December 14 Tuesday
Isaiah prophesied during the Hebrew exile, when the people were living in captivity in Babylon. The Babylonians had sacked Israel, and carried off everything —gold, religious icons, livestock, the PEOPLE—everything! The Hebrews were living as second-class citizens in a land that was not their own.
They dreamed of a day when they would return to Israel, and this passage describes the type of path they’ll take to get there and the type of world they shall inhabit:
“The eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy. For waters shall break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert.”
The Hebrews were imagining a more perfect world—out of captivity—where no one would be hindered from experiencing the fullness of God’s healing and wholeness.
When I read these verses, images come to mind of Jesus touching the eyes of the blind and laying hands on those who cannot walk, proclaiming that their faith had made them well. In many ways, Jesus fulfills this passage—but when we recognize that our world is far from perfect and when we pay attention to God’s active presence around us, we can hear Jesus calling us to join him in bringing healing to a broken world where “everlasting joy shall be upon their heads” and “sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”