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Prepare The Way

Isaiah 40:1-5 (VOICE)
“Comfort, comfort My people,” says your God.
“With gentle words, tender and kind,
Assure Jerusalem, this chosen city from long ago, that her battles are over.
The terror, the bloodshed, the horror of My punishing work is done.
This place has paid for its guilt; iniquity is pardoned; its term of incarceration is complete.
It has endured double the punishment it was due.”
A voice is wailing, “In the wilderness, get it ready! Prepare the way; make it a straight shot.
The Eternal would have it so.
Straighten the way in the wandering desert to make the crooked road wide and straight for our God.
Where there are steep valleys, treacherous descents, raise the highway; lift it up; bring down the dizzying heights.
Fill in the potholes and gullies, the rough places. Iron out the shoulders flat and wide.
The Lord will be, really be, among us. The radiant glory of the Lord will be revealed.
All flesh together will take it in. Believe it.
None other than God, the Eternal, has spoken.”

In Isaiah we find the Israelites yet again in a strange land. They have been exiled into Babylon. The Israelites are longing for their home. It seems to be a hopeless situation for them. But in this they experience an inroad of God’s grace. He says to them, “Comfort, comfort My people…”. Comfort is a word that has close meaning to courage and strength. He is telling them to keep going. To have hope that they are still beloved by God and he has something even better waiting for them.

This is a mirror image of what happens centuries later as John the Baptist prepares the way for Jesus. In Mark 1 we see the prophecy from Isaiah repeated.

“The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, as it is written in Isaiah the prophet: “I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way—a voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’”

As people gathered to be baptized by John at the Jordan River, he was making a way, clearing a path for the Mighty God, Jesus, to save his people and finish what he set out to do.”

God appears when it seems like all hope is lost. He brought hope to the Israelites in a desolate place. And again Jesus brought hope when he came as Messiah. It certainly didn’t look like what anyone expected, but hope can be found in the unlikeliest of places. And He still comes as Mighty God to deliver us from the Babylon of our lives. Marlena Graves says: “During Advent, we’re reminded to trust the Promised One who came to us as a newborn babe yet held all the power and might of the universe and beyond in his tiny hands.”

Are you believing for deliverance? Do you trust that God stills shows up in spectacular ways still today to comfort and give us courage and strength?

Lectio Divina Practice
As you walk through the Lectio Divina today, read the scripture above and meditate on it, allowing the Holy Spirit to reveal himself to you.

  1. Silencio: Come into God’s presence. Quietly prepare your heart to meet with and hear from Him.  Slow down, relax, release the noisy thoughts that crowd your mind over to him.

  2. Lectio: Read the scripture above slowly and out loud, let words resonate with you. Be aware of words that stick out to you. When a word or phrase grabs your attention, stop reading. Sit with it. Open your hearts to what God is saying to you. Underline the phrase, make notes of what you’re hearing. Don’t analyze it or judge it. Listen and wait.

  3. Meditatio: Meditate. Read the Scripture a second time out loud. Savor the words. Listen for any invitation that God is extending to you in this word. Reflect on the importance of the words that light up to you.

  4. Oratio: Respond, pray. Read the Scripture a third time. Now is the moment to enter into a personal conversation with God. There is no right or wrong way to do this. The important thing is to respond truthfully and authentically. What feelings has the text brought about in you? Talk about where you are feeling resistant or want to push back, and of where you feel invited into a deeper way of being with God.

  5. Contemplatio: Contemplate, rest and wait in the presence of God. Allow some time for the word to sink deeply into your soul. Yield and surrender yourself to God. Before you leave, you might consider a reminder that can help you dwell on this word throughout the day.


Family Moments
Read Isaiah 40:1-5 together. What are your favorite “comfort” things? A blanket, a toy, a food, an activity. Have fun with this, talk about traditions and fun things that bring comfort to you and your family. God is always there for us, to comfort us, whatever the circumstances we find ourselves in. We can trust Him to be there for us, always.