July 13 – Today’s Readings – Isaiah 40-42 and Psalms 13

Aside from the great encouragement found in verses 20-31 of Chapter 40 – aside from the wonderful messianic prophecy found in verse 11 of the same chapter – we also find a prophecy about John the Baptist in verses 3-5; “A voice of one calling: ‘In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”

I find it amazing that Isaiah could be so specific in describing John’s ministry of ushering in the Messiah. I find it even more fascinating that this prophecy can be directly applied to OUR lives as we “prepare the way” for God to move in our cities and in the lives of people we are encouraging. More importantly we are preparing the way for the Lord’s second coming to Earth. So then, what is this “John the Baptist Ministry” we are suppose to have?

First we have to possess an “expectancy” that we are indeed preparing “a way” for God.
Second, we need to demonstrate a “straight way” in the middle of “a wilderness” of immorality.
Next, our hearts and the hearts of others need to be prepared (re-engineered) – the “valleys” in our lives (the low self esteem and the lack of confidence) have to be brought up and the “mountains” in our lives (the pride and cockiness) have to be brought low. The “rough ground” and “rugged attributes” too need to be worked on.
What does this mean exactly? I believe that we need to seriously submit to the Holy Spirit as He works in our lives. It is the Spirit who empowers us to “prepare the way” for the coming of the Lord. It will no doubt require that we “speak up” concerning the plan of God in this world and in the lives of those we come in contact with.

My prayer is that we let this Scripture become part of our personal sense of mission – that we see it as our task to usher in the presence of God wherever we go. The ministry of John the Baptist was very specific, but the spirit of that ministry is lived out constantly in our lives.

Questions:

1. Are we preparing the way of the Lord at work – at school – in our families – with our neighbors? In which ways are we doing this?
2. Is there anything we can specifically do to prepare the way for the Lord’s second coming?