfillment in Jesus Christ. We will join in the everlasting singing going to Zion, God’s dwelling place in heaven.