“A highway shall be there, and a road,
And it shall be called the Highway of Holiness.
The unclean shall not pass over it.
But it shall be for others
Whoever walks the road, although a fool,
Shall not go astray” (Isaiah 35:8).
In prophesying about the change from the old system of the Law of Moses to the new Gospel system, Isaiah pictures some positive, wonderful aspects of the new system that are designed to give all people something to look forward to—regardless of race, social standing, or intellectual capacity.
The prophet says the Gospel Age is for those whose sincere desire is to find and please God—to live a life of faithfulness and purity—to “walk the road.” The “unclean,” those not willing to live pure and upright lives, will either not find it or will not stay with it.
The most wonderful aspect of this Highway of Holiness is that there is within the heart of every responsible person the potential for traveling thereon. It is a highway paved with a look toward better things spiritually—faith, hope, love—and toward the promise of a home with God in eternity.
“Do not enter the path of the wicked,
And do not walk in the way of evil.
Avoid it, do not travel on it;
Turn away from it and pass on” (Proverbs 4:14-15).
Whereas a few months ago most had never heard the term Social Distancing, it has become a way of life during the current distress in which we find ourselves involved—the coronavirus has taken control of our lives, for the most part.
In this passage, the preacher introduces a concept that has far more lasting significance for us than Social Distancing. If ever a passage gave sound advice about what our attitude toward the world around us should be, this is the one—it teaches us about Spiritual Distancing.
We have a tendency to look for absolutes—we want direct commands against doing something before we will take it seriously. Without a direct command, human tendency is to rationalize ourselves into thinking something is okay or, at least, to look for a way of escape so that we can do what we want to .
This passage abolishes that idea. It puts another layer between us and sin: it says don’t even flirt with the idea of sin nor even get close to it. The preacher says avoid it, turn away from it, and just pass it by. In other words, our place with God in eternity is far more important than anything this world has to offer.
“For You have been a strength to the poor,
A strength to the needy in his distress,
A refuge from the storm
A shade from the heat;
For the blast of the terrible ones is a storm against the wall” (Isaiah 25:4).
The prophet praises God for the wonderful things He has done for His people in the past: He has been a strength, a refuge, a shade, and a protection. In other words, He has upheld the oppressed when they needed Him the most.
While God’s method of operation is different in the Christian Age, we can take great comfort in this scripture from the Old Testament as well as from several in the New Testament that assure us of God’s continuing concern for His people.
When storms of life come upon us living in this Age, we have the promises of His word and the awareness of His love to bring us comfort and to give us inner strength when life can seem to be overwhelming. With a knowledge of God embedded deeply into our hearts, we can withstand any storm this life throws into our pathway.
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit” (Proverbs 18:21).
Mastering the use of our tongue is one of the greatest feats any person—and especially any Christian—can accomplish. Our tongue is a powerful tool in the treasure chest of our life.
Unbridled and careless use of our tongue can bring about the destruction of relationships we have taken years to build or the destruction of great ideas or projects people have invested enormous amounts of time to plan and execute. Figurative death is the result.
Disciplined and careful use of our tongue, on the other hand, can be a vibrant force in forging relationships that will last a lifetime or in pushing forward ideas that can result in more good than we could ever imagine. Figurative life is the result.
Each of us must live with the fruit of how we use our tongue: either we will be an agent for bad, wreaking destruction, division, or unpleasantness around us—or we will be an agent for good that makes the world around us a better place.