“Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.” (Isaiah 62:4)
Generationally, I sit between people who survived the Depression, and those who no longer need wristwatches because they have smartphones.
I thought about this tonight as I turned off the Bose playing Jack Johnson and decided to watch “Classic Gospel: Ryman Gospel Reunion,” hosted by Bill Gaither. The program was a few years old—Vestal Goodman and J.D. Sumner were still with us. Other artists with arcane names, such as Squire Parsons, gave me a warm feeling, as I recalled “simpler times.”
One of the songs featured on this special was “Beulah Land,” written by Edgar Page Stites and John R. Sweney. As with so many things going on in our world today, it reminded me of Bible prophecy.
“Beulah Land” was a name coined by the prophet Isaiah in the eighth century B.C. Its use comes late in the biblical book of Isaiah, and refers to the Land of Israel.
Some commentators attribute this passage to the Jews’ return from the Babylonian exile, which indeed occurred a few centuries later. However, I would argue that the Beulah Land passage is looking far ahead in time, to the Messianic Age. Notice in Isaiah 62 that Jerusalem will be “a praise in the earth.” The Jews are referred to as “the holy people” and the “redeemed of the Lord,” with Jerusalem being “a city not forsaken.”
If one reads the Old Testament, one of the recurring themes is the restoration of the Jews to their ancestral land, for a final time. This is what some refer to as “the Messianic Age” and others, particularly evangelicals, call “the last days.”
Certainly in the past, Jerusalem has been forsaken many times, and the Jews have been maligned and certainly not held in esteem. That will change, according to Isaiah.
Although “the Holy Land” today is in unrest, and the Arab-Israeli conflict seems to have enveloped the whole world, we are promised by God that one day, all will be made right in the world.
What a sweet promise tonight, coming on the heels of the sweet memories of the gospel program. Truly, the days we think of as simpler were probably not better. Bible prophecy tells us that better and sweeter days are ahead.