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.