“I will lead blind Israel down a new path,
guiding them along an unfamiliar way.
I will brighten the darkness before them
and smooth out the road ahead of them.
Yes, I will indeed do these things;
I will not forsake them.”
—Isaiah 42.16 NLT
The word “Israel” which appears in the NLT above does not occur in the original text but it is who is referred to. See verses 19-20. God continued to work in the midst of the people, because of his commitment to the covenant. A remnant would survive. The reference here is possibly to the people’s return from exile to their own land.
“… blindness, like darkness, signifies the people’s hopeless inability to deliver themselves. Guidance and light the Lord would provide, as at the first exodus (Exodus 13:21-22)” (Clyde M. Woods, Isaiah, pp. 185-186).
This is what God does for us today as well. See Jesus quoting Isaiah 61.1 in Luke 4.16-21. With God we have hope. No obstacle can keep us from our destination, which is none other than the eternal God himself.
Note that it is God who does all this. He leads and guides, brightens and smooths out. (This doesn’t mean we won’t have difficulties.) He himself guarantees to perform all this. As the great Warrior, verse 13, who gains the victory, he not only destroys, verse 15, but restores. The action and initiative belong to him. Our part is to accept his guidance and follow, willingly walk the road he has smoothed out, enjoy the spoils of his victory.
But there is yet another warning soon after this promise: retreat and utter shame for those who trust in idols, Isaiah 42.17. Israel’s temptation was “metal images.” Ours may be the metal Coin, Colossians 3.5.
- Might we consider that the “new path” today is the one that Christ has opened to God?
- What darkness has God enlightened in your life?
- How has he smoothed out your road?
Powerful God, take me all the way home. Be silent no more. Give us light and life and guide us in the clear way to you.