The Way of Holiness (Isaiah 35:8)

A highway will be there, a roadway,
And it will be called the Way of Holiness.
The unclean will not travel on it,
But it is for him who walks [the] way,
And fools will not wander.

Isaiah 35:8

I saw an image a week or more ago that included text saying that the Stairway to Heaven and Highway to Hell give an indication of anticipated traffic numbers. While meant to evoke rock song titles and bring music into people’s minds, there is truth in the advertising there.

Isaiah speaks of a highway and clarifies that it is not very big. The word that is translated roadway could also be road, way, path, manner, habit, way (of a person). None of these gives much leeway. In calling it a highway (that is the only way to translate the word used, according to my concordance), Isaiah may be indicating that the way is easy to find, as highways often are, and maintained in a way that random paths and walkways seldom are. What is more, I consider this to be a prophecy of the coming Messiah; an announcement of Jesus. Here is why.

The next couple verses include reference to the redeemed walking the way and the ransomed of the LORD. Redemption and ransom, while not exclusive to the work of the Messiah, are hallmarks of His work. Also, Jesus is recorded by John as saying that He (Jesus) is the Way, the Truth, and the Life and that no one comes to the Father except through Christ (John 14:6). When Jesus told His disciples that they knew the Way, He was speaking of Himself, but that might also have been a callback to Isaiah’s prophecy of the Way of Holiness.

In addition, these verses say that the unclean will not travel on it and fools will not wander. The implication being that those who are not redeemed or ransomed will not walk the Way of Holiness and that those who hate instruction (fools) will not even wander across the Way. Jesus says that few find the way that leads to Life while many find the way that leads to destruction. Many of the things Jesus says about following Him seem to harken back to this idea of the Way of Holiness that Isaiah is prophesying.

So what? While all of this may be true and may also be interesting, what does it mean today and how does it affect the way I live? In short, everything. The Way of Holiness is both a Person and a lifestyle. The Way of Holiness is Jesus Christ. If I have placed my faith; my trust in Him, then I will follow in His wake and do as He bids me. He also promised that the Holy Spirit would guide me into all truth. I imagine that means also guiding me into the lifestyle portion of the Way of Holiness. At its beginning, Christianity was called The Way (Acts 9:2). It was not until someone in Antioch came up with the slur of little Christ, i.e. Christian, that things changed. My faith is not merely a set of truths to which I must assent, but a way of living that I must learn by trying and failing and trying again.

That is my application for this morning. The Way of Holiness is both a Man and a lifestyle. Jesus is the Way of Holiness; the narrow path that leads to Life Eternal. There is no other I can follow who leads to Life. The Holy Spirit will teach me the Way of Holiness; the habits of the redeemed; the manner of those ransomed out of being held hostage by sin.

God, please open my ears to hear Your direction and my eyes to see the way and strengthen my heart and mind and spirit to be able to walk in that way today.

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