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. (Isaiah 40:3-5)
What does this mean for our lives? This verse speaks of transformation. It speaks of clearing away everything that stands in the way of allowing the King to have free access to our lives, day and night. In reality, it speaks of living a holy life.
The Hebrew word for ‘straight’, ‘Yashar’, is worth looking at closely. It’s a word that can mean a number of things, all connected but with different nuances, but all showing us how we need to live in order to allow the King this free access. Here are some of its meanings;
There is an account in 1 Kings 22:1-38 of the actions of a man that demonstrates these qualities. His name was Micaiah.
We read that Israel’s King Ahab is about to go into battle and summons his 400 puppet prophets to prophesy victory for him. They were men pleasers rather than God fearers. Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, who is with him, is suspicious of these prophets and asks if there is a prophet of the Lord. Enter Micaiah. Right from the start, Micaiah is upright and honours God. He has ‘made straight in the dessert a highway for our God’. Boldly facing kings and prophets he states:
“As surely as the Lord lives, I can tell him only what the Lord tells me”. (1Kings 22:14)
Micaiah fearlessly prophesies King Ahab’s death, followed by Israel being scattered on the hills like sheep without a shepherd.
As a result of his loyalty to the living God and living a holy life, King Ahab had Micaiah put in prison until he returned from battle. However, as prophesied by Micaiah, Ahab never returned from battle, and we are never told what happened to God’s willing servant and prophet. Was he released from prison? We just don’t know. But one thing that is clear is that Micaiah was a shining light in a dark period of Israel’s history. He chose to please God rather than men. He stood alone, apart, fearing God more than he feared men. He was a man of intense loyalty and integrity, a man who was straight, upright and just. Micaiah is a good example of a man who put ‘Yashar’ into practice. He had cleared the rough ground of anything unlawful or unjust and his life became a ‘highway for our God’.
God is looking for the same in each one of us. He longs for deep communion and fellowship with us, but we need to be ‘straight’, ‘upright’ and ‘just’ in our innermost being. That is how we make a ‘highway for our God’.
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