This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: “A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’” Matthew 3:3

This prophecy refers to God bringing the Jews back to the Promised Land from their exile in Babylon (Isaiah 40:3). Here in Matthew, it refers to John the Baptist calling the Jews back into right relationship with God.

By using this prophecy God reminds his people of his purposes and plans for them. He hasn’t forgotten them. This prophecy speaks to them not only about their history but also their future. God wants his people to return to wholehearted allegiance to him so he can bless them.

Likewise, God calls us to prepare ourselves in order to receive his blessing. Perhaps our spiritual life has grown stale and dull and now God calls us to prepare our minds and hearts, to stir ourselves into action so we are ready to face the next task God has for us.

It’s easy to drift from our commitment to Christ. In the intensity of a moment we plead our allegiance to him but the daily routine seems to wear down our intentions. Life doesn’t turn out as we expect. We experience disappointment and disillusionment and slowly our focus is drawn away from God.

However, God challenges us to prepare for the next part of our spiritual journey and to focus on his unchanging character. Despite our circumstances, God is a good God who has our best interests at heart. He won’t always rescue us from bad situations or solve all our problems. Yet he is always there for us, continually seeking to spur us on spiritually and draw us into closer communion with him.