The text for this devotional is Isaiah 35:1-10.
In the Ancient World, there was a great road called the King’s Highway. It was one of the most important trade routes of that time, beginning in Egypt and winding its way east through other nations, including what would become Israel. It is likely that that the Hebrew people, while fleeing Egypt from Pharaoh, used this road. As we know from the books of Exodus and Joshua, God’s people encountered great trials and dangers along this road through the desert: food and water shortage, hostile nations, and most important, temptation to worship other gods. In our text today, Isaiah sees a new Exodus for God’s people who live in exile in Babylon. This time, their way through the wilderness will be rife with flowing water, abundant beauty, and the glory of God will be unhindered. The new road, the Holy Way, will have nothing unclean on it. God will deliver God’s people once again. Jesus reveals that He is the way to the redemption Isaiah dreams of. Likewise, it is no coincidence that the earliest Christians called themselves The Way, the avenue by which all the nations would know of God’s salvation in Jesus.
In light of our passage from Isaiah, we could see ourselves as pilgrims on this Holy Way, a journey to both experience God’s love and light and to show it. We have been ransomed from our sin and bondage in Egypt and are now on this path with everlasting joy upon our heads. As St. Catherine of Sienna said, “All the way to heaven is heaven all the way, because Jesus said, ‘I am the Way.’”
Today, the candles we light help us when the Way seems dark. We cling to the hope of the Incarnation, the everlasting joy we’re promised, and the peace of God’s just deliverance. (candles are lit).
God of Peace,
Help us to walk along the Holy Way, not distracted by fear or worry. Strengthen our weak hands and our feeble knees for the journey ahead, singing with joy all the way to Zion.