Thoughts on Isaiah 40 and Sandlot

Note: I posted this earlier this morning on the HNW GAP Singles site:

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.

A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

– Isaiah 40:1-5

A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.”

Regarding this passage, Matthew Henry wrote:

When eastern princes marched through desert countries, ways were prepared for them, and hinderances removed. And may the Lord prepare our hearts by the teaching of his word and the convictions of his Spirit, that high and proud thoughts may be brought down, good desires planted, crooked and rugged tempers made straight and softened, and every hinderance removed, that we may be ready for his will on earth, and prepared for his heavenly kingdom.

This expresses my deep hope, both for myself, for my family, for my church and for those I am privileged to teach, that we will daily “prepare the way for the Lord”.

Yet often the road is not clear. My heart is not smooth ground for the Spirit to move, unhindered.

I’m reminded – and this is the way my mind works early on Sunday mornings, I guess – of those chase scenes we’ve seen a hundred times in movies. Not car chases, but the on-foot kind. You know the ones I’m talking about: as the person being chased is running, he or she keeps grabbing random objects (trashcans, boxes of stuff, etc) and throwing them in the way of the chaser.

SandlotIn the movie Sandlot, there is a fabulous on-foot chase scene, featuring Bennie “the jet” Rodriguez and a huge saint bernard named Hercules. Bennie has retrieved a Babe Ruth autographed baseball from Hercules’ backyard collection, and Hercules wants it back! One segment of the chase scene has Bennie knocking over trashcans in Hercules’ way as he runs for his life.

The funny thing about that scene is that, ultimately, Hercules chases Bennie back to the sandlot and to Hercules’ back yard. They end up where they started, and the ball is back where Hercules wants it.

To strain an analogy a bit: I guess if the Hound of Heaven wants you and your treasures to come home, that’s where you’ll end up, no matter how long he has to chase you and how much trash you throw in the way.

Of course, ultimately Hercules’ owner, himself an old baseball man, after learning of this whole escapade, says “Well, why didn’t you just knock on the front door? I would have gotten your ball for you!”

There’s a lesson in there that I’ll let you figure out.

And there’s a much deeper lesson in the words of Isaiah. Prepare the way of the Lord! Make straight His paths!

He is the King. May the mountains of our pride fall and the valleys of our sin fill with righteousness. May we welcome our King, and live out His Kingdom.

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