When I read through the bible, I go through a book from start to finish. Sometimes it takes me days. Sometimes a morning. There will be days when I read one verse, and I’m full. I just can’t take in anymore because there is so much depth. Other days, I challenge myself with reading multiple chapters at a time. It’s like when you workout. If you do the same exercises over and over you are going to get bored, as will your muscles. Everyone needs to mix it up a little bit. The same goes with reading God’s Word. God is so faithful to speak to us right where we are at, as we sit in His presence asking Him to open our eyes to His truths. When God speaks, our hearts are ignited. When it’s time for me to start a new book, I ask the Lord, “Lord, what book do You want me to read next?” The Holy Spirit leads and guides.
Today, I started the book of Mark. Mark has the gift of sharing depth in few words. I love how the book of Mark shows Jesus as a servant, declaring to all, “This is how you should live.” The actions of a Christian so clear. No confusion.
He opens his book by talking about John the Baptist- Mark 1:1-11. Now Matthew, Luke, and John introduce John the Baptist with what the prophet Isaiah said in Isaiah 40:3, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the LORD; make His paths straight.'” But Mark quotes another prophet in addition to Isaiah. He quotes Malachi in Malachi 3:1, “Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, who will prepare Your way before You.” Mark adds a detail that shows the close relationship between God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. As God is addressing Jesus, this verse emphasizes God’s authority in sending a messenger, and His ownership of that messenger. God the Father is telling His Son, “I’m sending My messenger to prepare the path for You.” God made sure everything was set for His Son to do His will here on earth. He owns it. God always provides exactly what we need to excel where He has placed us.
History shows kings sending messengers before them to remove obstacles in their path that would affect their visit. The name Malachi also means, “The Lord’s messenger.” The messenger clears the path; they clean house, so to speak. Here we see John the Baptist, the messenger sent by God, clearing the path by calling out to the people to repent of their sins.
When I think about John the Baptist and his specific calling, I always think of “timing.” God has a time for everything. He sees the big picture, while we normally only see what is right in front of our face. Elizabeth, John the Baptist’s mom, was barren for years. In those days, being barren was a sign to the people of disfavor from God or that someone had sinned. It was their worldly mentality that did not hold biblical grounds. God has a history of showing up our wrong thinking. Elizabeth and her husband Zacharias were righteous and blameless before God- Luke 1:6. They were doing exactly what God had called them to do; it just wasn’t time yet for their child to be born. Why? Because their child was set apart from the rest. They didn’t know they would have a child that was chosen by God for a specific task; until He told them. God knew the details of what He was going to do. The people did not. And it’s just the reminder that we do not have perfect knowledge of situations. Only God does, and He tells us what we need to know when we need to know it.
Elizabeth and Zacharias had been praying for a child, and God heard their prayer and answered in His timing- Luke 1:13. God wanted their child to be the forerunner to Jesus Christ. Only one person got to do that job and John the Baptist was chosen. The angel of the Lord, Himself, appeared to Zacharias while he was serving in the Temple. Here the angel of the Lord proceeded to tell Zacharias the gifts his child would have, “He will precede the coming of the Lord, preparing the people for his arrival. He will turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and he will change disobedient minds to accept godly wisdom”- Luke 1:17 NLT. God is so good to give a word of assurance to an aching heart, in His house, at the perfect time. One of my favorite verses is shared by Elizabeth when she was pregnant, “‘How kind the Lord is!’ she exclaimed. ‘He has taken away my disgrace of having no children!'”- Luke 1:25 NLT. Answered prayer.
And John the Baptist did exactly what the angel of the Lord said he would do; he prepared a path for Jesus Christ.
Will you pray with me?
Abba! Thank You so much for moving in hearts today drawing them to Yourself. Lord, we do not have perfect knowledge of situations but You do. We are so thankful You are in control. For those who are seeking You today, Lord, will You meet them with a word of assurance? For those longing for children, will You meet them personally? Praying Psalm 113:9 for those women longing to be mothers, “He gives the barren woman a home, so that she becomes a happy mother. Praise the LORD!” Your timing is everything. You are calling some to wait in seasons longer than others because You are doing something big. Your ways are so beyond us. Lord, those You love long to hear from You! As they persevere in prayer will You meet them right where they are at? Thank You! We love You so much! In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.