God’s retribution is coming for people who have opposed Him. His salvation is coming for weakened and unsteady believers. “Then the eyes of the blind will be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then the lame will leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute will sing for joy, for water will gush in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the parched ground will become a pool and the thirsty land, springs. In the haunt of jackals, in their lairs, their will be grass, reeds, and papyrus” (Isaiah 35.5-7).
This is a picture of the future Millennial Kingdom of the Lord Jesus. This age is marked by fulfilled promises made to Israel. Among them is the text above. God will come at the end of the Tribulation, a period of seven years of great trial for Israel and the rest of the world. Jesus will return and reward the faithful with this great kingdom. He will also deliver retribution to those who opposed Him and His children.
Water will spring forth into a once arid wilderness, a desert so desolate that only jackals lived there. Instead, a transformed wilderness will become a place of verdant pastures with plenty of water.
All people are made in the image of God. All people continue to reflect that image to some degree. We are not so depraved that we fail to love, tell the truth, sacrifice, or feel empathy and compassion. Many have not succumbed to temptation or paralyzing addictions. However, we also do not give God a thought. All people are by default alienated from God at birth. We are a dry desert spiritually. We do not seek Him much less strive to please Him or honor Him. We rise to the throne of self and govern are own lives. We are without God in the world.
The Gospel changes all of that for us. Streams of mercy and grace have come into our dry, dusty, and purposeless lives through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Streams in the desert.
This gives us hope when we look to the future. All the nations and kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of the Lord Jesus Christ. The barren world will become a fertile, vibrant kingdom of God. The whole of the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord even as water covers the sea. God will comfort Israel and all the nations. Joy and gladness will be found in the garden of the Lord (Isaiah 51.3).
But hope deferred makes the hear sick. As we live our lives in the new week ahead, let us remember that the spiritual wasteland around us will become well-watered by the knowledge of God. All will know Him. Every knee will bow to Jesus Christ. May God grant us mercy and grace to experience joy and gladness in our own spiritual drought. We belong to Him. We know Him. How thankful we ought to live as kingdom citizens even now.