We’ve got your daily encouragement, written by Brandon Krech.
“A voice cries:
In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord;
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
and all flesh shall see it together,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
“And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
to give knowledge of salvation to his people
in the forgiveness of their sins…”
Luke 1: 76-77
“And he went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet,
The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight.
Every valley shall be filled,
and every mountain and hill shall be made low,
and the crooked shall become straight,
and the rough places shall become level ways,
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”
First thing that comes to my mind about a messenger to lead the way is my youth. I think about when I would receive something in the mail. The excitement that someone sent you a card or something fun. This was before becoming an adult and getting overwhelmed with junk, bills, etc. But the messages were fun, and the cards were sent with love. They just brought me so much joy. Even today I see the same joy filled response in my own children when I tell them they have a letter, card or even a magazine in the mail.
The entire story in Luke is remarkable, from looking at Mary’s virgin birth, to visiting her relatives Zachariah and Elizabeth. How amazing is part of the story where John leaped when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary (Luke 1:41)? Often today we don’t get joy in messengers leading our way, we get too caught up in the earthly things and forget that those are things that we can try to carry, but ultimately the burden is not ours.
Between the News, Facebook, Twitter, mail, school board decisions, etc. the messengers today seem only to care about the destruction and evil of our world, shining a spotlight on hatred rather than love.
Instead of bad news, here we have the fulfillment of the prophecy about John, a relative of Jesus, sent to live Holy in the eyes of God, to prepare the way for the Messiah, and ultimately baptize Jesus (Matthew 3:13-17). Zachariah was a man of God and had dedicated his life to God working in the temple. God knew that his family would be able to prepare John for what he had to do.
It is easy today to think about the spotlight. Everyone seems to want a moment of fame, to have something trending, or to go viral. How would you feel if God told you that your role in His plan was not the main event? It was not for you to be in the spotlight, but to be in the reserves? Perhaps as a support for another athlete, always diligent, always practicing but never competing in the pro leagues- prepping, and preparing for whoever was going to be a professional athlete?
For some that would make us happy, others, that would be a hard pill to swallow. If God would have said, “(Insert Your Name), you are to lead the way for another.” How would that make you feel? You would want to challenge God and doubt Him, try to “prove Him wrong” (which never works from my experience).
How about this- Can you imagine what it would be like to be the fulfillment of a 700 year old prophecy? The pressure. To be told your entire life you are part of a prophecy that will lead the way for your relative who is the son of God the Messiah! You would always be second to Jesus, always know that you’re destined to be the way, you’re supposed to be obedient, and not take that spotlight away from Jesus. I think back to the immaturity of my youth, where if I had been told I must be second to my relatives would have created anger, jealousy, a rivalry that could have potentially made my path, hilly, crooked, rough, and broken.
Yet from what we know of John is that he accepted this humbly and walked out his part with joy. In the future he baptized Jesus with a pure, loving heart. Because of John’s obedience, we get to celebrate the gift of our salvation, the gift that God sacrificed His only son for us so that we can live with Him for eternity. There’s Joy in John taking and following the plan God had for him. Joy that he accepted his path and walked it out to the end.
Thank you Father for loving us and seeing our true heart, for giving us a heart to follow You, to do so blindly in faith and to be obedient to what you call us to do. Even if we do not agree with what you call us for, that we see your peace and love all over it that You know what is best for us and the plans you have for us that we can trust in what you call us to do and that we do so with a joy filled heart. In your name I pray, amen.
Grab your journal and spend some time reflecting:
- What feelings do you feel when you read about being only support to a great athlete?
- Do you have pride in what you accomplished? Or do you recognize that what traits God has blessed you with and have a thankful heart?
- What difficulties do you face when pursuing God’s plan for you? Have you found people that can help you on that path and carry you over the finish line?
Next time God speaks to you or you see instructions in His word that you are to follow, make it appoint to step forth confidently, and watch how God will build you up.
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