June 22 2020
PREPARING THE WAY
One of the questions we often ask when we are going through a desert experience spiritually is "Why am I here?" As we have learned, for the first generation of Israelites their desert was a result of their own rebellion. But a desert can also be God-directed, as when Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness. It can also be self-imposed, as when the Apostle Paul retreated to the desert to be prepared for his ministry.
Why you are in a spiritual wilderness is not as important as what you do while you are there. The Prophet Isaiah gives some insight regarding this:
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 40:3-5)
These prophecies are similar to the words spoken about John the Baptist, who prepared the way for our Lord's earthly ministry (Matthew 3:1; Mark 1; Luke 3; John 1:6-7).
Living in the desert-lands of Judea, John the Baptist spent his entire life preparing the way for Jesus Christ. One day he looked out over the barren land and proclaimed:
...Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water...And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God. (John 1:29-34)
One of the purposes of the desert experience is preparation--preparing the way for a new manifestation of the Son of God in your life. Expect to meet God in the desert, for if you seek Him you will find Him. Moses told Israel that even if they were scattered among the nations because of their disobedience, "...if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul. When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the Lord thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice;(For the Lord thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them" (Deuteronomy 4:29-31).
You make straight paths for God when--in your wilderness experiences--you remove all the distractions of life. Eliminate the useless clutter from your life, suspend meaningless activities, and focus on God. Prepare the way, and He will come.