There are around 23,145 verses in the KJV Old Testament.
Following approximately 18300 verses, In the middle of the Book of Isaiah, there is a verse that is so obscure most Christians would not know it is there. It is in Chapter 35.
Many preachers use this chapter as a glorious overview of ‘tomorrow’, as it speaks of the desert blossoming like a rose; meaning that a glorious day follows the Christian if he or she continues on valiantly. Yet, this particular scripture is the key to that blossoming. It shows us that, for the desert to blossom like a rose in anyone’s life, this scripture must be first understood, then believed, then followed.
This verse is the key to much of our walk, outlining the road and the manner on which we tread it.
Isaiah 35:8 states this: “ And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.”
This verse is but an element of that overview assisting in forming our mind’s picture of the unpolluted and glorious ‘tomorrow’. However it plays a second and more important role in outlining some clear definitions of ‘today’.
How the verse is written makes it quite easy for one to overlook it, but if we get the microscope out we can find information of ultimate importance for our daily life.
Let’s look at it again:
And an highway (H4547 a public, great road) shall be there, and a way ( H1870 a journey (manner of life & habits), and it shall be called The way ( H1870 a journey (manner of life & habits) of holiness (H6944 separatedness); the unclean (H2931 morally impure, defiled, polluted, infamous) shall not pass over it (H5674 advance); but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools (H191 one who despises the wisdom of the day), shall not err (H8582 be led astray, deceived, dissemble (to hide under a false appearance) therein.
Here we see some interesting things. The Highway and The way are not only two different words but have two entirely different meanings. One is a road whilst the other is our conduct whilst on that road. Now, a ‘public or great road’ at first appears to conflict with a strait gate and narrow way; however, if don’t look at it in terms of size but rather as the only road designated by God to a particular destination, then I think we will see it in it’s true definition — as the highway for all people to travel on if they intend travelling to that destination.
WHY NOT UNCLEAN?
There are reasons why the unclean shall not pass over it or ‘Advance’ upon it.
1. They shall not be permitted, and
2. They will have no desire for the manner of life required to achieve the distance.
3. The highway is obscure to those who do not want it.
It is like the gold and jewels in scripture that the Lord has hidden from the self-wise and given to the lowly and humble. It is hidden, not because God has been selective as to whom he will reveal it, but because they will not see.
It is important that we ourselves do not become purposefully ignorant to the manner of life God has mandated or too relaxed in this world to bother with it. When pride rises up within us, or negligence, it is a sign we are wandering off the one-way highway and looking for a simpler path.
As a warning, God outlined pride and a relaxed manner of life in the following scripture, as he was reminding Israel of the subtleties of forgetfulness when comfort comes:
Deut 8:11-18 “Beware that thou forget not the Lord thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day: Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein;
And when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the Lord thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage;
Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint;
16 Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end; And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth.
But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.”
Also, you will see that the interpreters of this verse have added the capital ‘T’ to The way of holiness. We can call it a mistake, or we can see it as the Lord explaining that this is the only way (manner of life) a person may live when walking toward the kingdom with any assurance.
There is a similar use of this type of capital letter in the book of Exodus, 23:20, 23:23, and 32:34, when the Lord refers to his Angel going before the tribe of Israel to ensure the pathway is clear where they will be walking. Only when they veered off the provided pathway did trouble come.
We can see something similar in our life today, as we see the leaders of our country progressively veering off the pathway that was originally designed in the legislative and constitutional drafting.
Presently, our leaders appear to be walking around in a fog neither understanding their role nor knowing the given direction.
What is the role of our executive Government?
The way our nation is structured, they are the civil shepherds of the day, and are meant to be working in unison with God fearing spiritual leaders to ensure (positive duty) they implement laws and statutes that protect, guide and prosper both the nation and its individuals.
For instance, there is no reason for our nation to be carrying debt. It is only through their redesigning of our civil structures that we end up spending money on things that should never be in a nation. For its size, Australia should now be the most prosperous nation on earth but we find ourselves in billions of dollars of debt, literally swimming in it.
Israel, so many times, found they had the same issues, and it is thought-provoking when we see their leaders veering off the path into sin so easily and so determinedly, and bringing their nation out of God’s favour, like ours are doing now. Most things godly were challenged. It happened too often and, alarmingly, too easily. Their leaders, like some of ours, were neither interested in overcoming their personal ungodliness, nor the nation’s.
Beliefs and Principles
A good rule of thumb to test leaders comes from this saying, Out of your beliefs come your principles, and out of your principles come your policies. This is identical to what Jesus said in his Sermon on the Mount (Matt 7:20), “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them”. The ‘fruits’ are their policies!
I think this is why so many leaders like to be seen going to church and telling the media to show up as they walk in. Nevertheless, we know what true beliefs they hold by the policies they create, implement or endorse!
So, for us, as it was with the godly in Israel during times of blind leadership, we are to overcome our prejudices and political or religious preferences and pray for those in power.
The reason for this is twofold, and is more than a command. It is to help us as well as them. As we look at our leaders through our politically prejudiced eyes, we can easily forget them as people; the same blood and bone as ourselves; and they are people primarily and leaders secondarily.
What God is trying to do within us is produce Godly judgment our of an earnest and completely transparent heart, with no guile, and have us pray for our leaders as being blind people needing salvation and as our blind leaders needing Godly direction.
The answer is, as time advances, it’s important that we don’t let our fundamentals advance; as the song goes, “the fundamental things apply as time goes by’; fundamentals being our society’s spiritual tenets.
As we discussed previously, Israel had the same problems as we appear to be having.
In fact, in Jeremiah 6 we see that although God was providing simple but permanent answers for their issues and making clear suggestions for success through his prophets, the leaders and people chose to ignore it both in their personal lives and the nation’s.
The problem was that they thought they were progressive; which they were, as any nation and peoples should be, but God was telling them that not all things should progress.
Jer 6:16 “Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.”
They were so progressive and had changed society that much, that V15 states they were unconcerned about their sin. The became so proud of their achievements ‘without’ God, and enjoyed their ‘freedom’ so much that they “they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush”.
It is a society worthy of condemnation when its people do not blush when confronted with their wickedness.