“Say to those who have an anxious heart, ‘Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.’” (Isaiah 35:4, ESV)

In the preceding chapters the prophet Isaiah has depicted a series of dark and bloody judgments that would fall on the Lord’s chosen people because of their sins. Then, suddenly, the prophet interjected a bright ray of joy as he described the blessed hope of the righteous, those who have kept faith in God, those He has redeemed. In life they have been terribly oppressed and abused. They are called blind, lame, deaf and mute because they are totally helpless, utterly incapable of caring for themselves, or attaining justice for their injuries or victory over their oppressors. But such are those who make up the Kingdom of God. The strong and powerful, the beautiful and the proud, the self-righteous and self-assured do not enter that Kingdom. Only the lowly, the sick, the helpless will get in because they have faith in Jesus and trust in Him, not in self.

Isaiah uses the beauty of this chapter like an oasis in a desert of barrenness and pain. It helps us to focus on the reality of the unseen Kingdom of God amidst the trials and turmoil of life, because it serves as an assurance that there is a better place than this world. The glory of God’s Kingdom is a great comfort because it will be free of pain, violence, doubt, and darkness. Many poets and hymn writers have tried to describe the beauty of that heavenly Kingdom, but true beauty is in the Lord Himself. Heaven is made magnificent not by streets of gold and glorious mansions but by the comforting and compassionate presence of the Lord God.