If nothing else in life gives you comfort, these three words should; God has spoken. God is promising a future for Jerusalem, free of war. When He says it, it HAPPENS.
I’m sure you noticed a familiar piece of scripture as we were reading along. “A voice cries: ‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord’” (verse 3a). These words were spoken of John the Baptist. He was the voice crying in the wilderness to prepare the way of the Lord. But there are some punctuation differences here that cause me to pause. This prophecy has at LEAST two meanings. Let’s check them out.
John went into the wilderness and lived there. When he came out, he preached repentance to the people. He baptized them in the Jordan river. Jesus Himself*** said that John was that voice spoken of by Isaiah. We KNOW John fulfilled this role in God’s plan.
Yet the verse here leads me to look more at the wilderness than the voice. When I look up the definition of “wilderness” this is what I get:
- An uncultivated, uninhabited, and inhospitable region.
- A neglected or abandoned area of a garden or town.
- A position of disfavor, especially in a political context.
It also says that the phrase “a voice in the wilderness” means:
An unheeded advocate of reform.
With the punctuation as it stands here, this voice cries to prepare the way of the Lord in the wilderness. Not a voice in the wilderness crying out for the preparation of the way of the Lord. Our punctuation here focuses on place, not person.
This prophecy is still to come concerning Jerusalem and the wilderness. Anyone who knows anything about our world, KNOWS that there is still warfare and conflict in Jerusalem. There is friction between Jews and Muslims over who put what where and whose holy land it is. I believe it is going to take an act of God to finally settle this.
The history of Jerusalem alone says that God has paid her back for her sins. That was the reason for her being carried off into captivity to begin with. Has she been paid double yet? Only God knows. HE knows what the ledger holds and what it will take to break her stubbornness.
Which begs me to ask, are we to speak tenderly to her now or after her warfare ends? The Jews have rejected Jesus, God’s Son, and all He did on the cross. We must hold that ‘line in the sand’ for salvation. Not even the Law of Moses can save. If it could, there would have been no need for Jesus to die for our sins to purchase salvation for us. I would say to speak tenderly in TRUTH. God has never, and will never, disown the nation of Israel. She is forever called His own. And one day, she will recognize her sin of rejecting Jesus and repent of it.
Back to the wilderness. I don’t know if this prophecy refers to a physical wilderness, a spiritual wilderness, or man’s own heart. Wherever this wilderness is located, it will become a place of great importance. It will hold the “highway for our God” (verse 3b). The inhospitable and barren region will become a place where God walks. Every obstacle and stumbling block will be removed. There will be no highs and lows. It will be a place with consistent dwelling with the Lord. No place for danger to lurk. A place without divisions. No place to hide from the Lord. A place where we KNOW we can meet Him. A place where ALL flesh shall see God’s glory TOGETHER.
A place we have 100% chance of seeing. Why? Because “The mouth of the Lord has spoken” (verse 5b). This is a promise we can stake our life on because God stakes His reputation on it. I wonder if this is what will transpire after the battle of Armageddon. We are told ALL FLESH will see it. It apparently is a physical place not only reserved for the righteous.
This does not preclude a dual meaning for this prophecy. This flattening could refer to a spiritual ‘straightening out’ of all the different doctrines into the truth of the Lord. Removing the high places once thought to put one people above another. Filling the valleys with truth so they meet together as one continuous uniform truth of God. NOT a uniform truth of man but the “highway of the Lord.” Where ALL will know the truth.
I will freely admit to having highs and lows in my life. They are emotionally, spiritually, and even physically. There are times when I can barely get out of bed because I’m feeling exhausted physically and emotionally. There are times when I have trouble holding onto God’s promises regarding a season I’m going through. There are times I’m on TOP OF THE WORLD with joy and insight. I think remembering those highs are what sustains me and pulls me out of the lows. Right now, I need them both. I don’t enjoy them both, but they propel me forward. And they mark my progress. When I am finally with Him, I won’t need these markers or incentives anymore. That day WILL come!!!
Father God, thank You for holding onto me through this up and down ride of life. Thank You for giving me flat areas too where I can walk without stumbling, at least for a while. I’m looking forward to the day when I will be always walking without stumbling and in Your presence.
For Jerusalem, I pray Your hand guides her and brings her to the truth. I know. It’s part of Your plan but I don’t think You will be upset by me adding my voice to the prayers for her and her people. For the Jews who deny Jesus, to the Muslims who are looking for truth. They ALL need Jesus! THANK YOU Jesus for offering Your love freely to ALL who seek it.