And the ransomed of the Lord shall return

and come to Zion with singing;

everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;

they shall obtain gladness and joy,

and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

Isaiah 35: 10


There are a few essential questions that need to be answered in order to attempt to understand what Isaiah is saying. First of these to me is who are these people who have been ransomed by the Lord? Then what were they saved from, and what price was required to set them free? The obvious and immediate answer to who is that this is the nation of Israel, and that concept works in a purely historical sense. However, I don’t generally take God’s word as being solely about the history portrayed. So, who else could be on view here?


It seems that the Prophet is also looking ahead to the even greater ransom that was paid by Jesus. In that case, Christ did suffer and die for everyone who would live throughout history until the end of time. As God grants to all people the freedom to choose to accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, His ransom is available for all people, and it is effective for any of us who make that decision to follow Christ. Thus, in Christ we are saved from the slavery of sin and its penalty of death. Without Christ this enslavement to sin controls us now, and the death that it brings permeates our daily lives and separates us from God for all of the eternity that follows after our earthly existence ends.


Yet, in Christ our lives are profoundly changed. This is a change that takes place at the deepest levels of our being. It is brought about as the Holy Spirit works the miracle of rebirth in us. This happens at the time of our acceptance of Christ, and it continues throughout the rest of our lives. God gives us no promise that life in this world will get to be easier or that we will not suffer or endure pain and grief. These are a part of the nature of this world where we dwell. However, the freedom that comes to us through knowing Christ and by way of the Spirit’s guidance of our hearts and minds into His truth and love does bring a song to our lips and the joy of deep peace to us. In Christ we walk daily on the holy ground of Zion, and the presence of the Lord comforts us and drives away our sorrow and distress.