“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.’” (Isaiah 40:3-5 NKJV)
All or parts of this passage are quoted in each of the four gospels to describe John’s call to prepare the hearts of the people for the coming Messiah, Jesus. Those who heard him preach realized that he had a power from God and asked if He was the Messiah, but John made it clear that he wasn’t the Messiah, he was preparing the way. The allusion here is to the visit of a king, or, in the case of Roman times, the emperor. Kings back then didn’t have Air Force 1 to fly them places, they didn’t have an armored limousine. They either rode on horseback, took a carriage, or were carried on a litter. The roads would be prepared so the king would have a smooth ride. You wouldn’t want inclines of any type, so as much as possible, The roads would be made straight and smooth to welcome the visiting monarch. In a spiritual understanding of that idea, this was John’s job as he prepared the hearts and minds of people for the coming Messiah.
I’ve nicknamed one of the roads on the way to our house “Patchwork Quilt Lane.” It tends to get potholes, and the city, instead of fixing it properly, pours asphalt into the holes and hopes that will do the trick. It doesn’t help a whole lot. It does create an interesting visual effect as the patches dry in different colors, creating the effect that gave me the idea for the nickname. While it would be inconvenient for many of us, what the city needs to do is take out the old road and build a new one that won’t keep falling apart. That’s how God works in us. He doesn’t throw a patch over those things we used to do allowing us to continue with the same sins in our minds. He tears us down, destroys the old way of sin in our life, and rebuilds us in His image. No longer are we stained with the potholes of sin that we’ve sought to cover up, we become a new creature in Christ. Sometimes that process is painful or inconvenient, but the rebuilt, the new you is worth any price.
Lord, tear me down and rebuild me in Your image every day. May my life be a pathway to lead others to know You.