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Monday, December 14, 2009

Prepare the Way of the Lord

Prepare the Way of the Lord

For many centuries the nation of Israel had been waiting for their promised Messiah. Prophets had foretold the Saviors’ birth and the Scriptures and Old Testament laws were full of references to this promised Hope. But still the people weren’t ready. They were slow to understand.

That first coming of Christ was so powerful. Isaiah 60:2 tells us, “The people sitting in gross darkness beheld a glorious light.” Eternity was breaking in! There were signs in the heavens – a special star. The shepherds in the fields were knocked over by the brightness of the angels praising and singing all around them in the sky. They hadn’t been ready. They were slow to understand.

And so in Luke 3:1-6 it tells us that the word of God came to John in the wilderness to prepare the way of the Lord. God didn’t call a rich ruler to prepare the way for Jesus. He didn’t raise up an important leader to proclaim that the marvelous Gift of Salvation was among men. He called John the Baptist, a simple man who lived in the wilderness, to spread the Word that the Savior was coming. The Messiah was here. The kingdom of God was at hand. God’s people didn’t need to remain in darkness, despair, depression, bitterness, doubt or bondage anymore. The Gift of Salvation was being given. Radiant luminous living was their inheritance and ours too.

Luke 3:3-6 tells us that John obeyed God and walked from house to house around the Jordan calling people to prepare. Their Savior was at hand and they needed to get themselves ready for Him. John shouted out to any who would listen that the way to get ready for the coming Savior was to repent and turn from their sins. Many people followed John as he ran from town to town urging people to repent. Along with calling everyone to turn from their sins, John cried out, “Prepare the way of the Lord, make His paths straight. Every valley shall be raised up, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” Luke 3:4-6.

“Every valley shall be raised up,--“ This doesn’t say that God will only take care of some of the valleys. But Scripture says, “every valley”. Does that mean that the Savior will right all the wrongs, raise up all the oppressed, make all the un-important become important, and cause the last to be first? And every mountain and hill made low.” Will the proud and arrogant be put down, the first now made last, the ones who oppressed others are now stopped? And the “crooked and rough places will be made straight.” How many rough or crooked places are there in your life that you are waiting for the Savior to make straight? Isn’t it almost too amazingly wonderful to imagine?

This is the time of the year that we put up decorations and buy gifts and send out our Christmas cards. We’re all busy preparing for Christmas. But are we listening to John’s call? Are we busy preparing ourselves to meet our Savior? The message is still the same. John first preached regarding the need to repent. Let’s not be slow to understand. We need to search our hearts and repent of any ill will or lack of forgiveness for anyone that may still linger there. Then John urged people to make His paths straight. Does that mean that we should love justice and mercy and make His path straighter in our lives with kindness? How are you preparing yourself for your Savior this Christmas? Are you ready? Are you making the paths straight for Him in your life? What gift will you bring Him? Will you give Him your heart?

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