Wayfaring Men, Though Fools

Isaiah 35:8  •  8 min. read  •  grade level: 8
There is a wonderful lesson for our souls in Isa. 35:88And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein. (Isaiah 35:8): " An highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein." Doubtless it primarily refers to Israel, when the time arrives for God to favor the nation, and bring the people into blessing: but, in principle, it refers to all times.
There has always been a way of holiness: Enoch walked in it, and it was so even under the law, not that man could attain to holiness thereby, but God was in their midst; and the priest had to wear upon the miter a plate of pure gold, on which was graven, like the engraving of a signet, Holiness to the Lord. (Exod. 28:3636And thou shalt make a plate of pure gold, and grave upon it, like the engravings of a signet, HOLINESS TO THE LORD. (Exodus 28:36).) When David brought back the ark of the Lord, he says, " Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness." (1 Chron. 16:2929Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. (1 Chronicles 16:29).) The message that God bid Moses convey to the people was, "Ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation." (Exod. 19:66And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. (Exodus 19:6).) True, comparatively few may have discovered it, and a less number really walked in it; but the failure of the people in no way nullified what God was for His people, and the position He had made for them.
Little need be added to show that God has planned a way of holiness for His people now: " Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ." (1 Pet. 2:55Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:5).) " God hath not called us unto un-cleanness, but unto holiness." (1 Thess. 4:77For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. (1 Thessalonians 4:7).) ("Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord." (Heb. 12:1414Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: (Hebrews 12:14).)
But the point before the writer was more how God's path is to be found, and who are the people that shall be able to walk therein? We read that the outward acts of God were made known unto the people of Israel; but His ways were made known unto Moses. (Psalm 103:77He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel. (Psalm 103:7).) Do we not instinctively place with this, " Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth "? (Numb. 12:33(Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.) (Numbers 12:3).) And this so well agrees with the passage, " The meek will he guide in judgment, and the meek will he teach his way." (Psalm 25:99The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way. (Psalm 25:9).) This then is the spirit in which we should approach God's word to learn His ways. It is not the high-minded and clever that are named here. "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, Ο God, thou wilt not despise." (Psalm 51:1717The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. (Psalm 51:17).)
We also find that none can expect to learn God's ways, who seek to know them out of curiosity merely, nor those who think that, when they have discovered them, it is left to themselves to walk in them or not, just as they please: for thus saith the Lord, " To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word." (Isa. 66:22For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the Lord: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word. (Isaiah 66:2).) Here God graciously classifies the poor, and those of a contrite spirit, with those that tremble at His word.
It is a solemn thing to have to do with God's truth. " To him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin" (Jas. 4:1717Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. (James 4:17).) It is not left to man to pick and to choose, to do or not to do, just as he may think well. It is God that has spoken; who is he that dares to contend with his Maker? God has now spoken by His Son, and has come forth in grace; but, alas! man abuses the grace, just as he did innocency in the garden, and the law under Moses.
It is to be feared that many of the lost will have to bitterly lament that they did not seek grace to profit by what they knew. Listen to what God says of some: " If after they have escaped the pollutions of the world, through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them." (2 Pet. 2:20, 2120For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. 21For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. (2 Peter 2:20‑21).) It would have been better for such to have been ignorant, than to have heard the word, and to have had a knowledge of the Lord Jesus, and then to have acted as is pointed out in the true proverb, " The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed, to her wallowing in the mire." How sad to be compared to the dog and the swine! Oh, that all professors would take solemn warning from God's holy word!
The warnings of God's word seem strikingly applicable in the present day, when men are setting up their own wisdom in opposition to God's word, and hesitate not to refuse what parts they think well, and receive or patronize, after their own fashion, the rest. Do they truly know that they are refusing part of what is really God's word? Well, perhaps, they do not know this, or are not willing to know it. Thousands admit that, in a sense, the Bible is God's word, but affirm that such latitude was allowed to the writers, that they often wrote what was incorrect; forgetting that no conscientious author of even a penny book, would allow his thoughts to be thus misrepresented by his amanuensis. Yet this folly is attributed to the omniscient God.
It is mostly the wise and the learned that make such fatal mistakes. They taunt others with not knowing Greek and Hebrew, in which languages the scriptures were written; and how can any judge of what is written, say they, without a knowledge of the originals? It is very striking that our Lord, who surely did know Hebrew, constantly quoted the Septuagint translation in preference to the original, doubtless, because it was the edition that was best known to His hearers. We are not depreciating a knowledge of Greek and Hebrew; but one taught by the Holy Spirit will understand, through a translation, far better what God has caused to be written, than will one who trusts to his learning and his own natural acuteness.
Let us take heed to the passage we started with:" Wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein." And thus we find that many a poor old man or woman, who can just read, knows a great deal more of truth and what God has revealed, than do some of the learned divines, as they are called.
This, indeed, is what our Lord Himself expressed. He rejoiced in spirit, and said, " I thank thee, Ο Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes$ even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight." (Luke 10:2121In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight. (Luke 10:21).) Oh, that the learned, who are sitting in judgment on God's word and on what He has taught, would quietly weigh this passage. Poor, simple souls gladly receive what God says; they have nothing that leads them to call the scriptures in question, and God blesses their simple, confiding faith; whereas, the learned may have, what they call, advanced views to maintain, and are too often full of high thoughts, and ability to test everything as they think, and are thus not in a right spirit to be taught anything correctly.
Listen again to what our Lord said. He called a little child unto Him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, " Verily, I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. 17:2-42And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. 3And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. 4Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. (Matthew 17:2‑4).)
How contrary is this to what we see around us, and to what is the tendency it may be of both writer and reader, who may unintentionally be influenced by the spirit of the age. To be as a little child! to believe, unhesitatingly, every-tiling that God tells us in His word! this is the way to be taught by the Holy Spirit. Oh, to be more like Mary, to sit at the Lord's feet, and just to drink in all the gracious words that proceed out of His mouth! And then to study all that He has caused to be written, believing it all to be inspired by God, and find it profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that we, as men of God, may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. (2 Tim. 3:16, 1716All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. (2 Timothy 3:16‑17).)