The Bible talks about John the Baptist being a forerunner of Jesus Christ. In other words, God sent John ahead of Jesus to prepare the hearts of the people for the coming Messiah. The Message of John the Baptist was repentance. He called them to abandon their old ways of doing things. He called them away from their sin. John spoke to large crowds of people and never took the glory for himself. He said, “I am the 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 filled in, every mountain and hill made low; the crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth. And all mankind will see God’s salvation.”
Today, the same God that sent John the Baptist to prepare the hearts of the people for the arrival of Jesus is also in the continual process of preparing us for His glory.
John described himself as the voice of one crying in the desert. A desert is a region that is dry and arid due to lack of rainfall. It is a place absent of soil where nothing can flourish. In a spiritual sense, how many can relate to being in a wasteland? Maybe it is a time of testing. A dry time where we stumble our way through a trackless wilderness with no relief in sight. A time of desolation and barrenness where life can barely be sustained much less produced. As John spoke in the desert so God speaks in your dry places. He can lead you through the desert just as He lead the children of Israel. He will not abandon you in your solitude. He promises to spread a table in the very place of your famine. He has made a covenant with you in all your dry places and has promised that “water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert.” Isaiah 35:6b
Every Valley Shall Be Exalted: A valley is a low region between uplands, hills or mountains. It can be described as a depression or a hollow. How many have a few spiritual canyons? Places where we’ve been beat down. Places where we’ve known defeat and failure. Places that when we visit we feel covered in shame. The voice in the wilderness declares the intentions of our God. “I’ve come to fill in the valley with my spirit. Every defeat, failure, and shame of the past, I will fill and raise up.”
The term “raise up” in Hebrew is associated with the notion of a burden, a load, something that is carried. Oppression. Understood in this light, what has been weighing you down? What is the burden that you can’t stand under the weight and pressure of? What has been oppressing you?
Whatever it is, God has come to raise it. He’s come to lift it from your shoulders. He’s come to fill up every low place with the fullness of His spirit so that what is low will be exalted.
Every Mountain and Hill Made Low: In our wilderness experience there are high and lofty places that set themselves in direct opposition to the knowledge of God. Soaring and towering it seems like nothing will ever bring them down. Pride. Unbelief. Anger. Resentment. Bitterness. They are mountains that seem impossible to overcome. Mountains that seem unmovable and defiant in the very face of God. But God says in our spiritual wasteland, “I will go before you and will level the mountains, I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron.” Isaiah 45:2. The word level suggests to be ‘evenly hammered’. God comes like a hammer to pound down those proud and arrogant things that oppose Him. He comes like a mighty blast of air to erode that mountain and cause it to crumble into the heart of the sea. “What are you , O mighty mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become level ground” Zechariah 4:7a.
The Crooked Becomes Straight and the Rough Place Smooth: The word crooked means bent, or curved. Something askew or awry. A deviation. An irregularity. There are crooked things in us – things that just aren’t right. Areas of spiritual and emotional deformity that have long been so bent and twisted we can’t ever imagine it becoming undone. What’s crooked in you? Maybe you struggle with anger. Maybe you can be cold, critical, and cynical. Maybe you are downright nasty. Maybe you have a habit of lying or gossiping. Maybe you struggle with a harsh disposition towards others. Maybe you have a tendency towards depression. Maybe all of these and more! God proclaims that in our desert place, He will make the crooked straight. Isaiah 26:7 says, “The path of the righteous is level; O upright One, you make the way of the righteous smooth.”
Jeremiah 21:9 says, “They will come with weeping; they will pray as I bring them back. I will lead them besides streams of water on a level path where they will not stumble; because I am Israel’s father, and Ephraim is my first born.”
All Mankind will See God’s Salvation: Before every revival there is a preparation. Isaiah 40:5 states that after God does all of these things, “the glory of the Lord will be revealed and all mankind will see it together. ” A visitation from God proceeds a preparation. If you find yourself in a wilderness today, don’t be afraid. Trust in Him. Acknowledge God. He knows the way in the wilderness. And when all is said and done His glory in you will be revealed for all to see!
“See I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19