“A voice of one calling: ‘In the desert prepare the way for the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.’ Isaiah 40:3
“This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: The voice of one calling in the desert: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make straight paths for him.'” Matthew 3:3
It is Tuesday of Holy Week. For the last 6 weeks, millions of people around the world have been observing Lent; a time of reflections, prayer and preparation for Easter. During this time of Lent have we been preparing ourselves to truly celebrate? In reflecting on the call to “prepare the way of the Lord,” I wondered what exactly is the Lord asking of us?
In ancient times, to “prepare the way” meant the clearing of debris off of the roads in preparation for royal visits, or for those who were holy enough to travel the roads between temples. In Isaiah’s proclamation in Isaiah 40:3, the road needed to be cleared for the LORD. Since the Old Testament often uses the physical, with overtones of the spiritual to communicate important information, it is believed that Isaiah is speaking of “preparing the way” for the return of the Jewish exiles. God is telling them that he will clear the way for their return. This was a great and wonderful promise.
Matthew 3:1-3 applies the phrase “prepare the way of the Lord” as a call to repentance and the voice is now identified as John the Baptist. “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near,” in Matthew 3:1-2, the spiritual meaning fully takes hold. John is calling for the road to be made straight, clearing the heart of debris in preparation of repentance and ultimately, the coming of the Messiah. Hallelujah!
Today, let us take these verses to heart- literally. In order to do so, perhaps we must ask ourselves a question. What do we need to remove from our lives in order to “prepare the way for the Lord” in our hearts now? May we be ready to celebrate this Easter.
Prayer of Response:
“Dear Lord, I pray that my heart would be prepared to hear and accept what needs to be cleared out of my life in order to prepare the way for you. Please help me to make straight the desert regions of my life, so that my heart would reflect your love. May the walls of self protection crumble so that my desires would align with yours, Lord. I pray this in your precious and sovereign name, AMEN.”
—Submitted by Danielle Hathaway