Withstanding Messiah’s progress
‘The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain.’ Isaiah 40:3–4
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Isaiah 5:1–7
The state of the Jewish church and nation and the heathen when our Lord came: a wilderness. Israel, once the beloved people, was now, with a few exceptions, totally degenerated. The Lord’s vineyard brought only wild grapes. They had the temple, the Scripture, the name of Abraham’s seed. The prophet’s lamentation (in 1:21) was still more applicable afterwards: How is the faithful city become an harlot!
The heathen world is described as sitting in darkness and in the region of the shadow of death. Philosophers had talked of wisdom and morality from age to age. But their speculations were mere swelling words of vanity, and did no real good. There were philosophers, poets, painters, musicians, eminent in their way, but the world was buried in idolatry and abominable wickedness (Romans 1:23 to the end). Everything was diametrically opposite to the design and spirit of that kingdom the Messiah was about to set up, and therefore disposed, as the event proved, to withstand his progress.
Happy are they, to whom the LORD
Though men despise them, or revile,
His gracious name makes known!
They count the trial small;
And by his Spirit, and his word,
Whoever frowns, if JESUS smile,
Adopts them for his own!
It makes amends for all.
Then mountains sink at once to plains,
Though meanly clad, and coarsely fed,
And light from darkness springs;
And, like their Saviour, poor;
Each seeming loss improves their gains,
They would not change their gospel bread
Each trouble comfort brings.
For all the worldling’s store.
SERMON SERIES: MESSIAH, NO. 2 [3/4], ISAIAH 40:3–5