No lion will be there, nor any ravenous beast; they will not be found there.
— Isaiah 35:9
Hikers frequently ask each other, “Have you seen any bears?”
One morning while I was out walking the Appalachian Trail, a bear suddenly crossed in front of me and scrambled down the hill. As it rooted under a log and watched me pass, I considered what I’d do if it chased me.
It is a comfort to know that on the Way of Holiness described in Isaiah 35, no dangerous or hungry beasts will threaten God’s people.
In many passages Isaiah warns of destruction that will come to God’s people if they don’t turn back to living God’s way. But this chapter brims with joy and confidence for all who remain faithful, seeing that God’s way is best. They are redeemed and restored by God. The desert blooms with colorful flowers. The struggling and fearful are restored with peace and hope. Like the deer, they leap for joy. The wicked will not lurk on the pathway of holiness. This path is reserved for God’s people.
When we look back at passages like this, we see that they also speak to dangers that we can face in our own turbulent, uncertain times. Ultimately this passage calls us to live faithfully as we walk and wait for the full revelation of God’s kingdom of peace and holiness.
Lord, fill us with your hope and peace as we wait for your kingdom to fully come. Amen.