The Good News - Home

The Voice Crying in the Wilderness

by David A. DePra

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of

the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every

valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made

low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places

plain. And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh

shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.

(Isaiah 40:3-5)

     This prophecy, was, of course, fulfilled by John the Baptist. HE

was God's voice crying in the wilderness. He was "Elijah to come."

We have no less authority on that fact than Christ Himself. (see

Matt. 17:10-13) 

     There are, however, two other applications for this passage,

both of which are just as important as the fulfilled prophecy of

Isaiah 40 by John the Baptist. The first is the reality of the One

about whom "the voice in the wilderness" speaks. Most of the

prophecy of Isaiah tells us about, not "the voice," but about the

One who is to come; about the One whose way is being prepared

by John. What does it say about HIM? And secondly, how does

this prophecy apply today? John prepared the way for Christ. Is

this "voice crying in the wilderness" still crying out? Still preparing

the way?

Voice in the Wilderness

     Notice the theme centering around John: The wilderness. He

was miracle baby, born of a barren woman. He physically dwelt

in the wilderness. He preached in the wilderness. And spiritually

speaking, He was "the voice of one crying in the wilderness."

What might we conclude from this? John stands for whatever

God uses -- for the work God does -- in the human heart to prepare

the way for Jesus Christ.

     Certainly, the human heart is as a wilderness. It is as a barren

place; even as a barren women. THAT is all God has to work with

when He begins with us -- even though we have little consciousness

of ourselves as being in such a condition.  But in that wilderness,

God will send someone, something, some word -- some VOICE -- to

cry out. He will begin to prepare a way for the real goal: His Son.

     This work of "John" is not to be confused with being born again.

No. We are born again when we receive Jesus Christ, not John the

Baptist. John -- or the spiritual equivalent -- prepares the way FOR

the new birth in Jesus Christ.

     Now, at this point, we may ask: What is "our John" today? What

does God use to "prepare a way" for the Lord? What is "our voice"

crying in the wilderness?

     First, there God's law. Just as John was the last prophet of the

Old Covenant, and symbolized it's fulness, so does the law continue

to do as John did: Prepare a way for the Lord.

     But don't misunderstand. This doesn't mean that by obeying the

law we find our way to Christ. Quite to the contrary. It is because the

law shows us we are sinners -- who cannot obey God -- that the way

to Christ is prepared.

     It is actually utter nonsense to think that by obeying the law we

can find Christ. Why? Because if we actually obeyed the law, we

wouldn't need Him! We'd already be perfect.

     So the law is holy, just, and good. But it is precisely because it is

holy, just, and good that we cannot obey it. WE aren't holy, just, and

good! Thus, the purpose of the law is to reveal to us the perfect

righteousness of God, in written form, and expose our sin and guilt

before God. THEN, we see our need. And THEN we see Jesus

Christ and embrace Him.

Other Voices

     What other voices are there in us that do the job of John the

Baptist? To a degree, conscience. We must, however, be careful

here, because conscience never defines right or wrong. It merely

tells us we should do right. Yet it is a "voice crying in the wilderness"

of sin and darkness.

     Certainly, all preaching of the gospel can be as "a voice crying

in the wilderness" of the human heart. The word of God cannot, of

itself, cause us to be born again. It simply opens the way to Christ

if we open our ears to it, and then embrace, by faith, the Christ it


     There are many vehicles and tools which God can use to invade

the wilderness of our lives. They are all "the voice of one crying in

the wilderness." John was a type of them. He was preparing the

way for the Lord.

A Way in the Wilderness

     The prophecy about John proclaims, "Prepare you the way of

the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every

valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made

low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places

plain. And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed. And all flesh

shall see it."

     It is easy to read over this and chalk it up to being a nice piece of

Hebrew poetry. But if we take what it says seriously, it begins to

take on a great deal of significance for our lives.

     For example, what does it mean when it says that "every valley

shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low?"

What does it mean, "The crooked shall be made straight, and the

rough places, plain, or smooth?"

     The key is in the phrase "and the glory of the Lord shall be

revealed." This is the RESULT of all of those things happening.

     When all of the hills are made low, and the valleys exalted, and

the rough places made smooth, THEN the glory of the Lord shall

be revealed. Then all flesh shall see it.

     Imagine yourself in the midst of a great wilderness -- which is

where this "voice" is crying out and speaking these promises. In

that desert, there are many hills and valleys. Many rough places.

Consequently, you really cannot see very far. Only to the next

horizon, which blocks much that is further from you. Now, imagine

if all of those hills and valleys and rough places were leveled out.

Whatever was out there would now be in full view. You would be

able to see it without hinderance. Indeed, you would be able to

build and travel a "highway" in this wilderness directly to your


     The "voice in the wilderness" is proclaiming that God intends

to do a work like that in each one of US. WE are the wilderness.

WE have many hills -- places of pride -- and many valleys -- places

of depression -- and many rough places -- places of immobility --

in ourselves. THESE make it impossible to see the glory of the

Lord. To see Jesus Christ. They make it impossible to find our

way to Him. God is saying that He is going to solve the problem.

He is going to pave the way and take away ALL obsticles. Then

all of us will SEE Jesus Christ.

     "Our hills" are those places where we have exalted ourselves.

They are the places we have exalted ourselves because of our

works -- because of any spiritual success we may think we have.

Because we think we are "up high," we think we can SEE. We think

we KNOW. Unfortunately, there is a problem. Being up that high

jades our perspective. We are too far away. And there always

seems to be another mountain in our way. Consequently, we

cannot see Jesus Christ. All we can see are the mountaintops.

     "Our valleys" are another story. They are the places where we

have failed. Our shortcomings. But if we try to live in them, they too

keep us from seeing Christ. We can cannot see over the top of

them. They are too low.

     "Our rough places" are the places over which we cannot travel.

They are places in us we must continue to pass around. Places

which stop us in our quest to find Christ.

     The only way we can see Jesus Christ is if the hills, valleys, and

the rough places are all made level and even. