Spring has come, and what a wonder it is! I love seeing the trees begin to bud, flowers bloom, and luscious green leaves appear before our eyes. All in the course of time, April showers will produce May flowers, and I will fill my table centerpiece with tulips and peonies.
Although I don’t have a garden myself, I love reaping the benefits of those who do. I enjoy going to the store to purchase a bouquet of spring flowers that have come from a garden that has been well taken care of. I’m sure a fully bloomed, well-watered garden is the most beautiful site for any avid gardener.
In the book of Isaiah, chapter 58, Isaiah offers the nation of Israel an image of hope. That image is in the form of a garden.
“And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail” (Isaiah 58:11)
Before the garden image in chapter 58, however, Isaiah writes to the Israelites about the type of fast the Lord desires. The Israelite’s fasting constantly ended in quarrels and fighting, and, to the surprise of the Israelites, the Lord took no notice of their fasting. They desired to seek their own pleasure instead of seeking the will of the Lord. While they fasted, the Lord wanted them to instead,
“loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?” (Isaiah 58:6-7)
The Lord wanted his people to not just participate in a religious practice but to reflect his heart in serving those around them. If they obeyed, the Lord promised to bless them immensely. There was a blessing attached to their obedience. It is the same for us today. The Lord desires to bless all who abide in him. But just like the children of Israel, the Lord wants us to do the work that pleases him.
Let’s explore the four promises found within Isaiah 58:11 and see how the Lord wants to bless those who have an obedient heart. Or, to put it another way, let’s explore how we can be like a well-watered garden.
1. Continual Guidance
“And the Lord will guide you continually…”
How comforting it is to know that we never have to go through life on our own. We have a God who will go before us and continually guide us. Just like he went before the children of Israel as a cloud by day and a fire by night, he will go before us and direct our path. Whether the forecast calls for sunshine and clear skies or the darkest of nights, God’s word will light up our path as his Spirit directs us along the way.
“For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.” (Psalm 48:14)
We never have to be anxious about what move to make next because our God will consistently guide us along our journey.
2. Satisfaction in Scorched Places
“…and satisfy your desire in scorched places.”
A barren wasteland is not the ideal place I would like the Lord to guide me to, but just like the children of Israel, we can find ourselves amid a severe drought. However, contentment can still blossom in the driest of places because the Lord can be our source of satisfaction.
We may want the perfect conditions in life, but even that won’t fulfill our deepest desires. Only the Lord can do that for us, and He promises to do it in the most unforeseen circumstances; a scorched place.
If you are finding yourself in a dry place spiritually, take heart, and allow the Lord to fulfill his promise to you. Even in a sun-scorched place, the Lord will satisfy your desire like nothing else has the ability to do. It is such a blessing to know that streams of living water would flow to us even in the middle of a sun-scorched desert.
3. Renewed Strength
“…and make your bones strong.”
I thank God that I don’t have to be strong in and of myself. I don’t have to rely on my own strength because I serve a strong God who endows his people with strength even in their weakness.
As we walk through dry places in life and face trials on our journey, God promises to strengthen our bones. My strength can give out at any moment, but his strength is reliable and will always be sufficient.
If you are battling weariness, and all of your strength is gone, call upon our God, and he will renew your strength. He will make your bones strong enough to finish the race before you. We are strong in the Lord and in the power of his might (Ephesians 6:10).
4. A Spring Of Life
“…you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.”
Experienced gardeners know the adequate amount of water to supply each plant within their care. They won’t allow their plants to dry out but will have a well-watered garden.
The Lord said he would make us like this, refreshed by him and able to refresh others. We will be like a spring that never dries out. As living water flows out of us, we will be a spring that others can drink from. As we drink the water God gives, it will be like “a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14).
If I thought of my life as a garden, I would want to be a well-watered one. But it doesn’t matter how green my thumb may be; I could never become a well-watered garden apart from the Lord. We have to rely on the True Gardner to supply us with living water. Only then can we become a spring of life.
Blessings Attached To Obedience
As you and I travel through scorched places, the Lord desires to guide us, satisfy us, strengthen and refresh us. All four of these promises are found within one verse but are attached to our obedience. As much as the Lord desires to bless us, he also wants us to obey him and reflect His image to a lost and dying world.
The Lord will fulfill his promises to us. We need only to trust him in the process and do the work that is pleasing to him.
1. There are blessings attached to our obedience. Can you recall a time when God directly blessed you because of your obedience to his word?
2. Are you experiencing a dry place spiritually? If so, how can you intentionally draw closer to the Lord and allow him to satisfy you in that place?
3. If you compare your current life to a garden, would you consider it to be well-watered? If not, what in your life hinders this from being a reality for you?