Accept the tasks God gives us
Isaiah 40: 3
3 Someone is shouting, “Make a way for the Lord in the wilderness, make a straight road there for our God to pass by!
So we begin our reflection today. I say reflection to emphasize the need to meditate on the Lord’s words. Brothers, I invite you all for a moment of meditation on this verse.
Think about what the “desert” can mean, a “way.” Why would anyone (anyone?) Be screaming? And why does God need a road if He is omnipresent?
Now that we have meditated a little, let’s read further:
Isaiah 40: 3-5
3 Someone is shouting, “Make a way for the Lord in the wilderness, make a straight road there for our God to pass by! 4All valleys shall be grounded, and all hills and mountains shall be flattened; the high and low lands will be flat, and the mountainous regions will become plains. 5Then the Lord will show his glory, and all mankind will see it. The Lord God Himself has promised that He will do this. ”
The title of our message today is: Accept the tasks God gives us.
The prophet Isaiah wrote these words about 750 years before Christ. It is a prophetic word, but also a watchword. By saying “someone” without specifying “who,” God is calling everyone to accept his commands.
Have you been called too? God is always calling, inviting, and ordaining people to carry out His commands. Is God asking you for something and you do not understand? Or do you understand, but are you refusing to do so?
Brethren, God’s plans are always fulfilled, but He respects our decisions. He is patient with the stubborn, what changes is that as long as “no one” prepares the road in the desert, the desert will remain only a desert!
Well, the prophet wrote this in 750 BC and around 550 BC God appointed a first man to fulfill this prophecy:
13And I commanded Cyrus to begin to act, and promised him victory. I will smooth out the ways he will pass. He will rebuild Jerusalem, my city, and set my captive people free, without any payment to do so. It is I, the Lord Almighty, who is speaking.
King Cyrus began the return of the Israelites and Jews to their lands, being the first to “make way in the wilderness” for God’s people to pass through.
God uses his creation to accomplish his plans. It is as if He is testing your work to see what adjustments are needed. The Israelites had spent long years in captivity, and the return of the people to Jerusalem represented a second “exodus” to this people.
However, this time, God did not send messages to the king as He did with Pharaoh. He directly commanded Cyrus, who promptly obeyed.
Note: If a conquering king was commanded by God to “go and conquer” with a guarantee of victory, there was no reason to disobey …
Continuing our story, we come to the well-known John the Baptist:
Luke 3: 2-6
It was at this time that the message of God was given in the wilderness to John the son of Zacharias. 3And John crossed the whole Jordan River, announcing this message:
4This happened as the prophet Isaiah had written in his book:
“Someone is shouting in the wilderness: Prepare the way for the Lord to pass! Make straight roads for him! 5All valleys shall be grounded, and all hills and mountains shall be flattened. Crooked roads will be straightened, and potholed roads will be repaired. 6And all shall see the salvation God gives. ”
This passage is described in the 4 gospels, but Luke mentions that “the message of God was given …”. John also received a command from God to announce Jesus.
This announcement was necessary to prepare the hearts of the people for the coming of Jesus. Just as Cyrus brought the people out of slavery in Babylon, so John brought the people out of slavery from religious life. Since John was not king, he was “only” a messenger. He asked people to repent of their sins. Here the road is repentance that crosses the wilderness of sin, paving the way for Jesus to bring salvation.
We know that to this day Jesus only enters where He is invited. Today we are the kings, kings of our hearts! Each of us is called to repentance.
Are you heeding God’s call to repent?
Joao lived a simple life, stripped of any luxury. He accepted the work God gave him to carry the message. He had to give up all comfort, otherwise it would not reach everyone, as he would be trapped in a comfortable bed, clean clothes, good food, etc.
Brothers, this was God’s task for John. This does not mean that we should all leave our homes and scream in the streets. However, sometimes we need to give up something to do God’s will.
I will not list examples, but I suggest that each one think:
How many times have you had an impulse to do something good for someone and stop doing it?
Why did you stop doing it?
What would really have happened to you if you had done?
This reflection may help you to obey next time. It can help you finally do what God is asking of you!
As a word of power for today, let’s see what Jesus himself said:
Matthew 11: 28-30
I know this passage is well known and preached, but not always understood. Like every word of God, there is much information for a Christian who meditates on them. You can read and reflect several times and each time understand a new meaning. However, today I ask you to join me:
“… Heavy loads…” refers to our daily obligations. They are important and often difficult to fulfill.
Jesus says, “… come to me … and I will give you rest.” It is a statement from Jesus, therefore it is a promise from God to us.
Jesus explains in verse 29 what it means to “go to Him”: it means to follow and learn from Him, that is, to read God’s word, to meditate on it, and to learn the lessons contained therein.
“… because I am kind …” I will help you “and I have a humble heart” you will not be humiliated and in my words “… you will find rest.”
Verse 30 seems like a continuation, but it’s actually a conclusion or a consequence of verses 28 and 29. Let’s go deeper:
“… The burden I put on you is light.” Is that so? In short, is it light for you to hear your brother’s problems? Is it light to hear an insult and shut up? Is it light to live humbly while the world enjoys its pleasures?
This message is strong, but concluding brothers, we must understand that:
Duties are easy and the burden is light for those who are dedicated to following and learning from Jesus through his words: Bible reading.
When we do what God asks us in the first place (verses 28 and 29), everything else becomes light (verse 30)!
Lord, thank you for this word that calls us to hear you more and to consider the reasons that are keeping me from being more pleasing to the Lord. May your name be praised. Glory to God, Amen!