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“If you build it, they will come,” is a well-known quote from the movie “Field of Dreams.” The movie portrayed long-dead famous baseball players coming to a baseball field that was built in a cornfield.
It was a touching if fantastical story. What made for a good movie is an actual truth, when God says, “If you build it I will come.”
Build the Highway
Isaiah pictured the construction of a superhighway for God. When a king visited a territory in the ancient world, the road was vastly improved so the king could easily travel to cities along the way.
It shall be said,
“Build up, build up, prepare the way,
remove every obstruction from my people’s way.” (Isaiah 57.14)
John the Baptist understood the importance of paving the way for the King’s presence.
He cried out in the wilderness, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said,
“The voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight.’” (Matthew 3.2-3)
What goes into the construction of a superhighway?
Anyone who has watched the construction of a new highway understands the effort required. The roadbed must be prepared, often requiring raising of valleys and lowering of hills. It is a long and laborious process from start to finish.
How do we prepare for the awesome presence of God in our lives? John taught that repentance is a part of the process.
The Greek word translated “repent” is composed of two words, “to change” and “mind.” Repentance literally means “to change your mind.”
What needs to change to have an easy pathway for God to interact with us?
— Great Value – If we don’t believe that daily interaction with God is a great value, then we won’t prepare for it.
When Interstate 55 was constructed in the late 1960s, the cost was one million dollars per mile. Was it worth it?
Interstate 55 immensely replaced a narrow, winding, and dangerous Highway 61. Traffic safety was greatly improved, trucking took advantage of easier transit, and the quality of life in the region was enhanced.
Is a personal relationship with the Greatest Being of All a value to you? If so, you will devote time and energy to welcome him into your daily life.
— Mountains Moved – The mountain of pride and self-sufficiency must be addressed if we are to clear the way for God’s coming to our lives.
Isaiah addressed pride and self-sufficiency frequently in his book because those attitudes are one of the largest limiting factors to a genuine relationship with God.
— Valleys Raised – The valley of unworthiness and unbelief must be raised.
Think of the woman who had the courage to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment or the one who crashed a dinner party to weep over Jesus’ feet. They overcame shyness and unbelief to be rewarded with a powerful encounter with the Savior.
These are but a few changes we can make that will create an atmosphere for the presence of the Lord. Whatever it takes, let’s do our part to receive God’s presence in our lives.
The Gift of Brokenness
Rudy Ross and I talk on today’s YouTube video about hard times that have humbled us and revealed our dependency on God. We both agree that we hated these times. However, we also knew that they were an important step in our life with God.
Isaiah described the holiness and grandeur of God, but also God’s willingness to be present with the humble.
For thus says the high and lofty one
who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:
I dwell in the high and holy place,
and also with those who are contrite and humble in spirit,
to revive the spirit of the humble,
and to revive the heart of the contrite. (Isaiah 57.15)
Contrite means “to be crushed.” There are instances when pride must be crushed for God to form us into the image of Jesus.
Paul taught that God’s ultimate plan for humans is to conform us to the image of his Son.
“For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family” (Romans 8.29).
Instead of being conformed to the attitudes and actions of the world’s system, we are to take on the characteristics of our Savior.
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12.2).
God so loves people that he wants us to be like the greatest Being to walk the face of the earth. He is at work in our lives to make us like him.
Humbling and crushing experiences assist the process of being formed into the image of Jesus.
If you wanted to form a large rock so that it would fit into a beautiful vase, what would you do? You could reduce the rock to sand and it would easily fit the shape of the vase.
The rock of pride and self-sufficiency resists being formed into the image of Jesus Christ. God uses crushing experiences in life to remove pride and initiate humble obedience.
Years ago, I listened to a pastor who passionately exhorted his listeners to pray for brokenness. I have never had the courage to pray like that.
However, I have learned to not resist times of breaking. God uses them to help prepare the way for his presence in our lives.
About This Blog
Rudy Ross and I discuss this passage on my YouTube channel today. Rudy is a great Bible student and lover of God. You will profit from hearing his thoughts.
Please email your prayer request to firstname.lastname@example.org or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.