A Highway Shall Be There

I mentioned a while ago that God has given me some openings concerning the realm of the Spirit that is before us.  Perhaps these openings are not exactly new, but when the Spirit of the Lord breathes life into the Scriptures there is an opening of the understanding that is very precious; there is a sense of newness of life about what we are reading.  It is fresh, we have a distinct impression that this is what God is saying, this is what He is doing, this is what is before us.

By that (what is before us) I don’t mean that we haven’t already experienced this in a measure.  But I know that there is much much more before us.

And so I mentioned that this realm of the Spirit is both a Place, and a Way.  There is a Pathway, and a Place… a Life, a walk in the Spirit, that oh… if I could only dance… I mean, dance the way the poet danced when he said, “Oh I have slipped the surly bonds of earth, and danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings…”  Oh how duped we have been, we Christians, of our heritage in Christ, the realm of the Spirit, of the heavenlies.   Oh, how we have been blinded, we settle for earthly things when we have before us a vast heritage in the Spirit, the heritage of the New Creation man, the Israel of God, who walks not according to the rules and regulations of law, but according to a New Rule—the rule of new creation Life.  But I am getting ahead of myself.

One of the wonderful promises of the New Covenant is that God will make a way where there is no way—a way through the wilderness, a way where there has been nothing but desert and wilderness.  Are you there?  Don’t be discouraged, so am I.  But let us lift up the hands that hang down, and strengthen our feeble knees: there is a Way here!

Now, in the typology of Scripture, the wilderness is the wasteland of this world caused by the sin of Adam.  Spiritually speaking, this whole world is a desert, an unfriendly and uninhabitable wilderness.  Thorns and thistles grow everywhere; venomous creatures abound; water is scarce, and when we get closer to things that excited us and lifted our hopes when we saw them in the distance, we discover them to be just another deceiving mirage.

But this is what has become of the old creation under the curse.  I am aware these days, as are many others, that the wilderness of this world has intensified, has become even more difficult, not just in the big wide world out there but in our own circumstances.  Sin abounds, and so troubles are greater, problems are more severe.  How wonderful to discover, then, that God promises a Way through this wilderness!  Yes, right there in the desert, right there in the wilderness, right in the midst of those terrible and difficult circumstances of ours—those impossible circumstances—there is a Way.

We find this theme over and over in our Bible, especially in Isaiah, where in Chapter 35 he introduces us to a certain Highway that leads to Zion.  Where is this highway found?

And an highway shall be there

That, is, there in the wilderness.  Isaiah has been talking of this terrible wilderness place, “the wilderness and the solitary place,” and he prophesies that there “the lame man shall leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.”

Water!  And not just a brackish puddle of it!

And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons (or, jackals) where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes.

Water!  Water where there had been no water—living water, the Water Jesus spoke of when He promised the River of the Spirit.  And suddenly the desert is rejoicing, and the wilderness is blossoming as a rose.

And what else is here?

And an 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.

Notice the intermingling of these two things in this chapter—the Water, and the Way.  For it is the Way of the Spirit that Isaiah is prophesying of.  He calls it the Way of Holiness, which the unclean cannot walk in.  But reading between the lines, I am sure we detect here that those who walk in this Way discover in it a power that cleanses them and keeps them clean.

Again, where is this highway?  Right there in the wilderness!  And the thought seems to be that even the most foolish of us can walk in this pathway without erring.  Once we have confessed what fools we have been and how terribly we have erred in going our own way and doing our own thing in trying to resolve our difficulties and make a life for ourselves, we discover God has a Way that accomplishes the impossible… if we will just give ourselves to walking in this Way.

I am talking to us Christians.  If we are born again, born of the Spirit, how foolish of us to try to deal with our difficult circumstances with our own resources and wisdom.  How foolish of us to try to resolve our problems with carnal means, to begin in the Spirit and hope to conclude things in the flesh.  God says the answer, the only answer, lies in walking in this Way, the Way of the Spirit.  If we are born of the Spirit we must take the plunge, we must give ourselves to walking in the Spirit in all we say and do.  What have we got to lose?  Our own ways haven’t worked, have they?

And the promise is that:

No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there.

