The End of Language

Isaiah 55:12: “For you will go out with joy and be led forth with peace; the mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.”

Observation: The whole of chapter 55 is an enticing invitation to salvation.  Addressed both to the Israel of Isaiah’s day and to us, I am fascinated by Isaiah’s use of language to reveal the compellingly beautiful heart of God. “You who are thirsty, come” (see Isa. 55:1). He knows the thirst of my heart, so He offers refreshing waters not only to slake my thirst, but also waters sufficient to become a rushing torrent overflowing all the storms and heartache of life. 

Application: But see how much more He calls me to. Isaiah 55:12 is a culminating, supreme cry of celebration. It is one of many places in Scripture where the capacity of words, of language, to describe the joy of a human heart set on God, utterly fails. So the writer resorts to imagery designed to stun and shock me into astonished attentiveness. Mountains and hills burst into joy. Trees of the field clap their hands in celebration of their Creator God. Just imagine!  Inanimate creation bursting with joy!

Such wild imagery reminds me of another place in Scripture, a more sober place for those who understand God’s agenda. Jesus, entering Jerusalem to fulfill His awful destiny with destruction, calls us to praise and worship Him, declaring that if we fail in this, even the rocks would cry out (see Luke 19:40). 

What kind of a God is this whose salvation is so complete that mountains bow to Him and seas roar their gratitude? The depth of His love for my soul is, simply, inconceivable. Cry out if you will, rocks, but I will cry louder. Clap your hands if you wish, trees, but I refuse to be outdone by you; I will clap with greater vigor than a whole forest! Do your best to break into shouts of joy, you mountains, but my joy shall far exceed yours, for I am the object of unspeakable love. He sacrificed for me; He was resurrected to new life so I could enter into His eternal life. 

I declare to you, O mountains, rocks, and trees, we are alike in this one thing: as I have been made new, so will you be. All the earth will be re-created when the Lord Jesus Christ returns to rule and reign. So bow, clap, and cry out, for you should indeed be excited. Even you will be new, remade like before sin. As I have been.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, all I can do is weep for joy at Your great salvation. Joy bursts from me this morning, Lord. Search my heart, and bring to light any part of me that may be withholding the praise due You.

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