Tuesdays are for the Old Testament
There’s great treasure in some places which look worthless. Then again, maybe there are some snakes to clear out. Isaiah 35 describes this in Israel. Luther applies it to the Church.
Luther, Martin, edited by Jaroslav Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, translated by Herbert J.A. Bowman) Luther’s Works, Vol. 16, Lectures on Isaiah Chapters 1-39. St. Louis: Concordia, 1969. Logos Electronic Edition.
“Isaiah Chapter 35” pp. 299-306.
Commenting on Isaiah 35, Luther identifies the text as a description of the Church. The Church replaces the work of Israel. The desert scape in verses 1-2 signify a place that looks plain, even barren. However, it has joy and beauty hidden (LW 16, 299). In verse 3, Luther notes that the Church appears weak and downtrodden. This is the work of Satan (LW 16, 300). Continuous distress leads to weariness and discouragement. Yet those who are discouraged can be encouraged. This is done by reminders that God is coming to save his people (LW 16, 302). Verse 5 speaks of eyes being opened. Luther compares this to the desert flowering. It is parallel to the message of Jesus in the Gospels (LW 16, 302). In God’s restoration, described in verses 7 and following, there will be an abundance of water. Luther suggests this will drive out serpents, such as “Erasmus, Zwingli, and Oecolampadius” (LW 16, 303). With the work of the Gospel there will be safe travels (vv. 8-9). The enemies of the Gospel will not be a threat. Luther considers this as the walk of Christian liberty. Even when attacked for the faith, the Christian is secure (LW 16, 305). Verse 10 pictures God’s people returning with great joy.