Isaiah 40:3 “A voice of one calling: In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God.”
In Isaiah’s day, Eastern Kings sent heralds before them on their journeys not only to announce their coming, but to make travel smoother and shorter by clearing away the obstacles, making roadways over water and leveling hills. This prophecy of Isaiah while speaking to the Israelites of his day, was also pointing forward to the coming of Jesus Christ as our savior. This cry was repeated by John the Baptist as he heralded the way for the Son of God. “I am the voice of one calling in the desert. Make straight the way for the Lord” (John 1:23). But John wasn’t concerned with clearing the physical road for Jesus. He was preparing the spiritual road. “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near” (Matthew 3:2). The spiritual roadway for Jesus into our lives and hearts is made smooth by removing sin. But have you considered that it might also help smooth the way for Jesus into the lives and hearts of others? Do we prepare the way for the Lord into other’s lives by making straight paths in our own lives, or do we cause them to stumble?
God’s Word tells us how to make straight paths. “Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil” (Proverbs 4:26-27). “Teach me your way, O LORD; lead me in a straight path” (Psalm 27:11). “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6). “Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble” (Psalm 119:165). So it’s trusting in God, leaning on His Word and understanding and turning away from sin that makes straight paths and keeps us from stumbling. But it also lights the path for others. When someone stumbles, it is because they don’t see something. If we are not aware of and living God’s Word, then others will not see Jesus. So when we say we’re believers, people will stumble over Him because they didn’t see Him coming. Jesus calls us to light the way for others. “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16). That light comes from God’s Word, “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path” (Psalm 119:105). And from Jesus Christ, “…I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). And we will shine like stars in the universe as we “hold out the Word of life” (Philippians 2:15-16).
How is your life a herald for Jesus Christ?
What areas in your life need the light of God’s Word to keep yourself and others from stumbling?