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Read Isaiah 35

Joy of the Redeemed

35 The desert and the parched land will be glad;
    the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.
Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom;
    it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy.
The glory of Lebanon will be given to it,
    the splendor of Carmel and Sharon;
they will see the glory of the Lord,
    the splendor of our God.

Strengthen the feeble hands,
    steady the knees that give way;
say to those with fearful hearts,
    “Be strong, do not fear;
your God will come,
    he will come with vengeance;
with divine retribution
    he will come to save you.”

Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
    and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
Then will the lame leap like a deer,
    and the mute tongue shout for joy.
Water will gush forth in the wilderness
    and streams in the desert.
The burning sand will become a pool,
    the thirsty ground bubbling springs.
In the haunts where jackals once lay,
    grass and reeds and papyrus will grow.

And a highway will be there;
    it will be called the Way of Holiness;
    it will be for those who walk on that Way.
The unclean will not journey on it;
    wicked fools will not go about on it.
No lion will be there,
    nor any ravenous beast;
    they will not be found there.
But only the redeemed will walk there,
10     and those the Lord has rescued will return.
They will enter Zion with singing;
    everlasting joy will crown their heads.
Gladness and joy will overtake them,
    and sorrow and sighing will flee away.

Go Deeper

Reading Isaiah 35, you will likely pick up on the much more joyful and hopeful tone in this chapter compared to the previous chapter. Whereas the previous chapter speaks of the earth being turned into a desolate desert, now we see it transformed into a garden. What was once barren and hopeless is now lush and full of hope. This is a reminder to us that, even though we may not know exactly how or when, God will ultimately restore the world back to its intended state. Since the fall in Genesis 3, God has been reconciling and restoring the world. 

There is a phrase that sticks out towards the end of this chapter: “The Way of Holiness”. Re-read what it says in verse 8:

And a highway will be there;
    it will be called the Way of Holiness;
    it will be for those who walk on that Way.
The unclean will not journey on it;
    wicked fools will not go about on it.

The first fulfillment of this prophecy, some scholars believe, was in a more literal sense as the Jews returned home from captivity in Babylon and Persia. This passage also has more broad implications for us today, too. If you believe the truth found in John 14:6 that Jesus is the Way, the truth, and the life, then we’re called to walk the highway of holiness, too. This chapter makes it clear that this highway is reserved for those who pursue holiness. Because of God’s grace, His righteousness has been imputed to us (2 Corinthians 5:21). While we could never earn this righteousness on our own, we do get to receive it and pursue holiness in the way that God has called us to. 

The final verse in this chapter gives us a glimpse into the joy that those walking along this highway will experience. Isaiah says that “gladness and joy will overtake them” (v. 10). In the same way Isaiah’s original audience would have joyfully exited captivity on their way home, we will eventually enter God’s Kingdom in the same joyful way. Even on days that feel bleak, this passage serves as a reminder that God’s Kingdom will be so much better than we could ever imagine. As you go about your day today, be thankful for that reminder and truth. 


  1. What does this chapter teach you about God? What does it teach you about humanity? 
  2. What does your personal pursuit of holiness look like? What spiritual disciplines are you regularly pursuing?
  3. What brings you gladness and joy today? Spend a moment writing your answer down thanking God for it.

Did You Know?

There’s another reference to a highway in Isaiah 40:3: “A voice of one calling: ‘In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.’” This prophecy would ultimately be fulfilled centuries later by John the Baptist, who devoted his life to preparing the way for Jesus and pointing people to Him.

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4 thoughts on “Isaiah 35”

  1. For the weary, worn out remnant, Isaiah ushers in hope that one day God will bring peace and restoration to all creation. “There the Lord will display his glory, the splendor of our God”(v2). It’s unbelievable how Isaiah’s words stretch through time and space to speak straight to our heavy hearts to “strengthen those with tired hands and encourage those with weak knees, that our God is coming to save us”(v3-4). All the suffering will come to an end as the faithful and ransomed travel with the Savior home, where everlasting joy awaits. Ponder that today in the midst of whatever you are facing, and give thanks with a grateful heart. How great is our God!

  2. Holy Holy Holy, majesty, reverence, glory, awe, rejoice ever more, adoration, loving kindness, are all types and thoughts of worship. I want to be in a constant state of worship. Can you imagine what it will be like to worship at His throne? Can you imagine what all those voices will sound like? I am so thankful for a good God that desire me beyond what I can imagine. We are to worship Him NOW in all our deeds, thoughts, actions, behaviors, words giving Him honor glory and praise with each breath we breath!!
    God thank You for breath to give You Thanksgiving in Jesus name amen

  3. But only the redeemed will walk there,
    10 and those the Lord has rescued will return.
    They will enter Zion with singing;
    everlasting joy will crown their heads.
    Gladness and joy will overtake them,
    and sorrow and sighing will flee away.
    Those, they, their, them… a collective body of joyful believers. That’s what stands out to me after listening to Keller speak on the spiritual discipline of friendship. He spoke on the importance of surrounding yourself with believers, and the importance of being a good friend. How important it is to be with people who share joy and help wipe away your tears. How glorious will it be in heaven to be surrounded with our loved ones rejoicing! That idea of community inspires me to keep pressing to build God’s heavenly kingdom!

  4. I do look forward to the everlasting joy that will overtake us!!! Isaiah has been a challenging read with so much woe. However, I am thankful for the hope in his promise shared in today’s reading.

    As it is Thanksgiving, I am thankful for all the writers who provide the Going Deeper commentary, thought provoking Questions and interesting Did You Know tidbits. While it all starts with God’s word, your thoughtful insights are immensely helpful to open my eyes and ears. This website is at the heart of “equipping the saints.”

    I also want to thank Ella, Amy, and Christi for your daily devotion. You all have such joy in your words. It is a pleasure to see your notes each morning. I wish you all a blessed Thanksgiving.

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