“The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; Make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth; The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.'”
I found so many interesting tidbits as I studied this verse, I hardly know where to begin. Let’s start at the time these verses were written.
Israel had sinned gravely against the Lord. As a result, God had removed His Presence from them for a while. These verses describe the return of the Lord to Jerusalem.
It was customary for kings and princes to send workers out in advance of their visit to a province of their kingdom. It was the workers’ responsibility to smooth and level the road – to remove any obstacles that would hinder the king’s visit. Isaiah’s prophecy was spoken in this context so that the people would understand. Not only was God returning to them – He was the King of Glory! Preparation was in order.
John Wesley (John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes) made this observation: “God shall by His spirit so dispose of men’s hearts, and by His providence so order the affairs of the world, as to make way for the accomplishment of His promise.”
Can you see where I am going with this? Through Isaiah 40, God is comforting His people with the promise of His forgiveness and reconciliation, BUT, He is also speaking of the Messiah – the King of kings – Who will come in glory to receive them as His own. The way must be prepared, all obstacles removed.
These are the very words John the Baptist spoke as he called the people to repentance. He said, “I am ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Make straight the way of the Lord,”‘ as the prophet Isaiah said” (John 1:23). (I love God’s foundational Truths.)
The Lord is preparing for His return. The world is in turmoil. He is calling the church to repentance, to holiness. He is calling us to make a choice, “Choose this day whom you shall serve.” BUT, rather than doom and gloom, anxiety and trepidation, let there be celebration! Our King is coming! Prepare ye the way. Be available to help others remove obstacles in their hearts. Be available to trumpet His return, to shine His Light into the darkness, to cast His love on the fear of a world that is unraveling.
“The glory of the Lord shall be revealed – unveiled – and all flesh shall see it together.”
Can you just imagine?
One last tidbit: The Hebrew name for the New Jerusalem is Yahweh Shammah which means, “The Lord is There”.
Praise You, Father! There seems to be a knowing among Your children that, indeed, You are preparing for Your return. Lord, we have heard these ramblings before, but something is different this time. There seems to be an urgency – a call in the wilderness – to get ready. We are listening. We are Yours. Show us what we need to do.