The Highway of Holiness
Our country has a very extensive highway system. Highways are usually nice, straightway (or close to it) paths to common destinations. They are well mapped out and safe to travel on. Even in ancient times, highways represented the same things—well-traveled and safe paths to common destinations. For people who traveled mainly by walking or riding and who lived in constant fear of bandits, highways were something of which they were grateful.
Isaiah wrote of a highway in Isaiah 35. "And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it. It shall belong to those who walk on the way; even if they are fools, they shall not go astray. No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there. 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" (35:8-10). In chapter 35, this highway would be established at some point in sinful Judah's future, ushering a new age of God's glorious relationship with mankind. The weak would be made strong, the fearful brave, the sad happy, and the infirmed and handicapped whole again. In the middle of this age of spiritual renewal would be a "way of holiness." It would be traveled only by the righteous, and if they stayed on it—even if they were "fools"—they would remain safe from any harm. Its endpoint? Zion—the city of God.
What is this highway? Many answers have been suggested over the years. Some, that it is the word of God, which acts as a "lamp to my feet and a light to my path" (Psalm 119: 105). It is certainly true that when we follow the path scripture lays down, there is unparalleled safety for us. But, this seems to be something they did not have yet—and they had God's word. Others, that it represents the church established by Jesus Christ. When we are in it and faithful, then there is safety for us certain guidance toward our destination—heaven. Still others suggest that is a general reference to Jesus Christ, the "way, the truth and the life," our only way to the Father (John 14:6). While there may be a specific application to one of these, generally, there must some reference to all three, since it is all three together that provide our only source for spiritual guidance and safety. We must avail ourselves of God's word, the redemptive work of His Son and the community of the church if we are to hope to make it to heaven one day.
The main thing we ought to get from this is that God provides a way for us to live a spiritually contented and safe life that will ultimately lead us to heaven with Him. He has seen to our safety, and He longs to bring us to Him if we will only travel on "the way to holiness." Are you on it today?