Daily D – Isaiah 35:1-2
Isaiah 35:1, 2 The wilderness and the dry land will be glad; the desert will rejoice and blossom like a wildflower. It will blossom abundantly and will also rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon. They will see the glory of the LORD, the splendor of our God. (CSB)
and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.
(King James Version)
1 Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming
From tender stem hath sprung!
Of Jesse’s lineage coming
As men of old have sung.
It came, a flower bright,
Amid the cold of winter
When half-gone was the night.
2 Isaiah ’twas foretold it,
The Rose I have in mind:
With Mary we behold it,
The virgin mother kind.
To show God’s love aright
She bore to men a Savior
When half-gone was the night.
3 This Flower, whose fragrance tender
With sweetness fills the air,
Dispels with glorious splendor
The darkness everywhere.
True man, yet very God,
From sin and death He saves us
And lightens every load
Baptist Hymnal 2008
This German hymn of Christmas translated into English by Theodore Baker captures the longing for justice and redemption of those long in exile. They looked forward to life arising from death.
There was a school shooting in Michigan a few days ago. Yesterday, I was in the offices of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. One of the pastors who is part of the process we are facilitating there serves a church in the community where the shooting occurred. He did not join us yesterday choosing instead to open the church for prayer and counsel.
Every heart knows its own sorrow. The seasons of Thanksgiving and Christmas often deepen those sorrows. The sense of loss, the feeling of abandonment feels all the heavier. Let us become vigilant in noticing such darkness.
As every heart knows its own sorrow, so also it knows its own hope. For those in exile, for those in the time when God had not spoken for centuries, there was still expectancy. God our Father had made promises. He keeps all his promises.
We in this day and age can look back to Isaiah 35 and see in history what those weary pilgrims longed for in their day. We can sing hymns and songs of praise because of what grew from God’s promises and their sure hopes.
One of the blessings of Christmas is the renewal of desire for God to do something special in our day. One of the opportunities of Christmas is to match our bright hopes with the dark despair of those who feel so lost and alone.
Walk with me downstairs and see the Christmas flower some friends gave me. The large bulb shows signs of life. Soon, assuming my brown thumb does not do its worst, bright flowers will bloom in all their winter beauty. Every hurting heart needs to know there is a God who knows every hurt and who seeks to bring his healing balm and joyful presence to bear on those circumstances.
Every dry and weary place is fertile ground for God’s wondrous beauty to take root, grow, and turn deserts into gardens.
I will help those who wander in desert places find and enjoy the garden of God’s beauty.
Our Father, so many people long for something more, something different, something durable. Use us to help them see the beauty and brilliance of your goodness. May they find in you the sure hope they long for now. May they know the eternal delight you desire to give them in replacement for the loss they now feel. Amen.
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2 Corinthians 3:17, 18 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
1 Corinthians 10:23, 24 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.