"A voice of one calling: 'In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken'" (Isaiah 40:3–5).
At the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, I will ask Jesus if I can sit beside John the Baptist. I can imagine Jesus saying, “Oh, yeah! He’s the guy over there wearing camel hair and eating bugs.” My fascination with the Baptizer stems not so much from a plethora of biblical information about his life and ministry but rather from his being used by God as the ultimate reset button.
Wasteland! Desert! Backwoods! Boondocks! That was John! He was a unique arrow in God’s heavenly quiver. If God needed someone to get in Herod’s face and tell him that it was a sin to marry his former sister-in-law, John was just the guy to pull that off (even though it cost him his head). When God needed a prophet to “make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God,” again, John is our go-to guy.
But what is all of this about deserts and wilderness being used by God as a “reset?” Think about it! When God told Abram to leave the idolatrous Ur of the Chaldeans, he was telling him to leave a big commercial city and go to the wilderness. When the Israelites left Egypt through God’s miraculous provision and yet immediately started griping, God gave them a 40-year reset button in the desert. Even the Apostle Paul needed a 7-8 -year reset button between his conversion on the Damascus Road and his incredible ministry where God used him to write much of the New Testament.
Getting back to John the Baptizer, I am asserting that, aside from Messiah Himself, John was the ultimate reset button for God’s purposes. Since the prophet Malachi, there had been a 400-year silence with no prophet and no word from God. Not that John needed a reset, but that the nation of Israel certainly did. During those 400 years, Judah went from Persian rule to Greek, and then to Roman. The Jewish priesthood had become apostate and hard-hearted. Someone had to break up the soil.
What does “reset” have to do with the themes we are examining this month in our blog? I think it is this: Our perspective about being made in God’s image gets clouded. We sometimes forget that we are sons and daughters of the King. In God’s relentless pursuit of His children, He sometimes sends us into the “wilderness” to, once again, get our focus on Him. As I write this, I am in isolation and quarantine for COVID-19. Could this be another of God’s wilderness reset buttons? Could the whole pandemic be a reset?
Prayer Focus: Think about a time when you were sent into the “wilderness” for a reset and thank Him for it!