Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Paradise Returned: Part 3
The Highway of Holiness
* Please read the Introduction through Part 2 first.
We've looked at two steps of God's pattern - the Garden of Eden and the Holy of Holies. Both are perfect examples of intimately beholding the LORD. In both places, one could encounter the glory and wonder of God. But as we know, we can't enter either today in their original state, so what do we do now? We must know where we are headed and, of course, how do we get there?
In a recent gathering, a small group of us discussed Isaiah 35:8 which states, “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”. As we then began to sing an impromptu song about this “highway”, it was as if I could literally see it. No, it wasn’t some grandiose vision that appeared on the wall or anything, but I could see it nonetheless. It did not look as one might think it would. In fact, it didn’t look anything like I would have thought either. There was the main road that looked quite average. It was paved, concrete perhaps. A line of shrubbery lined the right side of this road. As I was moving slowly on this interstate-sized road, I noticed a break in the shrubbery ahead, on my right. I stopped and looked. What I saw was a path that was about ninety percent grown over with grass and moss. It did not look well-traveled at all. In fact, it was almost indistinguishable as even being a road. As I looked down the path, I could not really see anything. No gates of pearl or streets of gold, just an old road that seemingly led nowhere. The LORD spoke to me clearly regarding this. He said, “What you see is the road less traveled, the narrow way. Few have chosen to journey down this road. Few choose to leave the wide road and embark down this little known path. This is the highway, the path of holiness. This path is intimacy with Me and few choose to travel here.”
One cannot head down this narrow, grown over path until they are biblically born from above. There must be a regeneration that has taken place. You do not find this path by accident! A time when one lays down his life of flesh for the life of the Christ. One must exchange his past, present and future for Christ’s – making His identity their identity. True repentance, or turning, must be present for one to embark on this journey of holiness. Only with the mind of Christ can one ever move closer to holiness and righteousness in the eyes of the LORD. There is absolutely no other way.
I believe that this path, this highway, leads to the fulfillment of our destiny with the Father. He is the One who draws all men to go down this path and He alone calls us to exit the wide way and follow His voice. Only those who have eyes to see and ears to hear will even know it is there and it will likely be a tough exit off of the wide interstate that is conformity and traditions. Whenever one is moving with the flow, surrounded by the masses, it will not be easy to move out. There are many lanes of sin and disobedience to cross before getting there. And after you get past those, lane upon lane of religious traditions and doctrines await you. Before one must choose to exit the easy way, he must be assured that he will continue no matter what opposition comes. No matter how many honk their horns and yell obscenities, you must go on. (And these just might be your “Christian” friends and family I’m talking about here!)
I want to make something VERY clear – I do not believe that the wide road that most travel down has anything to do with “the world”. I believe that it is addressing the religious who profess Christ with their mouths yet do not know Him personally as their Savior and LORD. I will reiterate and elaborate on this, via Scripture, a bit more later.
“And there will be a highway from Assyria for the remnant of His people who will be left, just as there was for Israel in the day that they came up out of the land of Egypt.” Isaiah 11:16
”Go through, go through the gates, clear the way for the people; Build up, build up the highway, remove the stones, lift up a standard over the peoples.” Isaiah 62:10 and 11
“A voice is calling," Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness; make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.” Isaiah 40:3
”For My people have forgotten Me, they burn incense to worthless gods and they have stumbled from their ways, from the ancient paths, to walk in bypaths, not on a highway.” Jeremiah 18:15
The “highway” that we are encouraged to build up is “calal”, an “exalted, highly esteemed, elevated and prized” way. We have settled for the lowly way that is easy to tread and is full of traffic, but has no eternal reward. It is time to remove the stones, clear the way, build up the highway and lift up the “nec”, the signal, the sign, the banner that Christ is LORD and He alone is Who we worship and represent!
In Psalm 102:19, the psalmist tells us that “[God] looked down from His holy height; from heaven the LORD gazed upon the earth”. The word used to describe this holy height is almost identical to the one used to define the highway. It is a lofty way, a “high” way, an elevated way where God dwells. This is why we must be building up a highway, for it is where God Himself resides.
So where is this highway leading? Where is it taking those who choose to tread upon the narrow path?