A Highway of Holiness – What is it?

Isaiah 35:8 speaks of a Highway of Holiness

On July 8 my devotional, Experiencing God Day-by-Day, took me to Isaiah 35:8 and that verse has remained on my heart for the last couple of weeks.  You always have to read the Scripture in context to really understand the message.

Let me quote Isaiah 35:1-10 (NASB) to present this verse in context.   The subject is Zion’s Happy Future.

‘1The wilderness and the desert will be glad,
And the Arabah will rejoice and blossom;
Like the crocus
2 It will blossom profusely
And rejoice with rejoicing and shout of joy.
The glory of Lebanon will be given to it,
The majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They will see the glory of the Lord,
The majesty of our God.
3 Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble.
4 Say to those with anxious heart,
“Take courage, fear not.
Behold, your God will come with vengeance;
The recompense of God will come,
But He will save you.”
5 Then the eyes of the blind will be opened
And the ears of the deaf will be unstopped.
6 Then the lame will leap like a deer,
And the tongue of the mute will shout for joy.
For waters will break forth in the wilderness
And streams in the Arabah.
7 The scorched land will become a pool
And the thirsty ground springs of water;
In the haunt of jackals, its resting place,
Grass becomes reeds and rushes.
8 A highway will be there, a roadway,
And it will be called the Highway of Holiness.
The unclean will not travel on it,
But it will be for him who walks that way,
And fools will not wander on it.
9 No lion will be there,
Nor will any vicious beast go up on it;
These will not be found there.
But the redeemed will walk there,
10 And the ransomed of the Lord will return
And come with joyful shouting to Zion,
With everlasting joy upon their heads.
They will find gladness and joy,
And sorrow and sighing will flee away.’

The Nation of Israel

History: The nation of Israel was designed to be a place where other nations would come to worship the one true God.  The temple in Jerusalem was to be the center from which the good news of God’s salvation would spread to every corner of the earth. The people forsook God and practiced every kind of sin.  They disgraced His Holy name.  They did not attract the other nations as examples of what God’s people should look like.   They were stumbling blocks to those who were seeking God.  It was because of this that God judged them and sent them into exile.

Promise of Salvation

God promised them, though, that one day His people would be an avenue for others to find salvationRomans 10:14-15 says:  ‘How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’

Whenever an unbeliever meets a Christian, the unbeliever should be able to see that the person is a believer by their walk, their talk, and their behavior.  They should know that that person is a Christian.  That is not always the case.  Christians today can be just like the Israelites of Isaiah’s day.  Many are ill-equipped to direct others to Him.  As a matter of fact, many Christians are actually turning others from Him because of their hypocritical lives.

Lives filled with doubt or anger keep people from coming to Him!  Our lives ought to be ‘a Highway of Holiness’ providing easy access to God for anyone who is seeking to know Him.

What is Holiness?

A dictionary doesn’t really give you the full picture of holiness from a Biblical perspective.  A concordance is where you really need to go.  The reason is that the Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew and in Aramaic and there have been many translations and transliterations of the original Scripture. To understand the Scripture we study it inductively and we look at the context in which the Scripture is written, the culture of the day, and also to other Scriptures where the word is used.  Scripture validates Scripture.  (Take a Precept Upon Precept class to really learn inductive study method or buy Kay Arthur’s book.)

Using a concordance you can find where holy and holiness and the related words sanctification and sanctify, are used. Holy is first used in Exodus 3 where God introduces the word to Moses, telling him the place where Moses is standing is called holy ground.  Using the inductive study method of finding the 5 W’s and an H: who is speaking and to whom, about what, when and where, and why and how, you will understand what God is saying.

In Leviticus 10:3,19:2, God says ‘I will be treated as holy…..Be holy, for I, the Lord your God, am holy.’  This is after God delivers the children of Israel from Egypt.

The concordance says the word holy means sacred, set apart from the profane and for God.  Baker’s Encyclopedia of the Bible says ‘”The primary Old Testament word for holiness means ‘to cut or separate’.  This means holiness is a cutting off or separation from what is unclean, and a consecration to what is pure.” 

In the New Testament the word for holy in the Greek is ‘hagios’.  This is the same root word for saint and sanctified.  For further study on this inductive study on holiness see https://billygraham.org/decision-magazine/june-2007/what-is-holiness/. 

I won’t go to any other examples here but the fact is God is holy.  We are to obey His commandments.  We are to follow His example and His commandments no matter what other people around us are doing.   We are to be set apart (holy).  We are not to be like others.  We are to be like God and Jesus!  We are to be the Light in the darkness of this world.

Are you walking on the Highway of Holiness?  Are you inviting others to join you?

If we ignore God’s commands and wander in the desert as the Israelites did ignoring Him and living just as we want to we will not see our deserts bloom.  Let your thirst be quenched with the Living Water.   Repent and turn from the sin that separates us from our Holy Father and set our eyes on Him.   He will make our deserts bloom.  He will transform our lives and lead us down a Highway that only He can pave for us.  We will no longer be lonely and helpless.

Recommended reading from the one of the authors of my devotional, Henry Blackaby: Holiness – God’s Plan for Fullness of Life.  Also The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges.

Come join us in the walk on the Highway of Holiness also known as the Highway to Heaven!  If you have questions and want to discuss this lesson further, feel free to comment below and let us know your thoughts or your questions.   We will be happy to reply. 

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