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TRAVELING THE HEAVENLY HIGHWAY
Intro: Isaiah is serving the Lord in a difficult day. The people of Israel have turned their backs on the Lord Who redeemed then and they are facing terrible chastisement because of their sins. The nation is under attack by the wicked, brutal Assyrians. The people are terrified and obviously concerned about their future. In the midst of this difficult hour, Isaiah stands forth as a prophet of hope and comfort.
He writes to tell the people that a better day is coming. He seeks to comfort the people by speaking about the coming King and His Kingdom. This chapter is part of that prophecy of hope and comfort.
In these verses Isaiah is looking ahead to the millennial kingdom of the coming Messiah. Isaiah sees a future time of peace, joy and prosperity. A brief look at the first seven verses of this chapter provides some insight into why it will be such a blessed time for Israel.
· v. 1 The desert will bloom like a rose. Ill. That is already being seen in the nation of Israel. When they returned to their land in 1948, it was a barren waste land. Now Israel is a green oasis of prosperity and abundant agriculture.
· v. 2 Lebanon, Carmel and Sharon were the most beautiful places in ancient Israel. The beauty of all three will be given to the land in that coming kingdom. The earth will become like Eden. It will be restored to its original beauty and glory.
· v. 3-4 The people are to comfort themselves with the promise of this coming kingdom. They are to rest in the Lords promise to deliver them from their captors.
· v. 5-6a Those with physical infirmities will enjoy healing and restoration in that day. They will praise the Lord for His blessings and His grace upon His people.
· v. 6b-7 The deserts and the dry places will be transformed into pools of water and marshes. The phrase parched ground literally refers to a mirage. That which offers the deceptive look of water will become a reality in that day.
· v. 8-10 These verses speak of a highway that will pass through the land in that day. Because of the Assyrian invasion, it was not safe to travel the roads. The day will come when safety will be restored to the land. The people will once again be able to go to Jerusalem to worship the Lord in holiness and peace.
· It is no wonder these words were given as a comfort to the people of the Lord!
I want to focus in on verses 8-10 today. I want to talk about this highway that Isaiah mentions. He is writing about a real road that will exist in that day. I want to talk about a spiritual road that exists in this day. Before I do, I want to show that the blessings that Israel is looking forward to have already been given to the saints of God.
· v. 1-2 The dead, desolate desert of our hearts has blossomed because the Rose of Sharon has moved in and has filled our souls with His divine fragrance.
· v. 3 The weak hands that could only reach out for evil have been strengthened to do the eternal work of our Lord. The weak knees that could only bend at the altar of self-righteousness and sin have been enables to bow before the presence of the Lord.
· v. 4 The Lord has invaded our deadness, our darkness and our depravity. He has visited us and He has saved us. He has replaced our fear with His peace and His grace.
· v. 5 Our blinded eyes have been opened and we have seen Him and comprehended His truth and glory. Our deaf ears have been unstopped and we have heard His call to follow Him into a new life.
· v. 6a Our lame feet have been restored to wholeness and we have been enabled to walk in His ways. Our foolish tongues have been loosed and we can now sing and shout His eternal praises.
· v. 6b-7 The parched, dry ground of our hearts has become a mighty river of living water, John 4:14; John 7:38. The “mirage we were trying to reach has been transformed into a reality. Instead of reaching a goal that offered nothing but deadness and deception, we have been given real peace, real joy, real hope, real salvation and real satisfaction. The place that was once fit only for that old dragon, the devil, has become a place of glory, blessing and the dwelling of the Lord God Almighty.
According to these verses God has redeemed us, restored us and placed our feet on a new road. As Isaiah speaks to the Jews about that highway that will exist during the millennial kingdom, we can see something about the spiritual road we are walking today. I would like to preach on Traveling The Heavenly Highway. Let me point out the characteristics of this road.
I. v. 8 IT IS A HIGH WAY
· This refers to a “royal road. In ancient times powerful kings would build roadways through their kingdoms. These roads were built high above the surrounding land. This prevented the kings progress from being deterred by passing flocks, wild animals or other hindrances. These roads were easy to recognize, well-maintained and kept open at all times. It was a safe, quick way for the king to travel from one place to another. Since no one knew when the king might come, this road was not to be used by the common man. It was a high way reserved for the king and his court.
