“Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are fearful-hearted, “Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God; He will come and save you.” – Isaiah 35:3-4
God is so gracious to His people as He gives them hope of restoration in the midst of promises of coming judgment and chastening for their sins. We see this often in Isaiah as his visions go back and forth from prophesying judgment against the faithless and peace to those who are seeking to live penitent lives as they trust God and His promises.
Foretelling God’s judgment against the nations in Chapter 34, Isaiah proclaims God’s indignation. Consider the dreadful picture and outcome of His judgment in verses 2, 8, and 9: “For the indignation of the Lord is against all nations, and His fury against all their armies; He has utterly destroyed them, He has given them over to the slaughter…For it is the day of the Lord’s vengeance, the year of recompense for the cause of Zion. Its streams shall be turned into pitch, and its dust into brimstone; Its land shall become burning pitch.” These words of destruction, desolation, brimstone, pitch describe the thoroughness of His judgment. Further, the burning pitch alludes to the fall of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:24-28) Yet, in Chapter 35, we find marvelous grace and mercy in Isaiah’s comfort to Judah with a prophecy of life and restoration. He gave them assurance that God would return in mercy to His people. Indeed, God would restore what had been made a wilderness and wasteland. The desert would rejoice in bloom with His blessing and glory (Isaiah 35:1-2).
Therefore, take joy in the instruction of our Lord in verse 3, as God gives special charge to his prophets of old and ministers to strengthen, bind up, and firm up His weak and feeble people. They’re charged to strengthen, to speak words of “be strong- do not fear”, to calm the fright and fears of the flock. Why? To build up and encourage, for God would come to them. He was on their side. He would come to stand for them. He would come in vengeance (v. 4). His vengeance wouldn’t be against them, but against the wicked and enemies of the church. God would fight for and save them.
Considering this, be mindful that there is much in the Gospel, there is much in Jesus Christ to silence our fears and strengthen our weak hands and feeble knees, Beloved. Though we endure times of chastening and judgment, by the grace and work of God, Christ speaks wonderful words of peace, strength, and salvation to us, His precious lambs, today as well. It’s important to see that this prophecy in Isaiah gloriously points us to Christ and His kingdom. The Old Testament saints looked forward to Christ to come. We joy in Christ who has come to us. His kingdom has been inaugurated, it will be consummated, and will never end. Amen. As Jesus reigns now, His enemies are being put under His feet (1 Corinthians 15:25). Vengeance is His, He will repay (Romans 12:19). Indeed, He will take final vengeance on the powers of darkness. He will spoil and make an open show of them, to recompense and reward His people with abundant comforts and rest. What a Savior and King we have in Jesus! Keep your eyes upon Him.
Be strong! Know God’s mercy and peace to you in Christ. Remember that Jesus stands with and fights for you. He is the champion. He is the victor! Take great comfort and joy in the salvation and inheritance that is yours in Christ today. To God be the glory!