Isaiah 40; Prepare ye the way of the Lord
There is always a defining moment in every generation. There are individual turning points in which we perceive events that change our landscape forever. This is more so in the spiritual life. The Bible is full of examples.
In the Book of Isaiah from chapter 40, from the prepare ye the way of the Lord prophecy, introducing the Voice in the Wilderness We see the prophetic flow change. Now the prophet is introduced to a wisdom and to a plan of God hidden from eternity now being revealed. We see what we see clearly now after we look back at the unfolding from the Gospel accounts. How Jesus fulfilled Scripture exactly.
Yet in our days we still need to look forward as the Mission of the Firstborn and Only Begotten still is in its unfolding. There are still defining moments to come for which men and women will be part and will initiate.
We live in an age where technology has advanced and where political and social landscapes are forever changing. Those changes are not always compatible to the Kingdom nor the Word which undergirds it. What is needed is a impact to the dimension of the Voice from the Wilderness.
When you consider that John went into the Wilderness and his voice impacted from there that all went out to him means that a vibration from the Wilderness interrupted the normal flow of activity. All dropped their work, their family routine, the going to the synagogue. The Temple goings. Even so in John’s Gospel the chief priests and Pharisees went to ask who he was. Such was the impact.
This voice was not coming from the usual places. It was not saying the usual things. It was not appealing to the political establishment of the day nor the current spiritual leadership or “church conference ” preach of his day.
The Voice simply announced the arrival of a new Kingdom. This reign in the mind of the hearers signified a King was coming to establish that Kingdom. The ground of the hearts of those who heard was ripe. The occupation and subjugation was a offence to the Jewish people.
The line of kings had been broken. It was never explained why. However the king provoked the captivity as in the case of Zedekiah but it was a foreign King who sent them back to rebuild.
So the sound of a new Kingdom has different connotations for those who heard it.
How could John announce it if he had no inner knowledge of what it is?
The desert and the Wilderness had always been in the lives of great men and women of the Bible as a means to strip down ideas and identities. The dryness and stillness soon brings a person in confrontation of how much is man generated and man made.
For clarity and veracity, for efficacy the ideas of the day and the tendencies of the day must be stripped away. The affirmation of God for John’s role had to be discovered in Scripture. He had to know who he was prophetically. “Prepare ye the way of the Lord”. This was his job description.
How was he to prepare? He was to be a voice. He was to cry out.
The way of the Lord, we know from John’s Gospel that John had foreknowledge that God was about to send the Messiah. His father knew what God was about to do with John. It is possible that the events surrounding his birth had been shared.
Zacharias had been filled with the Spirit and prophesied into John’s mission. He had explicitly spoken about the Spirit and power of Elijah. These had to be worked into John, hence the need for the Wilderness. He needed to become that Voice.
We celebrate Nelson Mandela in the history of South Africa for the years spent in prison and his undying hope of a nation freed of apartheid. He got it in his own example and he was freed and became president. No clearer modern example so fits what is needed in the Church today.
His defining moment came as he walked out of prison and with clarity indicated his hope.
There will be defining moments come to us individually so that corporately there will be a way made for the Lord to come! He must come to every generation. Must come into every community.
But for that to take place we must be prepared. How can we prepare the Way for Him, if we have not first prepared our lives to Him?
It may mean rejecting the current circles or be rejected. It may mean being silent for a season. Our wilderness God fashions for us.
Our defining moment comes as we have our refining moment. We cannot define before we refine first!
The wilderness will do just that!
Let us embrace it.