A voice of one calling:
“In the wilderness prepare
the way for the LORD;
make straight in the desert
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 people will see it together.
For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” Isaiah 40: 3-5
The listener or reader of these words in ancient times would have recognized that this is an announcement of a coming King. When the King came to your community in ancient times, you built him a new road. Because building highways and boulevards was symbolic of what Kingship is all about.
Knocking down barriers and bridging gaps showed that, just as we get rid of all the resistance to physical presence of the king, we are also to remove any personal resistance we might have towards the king. We are not supposed to hold anything back.
When authority is rightfully exercised it’s like rain falling on parched ground for anyone under that authority. Under the right leadership, flourishing abounds.
That’s the idea here; when the King comes to the impassible wilderness it will become passable. The King comes to a desolate and uninhabitable wilderness it becomes habitable. So, the coming King will display his authority and bring healing to the land.
However, this is no ordinary King. When human Kings come you build a bridge over the ravine, but when this King comes the ravine vanishes. When human kings come a better pass might be constructed through the mountains, but when this King come the mountains are brought down.
Isaiah is drawing on one of the deepest and most enduring hopes of the human race; that the whole planet is a desolate and like an uninhabitable wilderness. Death, disease, war, poverty, strife, abuse and brokenness are common place and yet, there is coming King that can put things to rights.
In the movie Lord of the Rings Return of the King there is a scene in which the steward of Gondor, who has occupied the throne for generations has gone mad and, with his two sons dead at the hands of the army of Mordor, decides to commit suicide in the funeral pyre for his son Faramir. At the same time the heir to the throne of Gondor is approaching with a liberating army. So, the usurper is leaving the throne and the rightful heir is returning. It is a very low moment; darkness all around, storms of war rumbling and hope is all but lost.
The best and deepest stories understand that there is an ache in us for a King that will put things to rights and bring healing to the land.
Why? Because it suffers under incompetent managers or stewards. And when the ultimate King comes He will bring healing.
“…all mankind together will see it.” vs. 5
This is the King of the whole world. If the whole world is going to see it, where is he coming from? From outside the world.
Isaiah is saying there is coming a true King, who has absolute authority and bring absolute healing.
Isaiah says, “Wait, He is coming!”
But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40: 31 NKJV
Wait means obey. You are not treating Him as King unless you are willing to say, “not my will but Thine be done.” In every ravine and mountain of my life.
The hardest thing to give is “in.” ~Elizabeth Elliot
Wait means relax “God, your schedule not mine. I accept the fact that I don’t know what’s best. I humble myself underneath you.” Worry is always a resistance to the Kingship of Jesus. Worry always means if I were in charge I would do a better job.
Wait means expect. Hope. Wait means if the Lordship of Jesus is a healing influence then I am not treating God as King unless I have high expectations of what He can do through me.
Some are not treating God as the Great King because all they can see is the great problems in their world. Problems in politics, problems in the family, problems at work, problems at church, problems in the economy, problems in life and we sigh and say, “that is just the way things are going to be.”
When you have that outlook, you reveal you are not treating Him as King.
Thou art coming to a King,
Large petitions with thee bring;
For His grace and power are such,
None can ever ask too much;
None can ever ask too much. ~John Newton
To the degree you relinquish the sphere of your world under His Kingship – – – there is healing. While these last verses Isaiah 40 have been special to me for years for their poetic beauty it wasn’t until this recently that I finally had a answer to a question that has bugged me.
Logically the order should be as follows:
- I will walk and not faint
- I will run and not grow weary,
- I will soar on wings like eagles.
But that is not the order. According to Isiah, the correct order is…
Walking is the point. Sometimes you will soar, but you won’t always soar, but you will always be able to walk…when Jesus is your King.