This is what the Lord says: “In the time of my favor I will answer you, and in the day of salvation I will help you; I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people, to restore the land and to reassign its desolate inheritances, to say to the captives, ‘Come out,’ and to those in darkness, ‘Be free!’ “They will feed beside the roads and find pasture on every barren hill. They will neither hunger nor thirst, nor will the desert heat or the sun beat down on them. He who has compassion on them will guide them and lead them beside springs of water. I will turn all my mountains into roads, and my highways will be raised up. See, they will come from afar— some from the north, some from the west, some from the region of Aswan. – Isaiah 49:8-12
My retracing of the river in Isaiah took longer than anticipated. Life happened and I have been eddying out for the last couple of days. I am back on track and headed down river again today.
This passage starts with God reminding the people of Israel that He will make a covenant with them. He will set the captives free and bring those who are in darkness into the light. All language that would fit quite nicely in the Gospels and the coming of the “Light of the World”, Jesus. The covenant is an agreement between God and His people, both the people of Israel and those that follow Him in modern times like myself. The agreement which we will see is essentially “you follow me and I will build the roads that lead to Me”.
God goes on to say that “He who has compassion on them will guide them and lead them beside springs of water.” This sounds very much like a merging of the God who leads us beside quiet waters in the Psalms, and the Messiah who will lead people into the Jordan River to be baptized. This God-man will “turn all my mountains into roads, and my highways will be raised up.” God is reassuring the people of Israel, and us, that He will find a way to reach us no matter what “mountains” stand in the way.
God will show us “the way” through the mountains. Jesus certainly faced, and conquered, many mountains as He taught His disciples how to build roads and free the captives. Jesus was making roads through the mountains so that all who were seeking Him could find Him. His disciples, in their own imperfect ways, got to help Him in this process. The end result is that people will come to know God, “they will come from afar— some from the north, some from the west, some from the region of Aswan.” The roads are many but all have the same destination, God.
People who are earnestly seeking God will find the savior who He sent to set the captives free and brings light to the darkness. Jesus is Who lies at the beginning and the end of the roads that God creates through the “mountains”. Our choice to follow the way of Jesus is a commitment to seek out these roads and to follow them wherever they lead us.
God is at the center of what sometimes feels like a labyrinth of roads and trails. Sometimes the road is hard and we feel like we need to give up. That is when God carries us like a Son or Daughter until we are ready to walk on our own again.
Prayer: God Thank You for leading us onto the roads that lead to You, and carrying us when we grow weary.