If you’re a new reader, you might not know yet that I love to dig into Scripture and search the definitions of the words. The rest of you, I’m sure, already know that.
I was digging into Isaiah 49:9. Well, the second half of the verse. I found such great encouragement in it that I thought I’d share it with you. It was so hard not to make this twice as long. Hope it blesses you.
Let’s look at the definitions first.
The Hebrew word used in this verse for feed means to tend a flock or pasture it, to graze, to shepherd, to rule, to associate with as a friend, to be companions, etc.
Roads also means way, path, journey, course of life, and so on.
The word for pastures is used here in the sense of feeding, pasturing, shepherding, and also means a flock. It comes from the above word for feed.
Desolate heights means bare hill or plain, barren, smooth place, or high places.
The Biblical Illustrator says…
“Whilst this prophecy is originally intended simply to suggest the abundant supplies that were to be provided for the band of exiles as they came back from Babylon, there lie in it great and blessed principles which belong to the Christian pilgrimage, and the flock that follows Christ.”
In our pilgrimage through this life, Christ is our Shepherd, our Companion along the way. The One who guides us as His flock to lie down in green pastures, the One who leads us beside those still waters. We shall find our grassy meadows and Living Water alongside the dusty path of our everyday life. Wherever the journey takes us, God will amply supply our body and spirit with what we need.
Our Shepherd leads His saintly sheep in the way we should go, not along the broad road or highway of sin but in the narrow way, His Way. We are not, then, to turn aside to seek for pasturage in distant places apart from His leading.
When we find ourselves atop one of those bleak hills, no matter what the circumstance, the Shepherd will feed us as His sheep, even in that unfruitful or desert spot. He pastures us in every barren and unproductive high place, nurturing us and offering us an abundance of His supply to satisfy all our needs.
Those who follow the Shepherd along the course of Life and up the barren heights will find that “In the days of famine they shall be satisfied.” (Ps. 37:19b NKJV) For the Lord “will make rivers flow on barren heights…and streams in the desert.” (Is. 41:18 NIV, Is. 35:6b NKJV)
He says, “I will feed them on the mountains…and by the rivers and in all the places where people live. Yes, I will give them good pastureland on the high hills…There they will lie down in pleasant places and feed in the lush pastures of the hills. I myself will tend my sheep and give them a place to lie down in peace.” (Ezek. 34:13b-15 NLT) He will restore our soul.
The Lord will transform those barren heights and dusty places, for He “gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did” (Rom. 4:17 NKJV), “for nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37 NLT).
Nothing is too hard for Him to do for those that trust Him.
God will make a way where there seems to be no way. He will make all His mountains a way (Is. 49:11), even though they seem impassable.
We shall graze as His flock upon the heights of the Shepherd…as His friend, His companion.