· There was a time on my life when we could not walk this heavenly highway. Our feet were firmly planted on the low road of life, Eph. 2:1-3. We were forced to wander across the burning sands and treacherous byways of this world. We were stumbled along picking our way blindly toward Hell. Each step caused us to be mired deeper in our sins. But, when we trusted Jesus, we were lifted from the low road of sin and our feet were placed on the high road of salvation, Psa. 40:1-3. It is a high way and only those who know the King can walk on it!
II. v. 8 IT IS A HOLY WAY
· This road is called “a way. This word means a path; a course of life. It is also called the way of holiness. This road is a clean, holy way reserved for those who have been redeemed and delivered from their sins. It is for those who have been made new creatures in Jesus, 2 Cor. 5:17.
· Ill. We are living in a day when people who claim to know Jesus like to play fast and loose with sin. The Lord expects His people to be a separate people, 2 Cor. 6:17. He expects us to refrain from even the appearance of evil in our lives, 1 Thes. 5:22. Those who refuse to live a life of holiness will not be permitted to walk the heavenly way. A clean life is a mark of salvation, 1 John 2:3-4; 15; 3:4-10.
· We are “wayfaring men, which means pilgrims, on this road and do not always know what lies ahead. But if we will walk in His path, and follow His lead, we will not err. This word means wander, go astray, stagger, and stumble. We stumble when we step out of His path and go our own way! If you walk in His will you will never stumble! His way is found in staying in His Word and in communion with Him in prayer.
III. v. 9 IT IS A HARMLESS WAY
· This way is a safe way! The lion and ravenous beast are not permitted on this road. “Ravenous means violent one, murderer. As long as the pilgrim stays on the highway, he is safe from the attacks of those who would destroy him.
· We are all stalked by a violent enemy. Satan would love nothing better than for us to fall into his clutches, 1 Pet. 5:8. He cannot touch those who are walking the King’s highway, 1 Pet. 5:9; James 4:7.
· This road is reserved for the redeemed. Thos who have been rescued from sin and Satan can walk with road in absolute safety. But, when we come down from the high way, we become vulnerable to attack! Ask Samson! He will tell you that low living carries a high price! (Ill. Blind, bind and grind)
IV. v. 10 IT IS A HEAVENLY WAY
· That millennial highway terminates in Zion. The road we travel leads to glory! Sometimes the road is level and easy to navigate. At other times it is rough and steep. Regardless of the path we are called to walk through this life, the King’s highway leads His pilgrims home. There is “joy and gladness at the end of the way. Sorrow and sighing will flee away when the pilgrims reach the end of the road!
· There is a mansion at the end of the way, John 14:1-3. There is a glorious city at the end of the way, Rev. 21:9-22:5. There is a place of peace, joy and blessing at the end of the road, Rev. 21:4. We will meet the King face to face at the end of the way, Rev. 22:4.
· Keep walking this path! Do not look for an exit! Stay the course! This road leads to Heaven!
V. v. 10 IT IS A HAPPY WAY
· We are told that the pilgrims on this road come with “songs and everlasting joy upon their heads. The road can become difficult and the strength of the pilgrim can fade away; but they travel on with joy in their souls because they anticipate what awaits them at the end of the journey. They know the high way is the best way and they rejoice because they are allowed to travel that path.
· The Lord’s highway is the best possible way. Those who walk the King’s highway experience His peace, Phil. 4:7; His joy, 1 Pet. 1:8; His presence, Heb. 13:5; and His blessings along the way, Phil. 4:19, Matt. 6:25-34.
· The way may grow hard and our strength may fade away, but there is not better path through the wilderness of this world than the King’s highway. Walk in His ways and you will find true happiness and peace for your soul.
· Ill. Even if I knew the Bible was a lie and Jesus did not exist, I would want to live the way I do now. Walking His path brings joy, peace and rest to my heart!
Conc: What road are you walking today? Are you on the King’s highway? Has He lifted you out of the miry clay of this world and set your feet on His path? If so, you ought to praise Him for it. Are their adjustments that need to be made in the way you walk? Make them! Do you need to be saved? Come to Jesus!