“Say to those who are of a fearful heart, “Be strong, do not fear! Here is your God. He will come with vengeance, with terrible recompense. He will come and save you.” (Isaiah 35:4)
Back a few days (last Saturday to be exact, and under the guise of “Preacher & Seeker”) I talked about how subsequent kings after King David & Solomon lead the people they ruled into ruin because of their neglect or refusal to be guided by Yahweh. The writer of Isaiah who set out to write what the prophet Isaiah said is trying to give them hope and comfort. It is also, the biblical commentators will tell you, a foreshadowing of the Messiah who was to come.
“Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy. For waters shall break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water.” (Verses 5 – 7a)
In these verses we have presented a “blended” Messiah; some traits that we know from the Messiah that came to the Jews and then to the world. And some traits that the Jews hoped their Messiah would have, and would bring about vengeance on those who sought to oppress them. The funny thing about vengeance is that each side of a conflict wants to claim it as their own. The writer of Isaiah (and by implication, the prophet Isaiah) says that it will come for the people of Israel and Judah. We in our modern world want it for ourselves – at least society says we do.
The prophet Isaiah says that the blind, the deaf, the lame, and the speechless will know rescue and restoration. The dry places shall bring forth life and sustenance. All things will be well. But one should not forget the recompense, and those who it is heaped upon. Maybe they will cry out in fear, and cry out for vengeance. Then what do we do? What ever will we do?!