I find this a fascinating verse.  There is a Pathway that… as you and I walk in this Pathway, no lion can touch us.  Lions simply cannot go up on this Pathway, they know nothing about it.  Our adversary the Devil who walketh about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour… as long as we abide in this Pathway he cannot touch us.  He doesn’t even know where we are.

What is this Highway, this Way?  It’s the Way of the Spirit, and it’s right there in the midst of our terrible wilderness, the only way through our difficult circumstances.  It’s there, beloved, God promises that it is there.  And He promises that “the redeemed shall walk there:

And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

9 responses »

  1. He gives me beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.
    Before we can receive anything new from The Lord, we have to trade him the old for the new. I find it hard sometimes to give up something I have if I’m not so sure I’m going to receive something else, but the more you step out in this trading with Jesus the more you find out that He can be trusted.
    The unclean shall not pass over it that really sticks out to me.
    We don’t sit down at the dinner table and partake with the family unless we first had a shower. In the same way we should allow the Spirit of The Lord the freedom to cleanse us before we share with the family of God. First allow God to wash us in our minds (taking every thought captive), washing away moodiness and so on, then we are in a position to walk on this highway, and share the life with others.

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    • Hi Alden, you mentioned how hard it is to give something up. Even worries. It’s certaily hard, at least for me, to give up my worries, to truly release them. It’s perplexing to me how reluctant I am to give them up; it seems I prefer my worries to this wonderful unknown Pathway. I guess it’s that “unknown” factor that causes the problem. I prefer the security of worrying to the unknown of trust, it seems.

      So I very much like what you have said: “I find it hard sometimes to give up something I have if I’m not so sure I’m going to receive something else, but the more you step out in this trading with Jesus the more you find out that He can be trusted.”

      You mean trade worries for trust? Sounds pretty risky. But what have we got to lose, Alden? Yes, there’s a risk involved; if I let go of my worries, will I ever see them resolved? If I let them go, who will look after them for me?

      …But on the other hand, if I can trust Him, and let go of my worries and simply walking in this Way, will I not come to answers that all my worries never seemed able to accomplish?

      I say Amen to that!

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  2. Brilliantly said, Mr. Halton ~ I’m greatly encouraged!

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  3. I so enjoy your posts. You have a profound understanding of Scripture.

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  4. I am reminded of the following passage from George Fox’s epistles:

    So in his name keep your meetings, in whom you have salvation; and these are the true meetings, and true gatherings, who feel Jesus Christ in the midst of them, their prophet, their counsellor, their leader, their light and life, their way and their truth, their shepherd, that laid down his life for them, that has bought you, his sheep, who feeds you in his pastures of life; and your heavenly bishop, to oversee you, that you do not go astray again from God. And so it is through him you overcome, and he that overcomes shall go no more forth out of his fold, out of his pastures, who shall sit down in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, who is your priest, that offered up himself for you, and sacrifices for you, and makes you holy and clean, that he may present you blameless up to the holy and pure God; and here you come to witness and know him in his offices, by his light, spirit, and power; and all your men’s and women’s meetings, in the power of God, which was before the devil and his power was, in the holy order of the gospel keep them, you being heirs of the everlasting gospel, the everlasting power of God, that will last for ever; a joyful gospel, a joyful order, a comfortable gospel, so a comfortable order, a glorious gospel, and glorious order. So in this everlasting gospel, the power of God, in which you have everlasting fellowship and dominion over all sin and wickedness, unrighteousness, unholiness, and all that is bad whatsoever, you have dominion over, in the gospel, the power of God, yea, over the devil. And this gospel may every one testify unto, and to the order of it, that it is not of man, nor by man, neither is it received but by the revelation of Jesus Christ, sent down from heaven, which all the believers, that have part in the first resurrection, live, walk, and keep in the order of this gospel; and so have power to admonish, exhort, reprove, and rebuke, with all authority, such as talk of Christ, and do not walk in him; such as profess him, and do not possess him; such as live not in the religion that was set up above sixteen hundred years since; such as profess Christ the way, and walk not in the way, the truth, and the life, all such talkers, and not walkers, are dishonourers of God, and cause his holy name to be blasphemed among such as make no profession. And therefore, all Friends that know that you are alive to God, by Jesus Christ, and know your translation from death to Christ the life, and from darkness to Christ the light; so that you may all come now to be helps-meet in your restoration by Christ Jesus, into the image of God, and his righteousness and holiness, that man and woman were in before they fell: for before they fell they were meet-helps to subdue the earth, they had both power over all that God made, while they kept in the image of God, and his righteousness and holiness; and so all that God made was blest and good to them; and so none can renew up into the righteousness and image of God, but Christ Jesus. And therefore, I say, in him live and walk, and keep his gospel-fellowship and order; so that men and women may be meet-helps, in the distinct men and women’s meetings, one unto another in the gospel, the power of God, in the restoration, as man and woman was in before they fell. (Works of George Fox, Vol. 8: 77-78)

