How many of us can remember the old western movies and TV shows? Towns would be filled with families interacting at the mercantile, travelers bedding down their horses with the livery owner, and, of course, the bang-bang, shoot-‘em-up gunfights in the streets. But, also common to the western theme were “ghost towns.”
This image came to me as I read Isaiah 54:3 today. “For you shall expand to the right and to the left, and your descendants will inherit the nations, and make the desolate cities inhabited.” (NKJV)
This Scripture is a beautiful word of hope, an encouraging promise. It speaks of expansion, inheritance, and revitalization. God tells us here that we have a promise to expand in all directions, to inherit and to revive even places that have become “ghost towns,” those deserted places long dried up and abandoned, those “desolate cities.”
The first time this word “desolate” occurs in Scripture is found in Leviticus 26, as God lays out the promises of retribution for disobedience to His Word. It is a curse for a place to become a “ghost town.” Spiritually, it results from disobedience and sin in some area of a person’s life. As a result, that place becomes deserted, drained of its life and vitality.
However, the good news of hope is that God includes promises in His Word - here and in two other passages (Jeremiah 33:12 and Ezekiel 36:35) - that the desolate places, the “ghost towns,” will thrive again - when right relationship to Him is restored.
Beloved, sin brings devastation and ruin to us. It may appear attractive and seductive at first. But, the after-bite of that ruse injects deadly venom into our hearts. Ultimately, sin results in “ghost towns” in our lives. Abandoned places. Cobwebbed, broken-down areas that once thrived.
But, dear one, the joy of God’s truth reveals hope because even the “ghost towns” can live again. Once a person repents of all known or revealed sin and disobedience, returning to the Lord and receiving His forgiveness and restoration to favor, those “ghost towns” are no more!
God’s Spirit begins to fill them with life, joy, hope, peace, and all the wonderful fruit of the Spirit. He causes vitality to return to those dead spaces inside us. God makes the “desolate cities” to once again be inhabited. He infuses them with vibrant life.
If there is an area of your life that has become a “ghost town,”, perhaps so long dead that you can’t even imagine it ever living again, I have great news for you! There is hope through God’s Word for new life to come to that place! Whatever mess-ups, mistakes, or sinful places we have in our past (distant or near), God’s Holy Spirit can revitalize those areas and cause joy and blessing to thrive in those “streets” again!
You and I have the joy of knowing that long-dead places can live again. The truth of God’s Word declares that we can have no more “ghost towns.” May every area of our lives thrive, filled to overflowing with His Holy Spirit.