by Michael E. Brooks
“A highway will be there, a roadway, and it will be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean will not travel on it, but it will be for him who walks that way, and fools will not wander on it” (Isaiah 35:8 NASB).
On my most recent trip to Nepal I had a meeting with the church in Thankot, a small town just outside Katmandu. The rented room in which the church meets overlooks a narrow, twisting road, which we were told is the first road built in the nation of Nepal, about the middle of the past century. It connected Katmandu with the Indian border, and opened this tiny mountain kingdom to the outside world for the first time in history. To a visitor the road does not look very impressive. Given its history, it was and is extremely important to that portion of the world.
To persons accustomed to U.S. interstate highways or European autobahns an old two-lane road some 50-75 miles in length is hardly impressive. Travel in Nepal for a little while though and one soon appreciates any kind of road, especially one that is paved and wide enough for modern vehicles. In that mountain nation any road that enables one to reach his destination is a great route.
It is easy to make a spiritual application from the above facts and thoughts. To one entangled with this world’s values, goals and thought systems, the path to holiness may seem narrow, rough and even insignificant. Far wider and more impressive routes attract us. Other destinations invite us.
Why should we commit ourselves to the small gate and narrow way that Jesus describes? (Matthew 7:14).
Isaiah gives us a number of compelling reasons to walk that path.
We seek that road first because it leads to holiness. God’s path leads to his eternal kingdom, where eternal life is found. There is no other way to reach that destination.
Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me” (John 14:6).
Salvation is found in Jesus and his church (Ephesians 5:23), and only in them.
Second, we travel that road because of what is not found there. Neither the unclean, nor lions, nor any vicious beast will be found there (Isaiah 35:8-9). This is not to say that those who travel God’s highway will not face trials and tribulations. They certainly will. But those things are not fellow travelers on the route. All who remain faithfully in the path will survive their threat and be protected from them.
Third, we travel that road because of our traveling companions. “The redeemed will walk there, and the ransomed of the Lord will return and come with joyful shouting to Zion” (Isaiah 35:9-10).
The right company makes any journey far more enjoyable. Those who travel the Highway of Holiness are the ones redeemed by the blood of Jesus, who have been given his Spirit (Acts 2:38) and who walk by faith in him (2 Corinthians 5:7). No finer group exists with which to walk on this earth. No other group exists who will spend eternity together with God. With whom else would we seek to be?
Not every road is wide, straight and easy. But those are not always the best roads to choose. Jesus urges us to choose our route wisely because only one leads where we wish to go, with whom we wish to travel.