    What they, the early Quakers, demonstrated of the power of God to live in and to walk in this highway you write about is just as available today as in the 1600s. Their “wilderness” was no less of a “wilderness” than is ours. God’s call to experience Christ Jesus in and among us in all his functions, as illustrated above, has not expired. In the midst of man-made religion, where man talks of Christ but does not walk in the life that comes by hearing his voice, God’s call is to come out of the leanness of empty profession into the abundance of possession. (I like Isaiah’s image in chapter 55 of delighting ourselves in the fatness of listening.)
    I am also reminded of Isaiah 30:1 which states (not a direct quote): “Woe to the disobedient children, who cover themselves, but not with my spirit…” And commenting on this passage, George Fox wrote:

    Therefore dwell all in the pure spirit of God, and walking therein, it will teach you every one in particular, to know God the Father of spirits, and all to stand naked and bare, and uncovered before the living Lord God. For wo is to every one, that is covered, but not with the spirit of the Lord; and who are covered, and not with his spirit, will not stand in his counsel. But all ye who are uncovered, walking in the spirit of the Lord God, it will keep you all in his counsel to stand uncovered before the Lord, bare and naked, to receive instruction and counsel from him. (Works of George Fox, Vol. 7:35)

    Where are you to encounter this way through the wilderness, this highway of holiness? It begins as a whisper within you that says “this is the way, walk ye in it.” It begins as a glimmer of light that reproves us for going our own way, that rebukes us for our evil deeds. If we, individually and corporately, will heed the voice and walk in the light we will find that we have encountered the authority and power that sets our feet on the high way. We have come to Jesus Christ, our prophet like Moses, our Counsellor, our leader, our shepherd, and so forth.
    Thanks for your post.

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  5. Allan, I just now noticed that I am commenting on an old post (2013). That would explain why I could not find it at the top of your offerings. Well, it is still worth commenting on. I guess that shows how tech-literate I am!

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    • Ellis, I am about as tech-literate as you! It is an old post, but is yet fresh truth, as is the quotation from dear old George Fox (thanks for sharing it). George Fox consistently sought to awake people to the present reality of things that they held off for the future, or back in the past. As you said, what he wrote for people in the 1600s is as valid and available today as it was then.

      I like what you said about coming out of “the leanness of empty profession into the abundance of possession,” relating this to God’s call from the mouth of Isaiah, to “hearken diligently unto Me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness” (Isa. 55:2). He goes on, “Incline your ear, and come unto Me, hear, and your soul shall live, and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David” (vs.3). Incline, He says. That is the route to Life and fatness. The opposite of that is to decline, the sure route to leanness. And death.

      You quoted Isaiah 30:1. The one and only covering God has provided for our life and walk is the covering of His Spirit, which is ours as we respond in obedience to His leadings. The last verse you quoted, “This is the way, walk ye in it,” is also from Isaiah 30, and it too, as you said, is also related to the inclined ear. Here is the full verse: “And thine ears shall hear a voice behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.”

      Let us heed that Voice, then, though it begin as a whisper. I am always much comforted in the reminder that “no word of God is without power.” That is the literal rendering of the words the Angel spoke to Mary upon telling her she would give birth to the Son of God. Mary’s response was, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord: be it unto me according to thy word.” Let that always be our response as well. We may always rely on there being, in any word God speaks to us, the inherent power to enable us to walk in that word when we respond in obedience.

      Thanks for sharing, Ellis. Good words.

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