I’ve written recently about John the Baptist, who announced the coming of Jesus, baptized Him, and led the way for His ministry to begin. This John was identified with “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight’” prophesied by Isaiah. Today I want to describe a little more about the passage from Isaiah 40:3-5, which says:
“A voice cries: ‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD;
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
and all flesh shall see it together,
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.’”
Is Isaiah talking about a massive, miraculous geological event, creating an easier route for Jesus to take to His kingdom? Perhaps in the future something like this will happen, but I think Isaiah is saying that God’s power over nature is a symbol of His power to reform and perfect us into the character of His Son Jesus.
Before Jesus comes into our lives, we are a spiritual “wilderness” full of “uneven ground” and “rough places.” The path of our salvation begins in this wilderness, an unorganized chaos of thoughts and desires. We are like “children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.” However, the power of the LORD enters our low valleys – our guilty secrets, shame and depression – which will be raised up. It progresses through our mountains and hills – areas of pride, self-sufficiency, and our desire for power – which will be made low. God, with the same power that created the universe, removes all obstacles to the coming of His kingdom to us, and to the world. He has given us His word, His Spirit, and fellow believers to strengthen us, “until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.” (Ephesians 4:13-14)
John the Baptist called his followers to confession and repentance. In announcing the coming of the kingdom of God, John anticipated a time when our internal and external wildernesses will become a paradise. Until then, we each have different hills and valleys, different uneven and rough areas. Until then, the world remains full of false doctrine, cunning, craftiness and deceit.
Today, pray that the powerful voice of our LORD will reach into your wilderness and remove obstacles on the path to His kingdom. Pray that His word and His Spirit will reveal His glory. Pray that all believers will answer the call of “the voice of one crying in the wilderness” to build up His church.