Summary: How to build a road to God
If Jesus were to come in one year, what do you think Jesus would want you to do? recruit an army? collect weapons? take up donations? build a large, beautiful cathedral? rent the largest auditorium we can find? tell everyone we know that he is coming? put up huge billboards that say, "Jesus is Coming, Be Ready"? What would he want you to do?
Isaiah 40:3-5 says, "Out in the country a voice is shouting, “Prepare Jehovah’s road! Clear off the desert plain for a highway! Raise up the valleys. Take down the mountains and hills. Straighten the curves. Smooth out the rough places. Then Jehovah’s greatness will be revealed and everyone will see it together. Jehovah has spoken!” (all Bible quotations are from the Bible for a New Generation - www.bible4ang.com)
According to this scripture what Jesus would want would be that a road be built. Isaiah mentions this road in other places. It is a literal road that stretches from Egypt to Jerusalem and from Assyria to Jerusalem. The Jews will come to Jerusalem on it.
The way to build this road is to level everything out. Level everything out and make it straight.
John preached this message but no one started building a road. He took it to be spiritual.
What if we were to make this message spiritual? What would it say then to us?
It would say that we need to build a road in our lives to God. This passage mentions three things that must be done to build this road.
1. Take down the mountains.
What are the mountains? Sin - John came preaching that the people need to repent of their sins. If there are sins in your life, they are mountains that make it hard to get to God. You need to take those mountains down.
But there is also the I mountain. We are the gods in our lives. We go where we want to go, do what we want to do, talk about what we want to talk about, and we do not have time to read the Bible or pray. When we do pray, we ask for things that we want. When we don’t get them, we get mad at God. Who is God in this picture?
Isaiah 40:6-8 says, "A voice said, “Shout!”
I asked, “What should I shout?”
“Shout that humans are like grass and all of their goodness like flowers in a field. The grass dries up and the flowers fall when the breath of Jehovah blows on them.
Yes, indeed, people are like grass. The grass dries up and the flowers fall but the message of our God stands forever.”" (The Bible for a New Generation)
When we compare ourselves with God we are grass. We need to take down the I mountain.
We need to humble ourselves. We need to worship God.
Worship is not praising God. Worship is bowing down to God. Worship is what people do when the king comes by. We are to humble ourselves and bow down to God.
2. Make the road straight.
Why should the road be straight? Because the road only goes to one place. That is to Jerusalem, to God. It is not supposed to go anywhere else. We need to make the road straight in our lives so that we go straight to God.
Isaiah 40:9-11 says, "Hey, Zion, go up on a high mountain to give the news. Hey, Jerusalem, shout out the news. Shout and do not be afraid. Tell the towns of Judah, "Here is your God!" Look, the master Jehovah is coming with power. He will rule with a powerful arm. Look, He has a reward and He has a task to do. He will guide his flock out to pasture like a shepherd. He will gather the lambs in his arms and carry them close to his heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with her young." (The Bible for a New Generation)
"Here is your God." This is strange. Zion and Jerusalem are to tell the Jews, "Here is your God." Is it not the job of the pastor to say, "Here is your God?" Have not our churches gotten sidetracked? Have we lost God? Here is your God. Listen.
3. Raise up the valleys.
The valleys are areas in our lives that do not get attention. God is usually in the valley.
Isaiah 40:12-17 says, "Who has measured the waters in the palm of his hand or marked off the sky with the width of his hand? Who has calculated the amount of dirt in the earth or weighed the mountains on scales and the hills on a balance? Who is able to ration out the Jehovah’s spirit? Who knows enough to give him advice or teach him? Has Jehovah ever needed anyone’s advice? Who taught him how to judge? Who was it that educated Him or showed him how to understand things? Hey, the nations are but a drop in a bucket. They have as much effect on Him as dust on scales. Look, He picks up the islands as though they are nothing. All the wood in Lebanon’s forests and all it’s animals would not be enough to make a sacrifice. All the nations are as nothing before Him. They are considered worthless and less than nothing. To whom, then, will you compare God? (The Bible for a New Generation)