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Isaiah 35; Psalm 46; Psalm 80 Listen
1 The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.
2 It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the LORD, and the excellency of our God.
3 Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees.
4 Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you.
5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.
6 Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.
7 And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes.
8 And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.
9 No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there:
10 And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
This chapter looks to the future millennium and describes the conditions in Palestine during this period. In short, the land will abound with fertility, the road to Jerusalem will be a route of safety and Worship Central will be Jerusalem.
Let's look more closely at the conditions outlined in chapter 35 which specifically speak of the Messianic rule:
It should be pointed out that the yet-future millennium will not be occupied by only saved people. This prophetic period will start out with only redeemed people following the destruction of the wicked of the earth just prior to that period. However, those born during the one thousand-year reign will not be forced into a personal relationship with the Messiah, Jesus Christ. During the millennium, a literal, danger-free route will be provided the inhabitants of the land to Jerusalem ("Zion") where the Messiah himself rules.
God is our refuge and strength (Psalm 46)
To the chief Musician for the sons of Korah, A Song upon Alamoth.
1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
3 Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.
4 There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.
5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.
6 The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted.
7 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.
8 Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth.
9 He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire.
10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
11 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.
This Psalm does not give us the identity of the author. Notice Easton's definition for Alamoth which is found in the subtitle of this Psalm:
Alamoth: virgins, a musical term (I Chronicles 15:20), denoting that the psalm which bears this inscription (Psalm 46) was to be sung by soprano or female voices.
This Psalm has nothing in it to give it an absolute time frame. However, the thrust of the Psalmist is God's assurance that the "City of God" (Jerusalem) will be safe from all enemies. Therefore, it is quite likely that this Psalm may have been written in the midst of Assyrian armies on every side, as was the case in King Hezekiah's day around 701 B.C.
Martin Luther drew from this Psalm when he wrote "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God."
It should be observed how compatible this Psalm is with the specifications of Isaiah 35 (see above). Notice verse 9 in this Psalm, "He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth." When does that take place? The millennium...of course. The verse goes on to describe this period of unprecedented peace when it says, "he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire." In this Psalm, these conditions of peace exist after a cataclysmic event outlined here in verses 1-3, 6 and 8. We see the presence of God among his people in verses 4, 5, 7 and 11. It certainly would appear that this Psalmist, though perhaps facing imminent danger, wrote of a period when God would be in full control and would be present among his people.
Now, God, please deliver us (Psalm 80)
To the chief Musician upon Shoshannimeduth, A Psalm of Asaph.
1 Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth.
2 Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh stir up thy strength, and come and save us.
3 Turn us again, O God, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.
4 O LORD God of hosts, how long wilt thou be angry against the prayer of thy people?
5 Thou feedest them with the bread of tears; and givest them tears to drink in great measure.
6 Thou makest us a strife unto our neighbours: and our enemies laugh among themselves.
7 Turn us again, O God of hosts, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.
8 Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt: thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it.
9 Thou preparedst room before it, and didst cause it to take deep root, and it filled the land.
10 The hills were covered with the shadow of it, and the boughs thereof were like the goodly cedars.
11 She sent out her boughs unto the sea, and her branches unto the river.
12 Why hast thou then broken down her hedges, so that all they which pass by the way do pluck her?
13 The boar out of the wood doth waste it, and the wild beast of the field doth devour it.
14 Return, we beseech thee, O God of hosts: look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine;
15 And the vineyard which thy right hand hath planted, and the branch that thou madest strong for thyself.
16 It is burned with fire, it is cut down: they perish at the rebuke of thy countenance.
17 Let thy hand be upon the man of thy right hand, upon the son of man whom thou madest strong for thyself.
18 So will not we go back from thee: quicken us, and we will call upon thy name.
19 Turn us again, O LORD God of hosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.
In the subtitle, we see a reference to "Shoshannimeduth." This was probably the name of the melody to which the psalm was to be sung. While there is nothing here to give us a hard and fast situational context for this passage, you can certainly imagine it being written during the time Jerusalem was surrounded by the Assyrians. Asaph (mentioned in the subtitle) was David's music guy, but it appears that there may have been others later on in Israel's history with that name also.
By an unknown author, this Psalm was obviously written in the midst of an extreme struggle for all of Israel. The founding of Israel out of Egypt is seen here along with the threat of impending extinction. The Psalmist is beseeching God for deliverance of Israel in the face of an overwhelming enemy. These circumstances never really existed during David's lifetime, a period of expansion in Israel under his rule. It must, therefore, speak of the period in 701 B.C. when Sennacherib's army (the Assyrians) had Jerusalem surrounded (II Kings 18:13-19:37; II Chronicles 32:9-22; Isaiah 36-37, see notes). And...God did deliver them on this occasion.