The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus; it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God.
There are two basic philosophies in the world – one that enslaves humanity and one that liberates. They are each sophisticatedly encoded in political systems and campaigns, to the point that the average person can hardly know which is what by listening to slogans and political speeches.
In the spiritual realm, our enemy also slyly hides the reality and convinces us what enslaves actually liberates – it is only the heart surrendered to God that is liberated.
But there is no doubt whose side God is on. The passage above is one that is so abundantly clear that as He renews the desert, causing it to blossom and bloom, so the glory of the Lord comes upon those forgotten and weak. The prophet waxed on and spoke eloquently of the blind seeing, the deaf hearing, the lame leaping, and the mute singing. The most forgotten of men are treasured and redeemed by God.
God lifts us up in Christ by giving us life and hope, but then He also lifts us up by liberating our surroundings and releasing the potential of life. We are fundamentally spiritual beings who have been inflicted with the disease of sin, and this ailment has caused the death of humanity’s spirit. In Christ we are resurrected within, given new life, a new opportunity to live as Adam had originally lived, sinless, spotless, in communion with God.
But we are not only spiritual beings; we also live in this physical world and even in eternity are promised a resurrected body. So God blesses us with the kindness of progress and material advancement. Yet in God’s economy these things always serve the higher purpose, for Isaiah also wrote of a highway that will be called the “Way of Holiness.” God plans that all advancement would have the element of righteousness and goodness attached to it – righteousness exalts a people but sin is a disgrace (Prov. 14:34).
This is all by grace, yet God often lets us endure the darkness and poverty of our sin so that we may gain wisdom and appreciate the bounty of His blessing. The glory of the Lord is seen in the spiritual, moral, and economic advancement of His people, and when they advance others advance as well. As God is for the forgotten sinner, so His people on this earth must be for the forgotten people.