By Burl Young
In Isaiah 35:8, the prophet says, “And a 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. “
It is most probable that Isaiah was prophesying that there will be a way that men may travel to follow Christ. It is about this way that I will write.
Isaiah says that there would be a highway and a way: since a distinction is made by him, we should try to understand the existing difference. There is an actual difference in the meaning of the words themselves. Albert Barnes says that the word “highway” signified a raised causeway or turnpike. These highways were elevated and the many soldiers would use these highways on their way to and from battle. However the word “way” refers to any road or path that all men might walk. It is the latter word that we shall place most emphasis on.
The Apostle Paul made reference to the way that was called heresy by his accusers (Acts 24:14). The way that was preached by Paul was constantly causing him problems. He preached that Jesus had been raised from the dead. He preached that the kingdom was established (see Col. 1:13) and various other things that caused him many and varied problems. We should note that Paul did not turn to another way, but rather continued on the way that Jesus had revealed to him.
The way that is mentioned by Isaiah was to be a way of holiness. How much we need to understand this today. When we see Christians compromising their holiness for a few things of this world, we wonder if they are trying to walk on the way mentioned by Isaiah. By obeying Christ in faith, repentance, confession and baptism, we place ourselves on the highway. Then, we must continue to walk in it with a holy life. Jesus said, “Be thou faithful unto death” (Rev. 2:10).
Because of the simplicity of God’s plan of salvation, Isaiah next shows the kind of man that can travel the highway under consideration. A “wayfaring man though a fool” is here mentioned. Obviously, Isaiah does not mean the idiotic or moronic person that we sometime think of when we hear someone called a fool. He is, however, referring to someone of little ability and perhaps viewed as a fool by many in the world. When one dedicates himself to following God and his son Jesus, many will think him a fool in this life. God’s plan was not designed so that only the talented few could understand, but made it so that all could understand from the least to the greatest.
“No lion shall be there.” To our civilized world, the lion is of little consequence, except to look at in the zoo. However, in earlier days the lion was a real menace to the traveler on the highway. It appears that many a traveler was actually devoured by a lion when he did not take the proper precautions. We too, are warned to watch that Satan does not devour us by the things of this world (1 Pet. 5:8). Even though God has not taken away Satan from our midst, he has conquered him through his son Jesus. Jesus will walk with us in the highway if we will allow him to do so.
Finally, Isaiah says, “The redeemed shall walk there.” When one speaks of being redeemed, he makes reference to two things. First, the person being redeemed and second the price paid for the redemption. God loved man so much that he sent his only Son to die that we might live. That makes the redemption of extra value, in that it had such a wonderful price and most of all, it should cause us to desire to walk with the other redeemed of God and to some day stand in his wonderful presence.
Guardian of Truth XXXIV: 11, p. 328
June 7, 1990