Isaiah 40:1 "Comfort, O comfort My people," says your God.2"Speak kindly to Jerusalem; And call out to her, that her warfare has ended, That her iniquity has been removed, That she has received of the LORD's hand Double for all her sins." 3A voice is calling, "Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.
Its been many years since the beginning, many years since the creation, many years since man fell into sin, and across all that time, God has spoken and continues to speak, and his message is characterized by words of comfort. God continues to speak to us, and we are not perfect, and we do not always follow in the paths of God, and we do not keep the commandments perfectly.
God hates sin, but he loves us. God may not approve of what we do, or fail to do, but he doesnít disown us, we are still his people. God speaks to the heart, like a good parent, he lets us know that by our sin we have disappointed him. God lets us know that we have not always been walking the right way, and calls us to repent. And this is what true comfort is. For God gave us His law for our good. And so God speaks to our heart, and we are ashamed, for we can se our sin, and we can see how much it has hurt God.
And thatís the wonderful thing about the word of God when it speaks to us. It speaks to our heart, is shows us our sin, and it calls us to lay down our weapons, and to end our rebellion against God. God spoke to our heart, and we see that our rebellion is futile, we cannot over come the power of Almighty God, and so God has brought the war to an end.
It happened in a strange way, for the war ended when God sent his Son to us. God sent his Son from heaven, to live with us on earth. God sent us his Son to teach us about God, so that we would no longer fight against him. God sent his Son to teach us of a God who loves us, and who would die for us, that we might have peace, joy, life - all the things which were lost when man first sinned. God sent his Son to set all this right, even though it meant suffering a death for him. It is this hope that we remember during Advent, for it is the fulfillment of this hope, which makes Christmas the celebration it truly is, for the hope is for a redeemer to come and set us free. And Christmas is the redeemer come, born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of Herod the King.
And if the message of Advent is hope. The response it calls from the hearts of all who hear, is - to prepare. Its a simple thing really, God is coming, get everything out of his way. God is coming, get everything out of the way of those who would come to God, the God who saves, the God who preserves, the God who loves.
OK, everything out of the way? Good, cause thereís a next step too. Some of the people who may want to get to God might be old, or crippled or both. walking on the level is OK, but going up and down is more than they can handle, its time to remove these barriers as well, so we are called to do earth moving. take the tops off the hills, fill in the low places, make it handicapped accessible, after all, God is not just for the physically fit, salvation is something that all people want, and so God calls on us to prepare the way, so that all people might come to him,
And thatís the job that we spend the rest of our life doing, because we want to. We want to be close to God. We want the salvation he gives through Jesus Christ. And because its so good, we want to help other people to find this great gift of God in Jesus Christ. And thatís good, for often the biggest obstacles we face are ourselves. Sometimes we donít want to help, saying whatís in it for me? Sometimes pride gets in the way. Sometimes its something as simple as not wanting to share.
Everyday Satan keeps trying to break up the road and put up detours. Everyday temptations arise. But also every day, God brings people to us, so that we might share with them the hope that is in us, and tell them the good news of the Savior, Jesus Christ.