Hope for restoration

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Isaiah warns against relying on Egypt, then gives a message for the nations and Israel’s eventual restoration: Isaiah 30–32; 34–35

After all the prophesied doom, there is hope:

Isaiah 35:4 Say to those with fearful hearts,
‘Be strong, and do not fear,
for your God is coming to destroy your enemies.
He is coming to save you.’

So who are these enemies? Most of Isaiah’s audience would almost certainly have thought of the Assyrians, or maybe even the Babylonians if they could see any sign of a rising superpower.

But the enemies are less of the soldier-invading type, and more of a spiritual oppressor:

Isaiah 35:5 And when he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind and unplug the ears of the deaf.
The lame will leap like a deer,
and those who cannot speak will sing for joy!

This is what Jesus achieved: his wasn’t a military victory (in the conventional sense), but a much greater spiritual victory.

As Paul said to the Ephesians:

Ephesians 6:12For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

And in the longer run,

Isaiah 35:6-10Springs will gush forth in the wilderness,
and streams will water the wasteland.
The parched ground will become a pool,
and springs of water will satisfy the thirsty land.
Marsh grass and reeds and rushes will flourish
where desert jackals once lived.

And a great road will go through that once deserted land.
It will be named the Highway of Holiness.
Evil-minded people will never travel on it.
It will be only for those who walk in God’s ways;
fools will never walk there.
Lions will not lurk along its course,
nor any other ferocious beasts.
There will be no other dangers.
Only the redeemed will walk on it.
Those who have been ransomed by the Lord will return.
They will enter Jerusalem singing,
crowned with everlasting joy.
Sorrow and mourning will disappear,
and they will be filled with joy and gladness.

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