In Luke 3 the word of God comes to John the Baptist who is in the wilderness. So often this is where God breaks through to us – in the wilderness. Rarely will we hear it or know it in the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives, particularly when we think we are doing just fine and need nothing (it’s significant, I think, that Luke first tells us about all the governors and rulers – the powerful of the land – before he moves to John in the wilderness). People in the wilderness know they are in need. They know that unless Somebody intervenes into their sorry state they are forever lost. People in the wilderness are desperate.
God hears the cries of desperate people in the wilderness. If you are in such a place today consider that it might be God’s mercy which brought you here. He has a word for you and needs you to hear it. Will you listen? Will you respond?
John responded by going out and proclaiming that lives can and should be transformed. He proclaimed a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins – a life that is turned completely around and marching to new orders.
He then quotes the prophet Isaiah. As only one who has been in the wilderness can do, he points those who will listen to a God who fills the valleys and topples the mountains. This is a God who will exalt the humble and humble the proud.
He goes on to say that God will make the crooked straight and the rough spots level. This is good news! I am so in need of a God who won’t leave me the way He found me in the wilderness! I’m in need of a God who will give me a new life with a new path to walk on while sanding down the rough spots in my life! I can testify that God is still at work doing exactly this! While I still have plenty of rough edges to be worked out and have much growing yet to do in the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) I have witnessed the toppling of mountains in my life which at one time seemed insurmountable.
Do you have rough spots that need leveled or your path made straight? God can and will do it! And it will most likely be through a path you would not have picked for yourself or imagined. God declares,
I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them (Isa. 43:16).
Praise God! I don’t know about you, but this gets me excited! If we will just let go of the reigns, humble ourselves to God’s word, and give up control God will lead us to a place of new life – one we cannot imagine! He will not forsake this!
Finally, John the Baptist reminds us that God does all this so that “all flesh shall see the salvation of God” (Luke 3:6). God is seeking a people for Himself who will reflect the glory of His Son Jesus Christ, the spotless One who had no rough edges or crooked paths but only sought to do that which his Father did. This is your calling and mine. It is the will of God that you and I be holy and sanctified – set apart (1 Thess. 4:3) – and it is for this purpose: That the unbelieving world, the world blinded in the wilderness, would see the salvation of God and come to believe that their rough places can be made smooth, too.
May you be so moved by the word of God that you transition this day from being part of this world which is watching the salvation of God unfold in the lives of others to the part of God’s Bride which is reflecting the light of His glory for others to see.
Choose today to stop being a mere inspector of God’s salvation. Be a reflector of it.
It is happening all around us. God is not forsaking His plan. And it can and should include you.