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Written by Jim Jordal   
Wednesday, 02 July 2014

PREPARE THE WAY OF THE LORD

By Jim Jordal

 Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.  Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD'S hand double for all her sins.  The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.

Isaiah 40:1-6 KJV

These verses from Isaiah were repeated by John the Baptist in Matthew 3 as he announced the coming of Christ. Along with speaking eloquently on the arrival of Christ, both Isaiah and John voiced many of the goals Christ would accomplish, both during his initial 33 years on earth, and again during his millennial kingdom reign. It is my purpose today to look at these goals in the light of what now transpires upon earth.

First, God’s people are to be comforted because their iniquity is pardoned and their warfare completed. Even though this passage is addressed to Jerusalem it applies to much more than the existing city in Israel. It is an indicator referring to all God’s people from the Israelites scattered abroad  to Christians whatever their race or location. The passage indicates clearly that the warfare and trouble faced by God’s people is in retribution for their sins with the ultimate purpose of bringing them back to God. That process of sin, suffering, repentance and restoration was repeated many times during Israel’s history, and in fact seems to happening again today as we find ourselves almost continuously involved in some police action or military incursion somewhere in the world. But this scourge will soon end as we awaken to our national sin and seek the forgiveness already paid for at Calvary.

Secondly, the cry of Isaiah and John was to “Prepare…the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” The term “desert” refers not just to dry climates, but also to wild, unsettled places set aside for the restoration of Christ’s earthly kingdom. As you perhaps realize, I consider the United States to be one such place. A careful reading of our history (not the kind found in highly-edited textbooks) reveals a certainty among many early leaders that our nation has a Divine destiny to create a New Order of freedom and justice able to move far beyond the old European structures of repression and hopelessness. To them and to me this literal revolution in righteousness, freedom, and justice was the beginning of God’s earthly millennial kingdom.

 Thirdly, both prophets announce a redressing of inequities---economic, political, social, and ecological as they speak of the “crooked being made straight,” “every mountain and hill….made low,” and the “rough places plain;” all symbolic of retribution and restoration to the suffering people of earth. Valleys (places populated by the common people) will be exalted, while mountains and hills (prominent nations and cities) shall be made low. This is literally an upsetting of world economic, political, and social structures that for centuries have subjugated human beings to the whims of various powerful domination systems aimed mostly at transferring the fruits of labor by common people to the coffers of the rich and powerful.

And lastly, the “glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it.” This upsetting will not be quietly hidden from public view but will be broadcast from every available source, including the normally silent pulpits of today. The entire earth will know that God rules in the affairs of men and, as Isaiah 55:12 so eloquently says, “the trees of the field will clap their hands.”