The illustrative text of Isaiah 55 paints a picture of God – a God who satisfies, a God who is present, a God who ways are far greater than our own, a God who fulfills his promises, and a God who transforms the struggles of life into his perfect work. Something about this passage is refreshing. Every time I read it, it satisfies my soul!
Toward the end of the passage, it speaks of the ‘thorn bush’ and the ‘nettle.’ NETTLE? Thanks to Google, I’ve added something new to my knowledge base today.
net•tle (n.) : a tall plant that has leaves with hairs that sting you if you touch them
It can be used as an herb for cooking, but get too close to one of these on a hike and a sharp pain at your ankle will let you know you have crossed one in your path.
The thorn bush piece triggers a more familiar image in my mind. Void of blossoms or leaves, even the sight of it makes you want to take a different course.
Inasmuch as the growth of good things can bring unspeakable joy, the metastasis of cancer, the growing distance between two people in a broken relationship, and even the stress of life can seem to choke out the areas where we would like to flourish. In this world, we are guaranteed to encounter struggles and pain – sometimes more than we think we can bear. Following Christ does not make one exempt from these challenges, but it does set us apart to live eternally with Him.
So, “Instead of the thorn bush the cypress will come up. . .”
“And instead of the nettle the myrtle will come up. . .”
“And it will be a memorial to the LORD, For an everlasting sign which will not be cut off.”
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) Continue to press on, knowing that even the thorn bush and the nettle will be replaced by something everlasting – something that will bring glory to His name!