"When God Speaks, Things Happen"

The universe, including this earth and all that is in it were created from the spoken command of God at the dawn of creation. (Genesis 1:1-31)  Even in God’s whisper there is power, just as evidenced in the calling and life of Samuel. (I Samuel 3:1-21) The storm was calmed at the command of Emmanuel, God with us. (Matthew 8:23-27)  At Jesus’ command the centurion’s servant was healed. (Luke 7:1-10)

Today’s five understandable words is found in the prophet Isaiah’s tender words to captive Israel. If we look carefully at the context of these inspired words, we find that God takes us through a journey to distance ourselves from sin and its influence in our lives. When God speaks to your heart, O Christian, you had better take notice. Let’s look at this passage in Isaiah:

Isaiah 40:1-5

“Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed; that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins. A voice of one calling: in the desert prepare a way for the Lord; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

There is a preparation of one’s heart that occurs for us to hear His voice effectively. Isaiah reveals four things that allow His followers to clearly discern His message(s) to us:

1.       “Every valley must be exalted.”  Having a low esteem of God’s Word must be elevated, for it originates in a low esteem of God Himself. The base thoughts of doubt and despair must be forsaken through the conquering hope of faith.

2.       “Every mountain and hill made low.” Pride and self-sufficiency must be leveled in preparing the highway, though narrow, for His sure Word to travel to the heart. It was once said that, “divine fellowship is never bestowed on haughty, high-minded sinners”. God’s ears and attention are given to those who are lowly in spirit and contrite in heart.

3.       “The rough ground shall become level.” Other translations read, “The crooked shall be made straight.” Both indicate a heart that wavers and is in need of straightening. One old sage once taught that if you need to teach someone what a straight board looks like, just set a crooked board next to a straight one. Crooked people have been described as ‘crooks’ and are double minded. Such are strangers to the truth of God and thus to the God of Truth.

4.       “The rugged places a plain.” The KJV reads, “the rough places shall be made smooth”. Isaiah is describing the obstacles of sin that must be removed through confession and restoration. The weeds, thorns, and briers of rebellion and disbelief must be uprooted, after which the ‘soil’ of one’s heart may be prepared to receive the seed of faith through the Word of God.

The Creator Who desires to visit you must not find one who was not prepared to receive Him, as the maidens were not prepared for the groom. (Matthew 25:1-13) God has paid the ransom for our sin… twice over: once through the law that exposed our sin, and once through the blood of Christ, Who delivered us from that sin – allowing us to experience the comfort of His love and the strength of His grace, sufficient for all our needs.

The Pharisee, Saul, experienced these four preparatory experiences. He was one persecuted the early church (Acts 8:1), was steeped in the traditions of the law and the prophets, het his heart was hard toward those who followed Christ. Acts 9 tells of the story revealing how God did speak to him, but then prepared Saul’s heart to hear him and the plans He had for him. The risen Christ confronted Saul on the road to Damascus with a question: “Why do you persecute me?”  This question could very well mean, “Why aren’t you hearing me?”

God doesn’t want to be distant from us. Neither does He desire to be a stranger to us. He is willing to reveal Himself to us as we take the time to reveal our hearts to Him. (James 4:8) This passage ends with a marvelous promise: that the glory of God is revealed through the entire process of preparing our hearts to encounter Him. Once our hearts are right before Him, THEN will we be privileged to behold the glory of His mercy and might.

Lord show us your face, too!