A voice of one calling: “In the desert prepare the way for the Lord;
make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God.”
Isaiah 40:3 (NIV)
Jackhammers, roadblocks, detours, and major traffic jams are pretty much the norm as our city’s main thoroughfare undergoes massive reconstruction. Soon its irregular pavement, potholes, and unmarked lanes will be transformed into one of America’s leading corridors, welcoming travelers from the Great Lakes of Michigan to the eastern Carolina shores.
Those of us who must maneuver our way daily through this seemingly endless obstacle course will welcome the day we can move from point A to point B unhindered by such “progress.” Roadways, whether accommodating the gleaming chariots of old or the world’s latest hybrid automobiles, have always been in a constant state of repair.
Isaiah 40:3 points toward John the Baptist as the voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God.”
In John’s day, before the arrival of a king into a village or city, the residents not only began sprucing up the market square, but they set out to prepare the roadway for his coming. Great measures were taken to ensure the removal of any large boulders or obstacles that would hinder the king’s entrance into the city. On the day of his arrival, the city would be truly fit for a king.
Today, preparing the way can be compared to rolling out the red carpet for our nation’s celebrities or foreign diplomats. Think of the immense renovation process in a city prior to hosting a major event such as the Olympic Games. Imagine the embarrassment of the people of the city if, upon the Olympians’ arrival, the venues were still incomplete.
Some days our lives and circumstances resemble a broken concrete thoroughfare or dusty wilderness highway as unconfessed sin leaves our hearts emotionally devastated and in need of repair. Potholes, roadblocks, and detours along poorly marked wilderness paths can leave us circling the same mountain time and again with no clear off-ramp in sight. How do we exit this roundabout? How do we restore the highway of our God?
John’s desperate cry in the wilderness states our needed response: “Prepare the way” . . . Repent! “Make straight a highway for our God”. . . Pave the highway! We must humble ourselves before him and pave the highway of our hearts by removing any obstacle hindering the entrance of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Preparing the way requires getting serious about God’s call to repentance. When we humble ourselves before him . . . he will come! And the venue of our hearts will be found “fit for the King.”