Oct22ThuRaising the banner October 22, 2020
“Go through, go through the gates; prepare the way for the people; build up, build up the highway; clear it of stones; lift up a signal over the peoples. Behold, the LORD has proclaimed to the end of the earth: Say to the daughter of Zion, “Behold, your salvation comes; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him.””. Is. 62:10–11 ESVi
Walk out of the gates. Get going! Get the road ready for the people. Build the highway. Get at it! Clear the debris, hoist high a flag, a signal to all peoples! Yes! GOD has broadcast to all the world: “Tell daughter Zion, ‘Look! Your Savior comes, Ready to do what he said he’d do, prepared to complete what he promised.’” Isaiah 62:10-11 MSG
I love the encouragement in these verses. Raise your hand if you’re in need of encouragement. Both of mine are in the air. I don’t know about you, but most days, if I’m not encouraging myself in the Lord...I’m as a fish out of water. You know, floundering around, gasping for breath because I’m out of my element? Yeah, that feeling. It’s not a good one.
I’m also one of those people, if there’s something to be done...give me the game plan. And if you don’t have one, I’ll create one. I know some of you like to fly by the seat of your pants, and cheers to you if that works for you. But my analytical mind likes strategy and structure. Which is why I love the verses in Isaiah 62 : Go out, go out through the gates; prepare a way for the people! Build it up, build up the highway! Clear away the stones! Raise a banner, lift up a signal to the people.
Isaiah gives clear instructions on what we need to do: first, prepare! Prepare a way for the people! The word prepare here is in Hebrew ”poneh”. It is also translated into turn or turning. To turn in a new direction. For example, “Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie!” Psa. 40:4 ESVi)
Think of how a farmer prepares or turns the ground before seeding. To prepare a way, is not only to turn in a new direction and look towards the Lord it’s also turning the soil of our hearts. Tilling the hardened ground until it’s no longer a heart of stone but a heart of flesh where the seed of the Word can take root and produce a crop: 30, 60 and 100 times what was sown.
Next, go out or go through the gates. We all have a comfort zone, but how much of an impact do we make staying inside it? Go through the gates! Gates are often our defense system, the thoughts and attitudes we’ve put in place to protect our heart and mind. But sometimes those same gates also keep us locked in a place and position where God never intended us to be. A healthy gate is one that protects you from the attacks of the enemy and at the same time also opens and gives you the freedom to move forward and boldly proclaim Christ.
Next, Isaiah says, build up, build up the highway! Let us be known as builders in our communities,at our jobs, at our place of worship. Let us build each other up in hope, in excellence,and in those things worthy of Gods kingdom. Let us speak of Christ, of hope, of a better way. Let us be builders in the kingdom of God, people who conduct a way of life that promotes peace and goodwill so that those coming after us will have a highway, not a gravel road. Let us smooth out the crooked path and leave behind us a legacy that the next generation can build upon. Bravery and compassion should compel us not to leave a mess behind for them to struggle through.
Clear the stones, clear the debris! Did you know that nothing can be built on debris? Literally, nothing. Any builder worth a grain of salt clears the debris, gets rid of the rock and stone and then starts building. I have to ask myself if there are places in my spiritual walk that I can clear some stones and then I need to work to get rid of them. If there is anything that God would call debris, to bulldoze it and bring it to the fire of the Word.
We can also be an influence in a neighbors life, when it comes to clearing debris. Often we are called upon to help inspire and encourage others as they struggle, but do we? When God shows us a need, I believe it’s because He wants us to do something to meet that need. To clear stones and make it easier for our fellow man. To be the answer to someone’s prayer. The word “clear” in this verse (in Hebrew) literally means to stone (as an execution). For me, this shows how serious God views clearing the debris- the bad- from our lives.
Raise up a banner, lift up a standard. Do you see yourself as a light on a lamp stand? A city on a hill? A lighthouse? That’s what we are in this world. A banner exclaiming the goodness of God. A standard that shows the world what a life looks like when it’s sold out to God. If we don’t show the world around us the love of God, who will?
I love how the next verse continues with hope and encouragement. If we continue in being faithful in Gods work, He proclaims this over us: Look and see! I am your Savior and I am coming, ready to do what I have said I’d do, I’m prepared to complete what I promised.’
The Word gives us instructions to follow and although sometimes they seem beyond our ability, God follows them with encouragement and guidance. He doesn’t leave us alone to do His work. He’s right there along side, carrying the majority of the weight and strengthening each of our steps. There is reward for your work and He will be faithful in recompense. There is blessing in being in Gods family and doing the work of the kingdom. Always.
So, prepare the way, build up, clear out the debris and raise a banner! You are called, beloved one. You are called.