Thursday, September 26, 2013

Spiritual Cartography

One Year Bible
Old Testament passage for Friday, September 20, 2013:  Isaiah 33:10-36:22

Then the eyes of the blind will be opened and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped.  Then the lame will leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute will shout for joy.  For waters will break forth in the wilderness and streams in the Arabah.  The scorched land will become a pool and the thirsty ground springs of water; in the haunt of jackals, its resting place, grass becomes reeds and rushes. A highway will be there, a roadway, and it will be called the Highway of Holiness.  The unclean will not travel on it, but it will be for him who walks that way, and fools will not wander on it.  Isaiah 35:5-8 (NASB)

I love maps.  Old maps -- folding maps -- wall maps -- all kinds of maps -- globes -- atlases.  They speak of places yet to go -- paths yet to travel.  They give a God's eye view of the lands we live.

Maps show us 3 things (at least): 1) where we are (location), 2) where we want to go (destination), and 3) how to get there (direction).  Maps are absolutely necessary for the JOURNEY.  Without a map, we resort to guess-work.

The Bible is like a road map. It helps us understand where we are, where God wants us to go, and His plan for how we get there.  It is a kind of spiritual cartography.

Maps show roads, highways, cities, rivers, everything.  Isaiah speaks of God's prescribed path for us.  He calls it the "highway of holiness."  Interesting name.

The word "holiness" (in a negative sense) conjures up images of austerity and severe devotion.  That may be just my own personal misconception, but I have to overcome a rather Listerine taste associated with this idea of "holiness."

I really need to get over that misconception, because "holiness" is one of the greatest words in the Bible.  It doesn't just mean moral purity.  It means separated unto God -- immersed in God -- saturated with "The Magnificent OTHER."  Holiness means living the "God Life".  That means all the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 2:22-23) -- love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.  The Bible speaks of "the beauty of holiness" (I Chron. 16:29, II Chron. 20:21, Ps. 29:2, Ps. 96:9).  Imagine the embodiment of pure beauty.  That's coming close to what holiness is -- to what God is like.

Isaiah tells us we are on the Highway of Holiness.  Holiness means wholeness, completeness, symmetry, beauty.  As we walk this path, we will see miracles.  Blind people begin to see.  Deaf people hear.  The lame learn to walk and the mute learn to shout for the first time.  Scorched places become luxuriant pools.  It is awesome.

I want to walk on that road.  I want to make that journey.  How about you?  The farther up this mountain we climb, the purer the air becomes.  Let's walk this road together.

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