Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight…
(To children.) In ancient times, especially in Eastern lands, when an emperor or king was travelling through his dominions, men were sent before them to prepare the way. Sometimes they had to make a new road through pathless wildernesses and rocky passes, hewing down trees, cutting a level way along steep or rugged hill-sides, clearing away rocks, and making embankments across valleys, and bridges over streams. Or sometimes the old road was overgrown with bushes and brambles, or washed away by floods, or covered with rubbish which the winter storms and swollen torrents had brought down from the mountains. In some Eastern lands, even at this day, travellers tell us how the roads are often so destroyed in the rainy season, that before a governor or high officer of state makes a journey, the highways must be mended and made ready for him to travel speedily and safely. So when the prophet Isaiah was speaking of the coming of the Lord Jesus, he foretold that some one would be sent by God to "prepare the way," &c. Look at the Gospels and you will see that the messenger whom God sent to prepare the way for His beloved Son was John the Baptist. Now, how did John prepare the way? There were four things which he taught the people, in order to make ready their hearts for the Lord Jesus.
I. TO EXPECT HIM.
II. TO FEEL THEIR NEED OF HIM TO SAVE THEM FROM THEIR SINS.
III. TO REPENT OF ALL SIN.
IV. TO HEARKEN TO HIM, AND BELIEVE, LOVE, AND OBEY HIM WHEN HE CAME. NOW, if the Lord Jesus were coming to the place where you live, would you not be glad if you were invited to help to prepare the way for Him? Would you not think it a great honour and happiness to take one stone out of His way? Oh yes! Your heart would dance for joy, and perhaps your feet too. Who would not like to be a pioneer for Jesus, the King of kings? Well, but don't you know that He really wishes to come; not to pass along the streets, but to come into the homes and hearts of all the people, not to pay a visit, but to dwell there? Then what hinders His coming? Only that people arc not ready for Him. Do you know what God calls a heart that does not love and fear Him? He calls it " a stony heart" (Ezekiel 36:26). Well then, if you do not love and trust and try to obey the Lord Jesus as your own Saviour and King, don't you see that there is one stone to be taken out of His way? How? Just by coming to Him in prayer to make you truly His.
(E. R. Conder, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth;