God’s Call to Repentance

Finally they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”

John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.'”
(John 1:22-23)

Quoting from Isaiah, John the Baptist gives his job description to the questioning Jewish leaders of his day who demanded an explanation about himself.

“Serious and sincere repentance routes us back into God’s will.”
-Robert J. Morgan
These leaders were basically sent to get to the bottom of the John’s actions. Isaiah tells us this about him:

A voice of one calling: “In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. (Isaiah 40:3)

The word translated “voice” in verse 23 of our verses for today is from the Greek word phone meaning a sound or tone made or given forth; a thunderous trumpet cry of a man used here in delivering God’s message. Of this word Plutarch said, “That which brings light upon that which is thought of in the mind.”

“The voice of God is a friendly voice. No one need fear to listen to it unless he has already made up his mind to resist it.”
-A.W. Tozer

John the Baptist was sent to bring light to that which was on God’s mind and heart–a clarion call drawing the people back to Him. Malachi 3:1 also prophesizes a messenger to be sent by God to prepare the way. Jesus quoted this verse in Matthew and said it was being fulfilled in John the Baptist:

This is the one about whom it is written: ‘I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’ (Matthew 11:10)

True prophets were “voices” sent to bring messages from God–messages meant to call the people back to Him. God’s great desire is to get us out of wandering in the desert and bring us into the fullness of a right relationship with Him. There is consistent dryness that accompanies a broken relationship with the Father.

“Throughout Scripture God speaks through kings and queens, princes and prophets, poets and pilgrims. He speaks through weather patterns, barnyard animals, and even the stars in the sky. God is not only creative, but He is persistent in getting our attention and communicating with us.”
-Margaret Feinberg,
The Sacred Echo

God gets our attention to draw us to Him. The greatest demonstration of love toward man was about to be accomplished and God wanted His people ready: “Prepare the way!” “Make straight the way!” Are we not to be about the same in anticipation of His return? Are we not to watch our life and doctrine closely; turning to God for cleansing; listening to His persistent love call; being as prepared for His return as His desire for His people to be prepared for His first advent? This is not a trite matter, rather a hugely important one. Jesus warns us in Matthew:

“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. (Matthew 24:42-44)

“If there is one doctrine I have preached more than another, it is the doctrine of the Perseverance of the Saints even to the end.”
-Charles Spurgeon

Take It to Heart

We want to be faithful and wise servants that are ready on His return! It matters greatly how we live our lives, both for our benefit now and for His ultimate return.

“Let this be a warning to me, O Lord. Set thou a guard before my eyes, ears, and other faculties, lest the world again should enter through these avenues of the heart: if the spark be not speedily extinguished, it will soon break out into a flame: thus sin is of a progressive nature, and its venom spreads very quickly and very wide, unless it be stopped and opposed in time. Watch, therefore, over this unsteady heart of mine, O thou Keeper of Israel; that as soon as it begins to wander from thee, I may be alarmed to flee from sin as from a serpent. Give me grace to look upon every hour as my last; so that being ever wisely upon my guard I may meet thee with joy when my time is run out, whenever it shall please thee to call me hence.”
(K. H. Von Bogatzky)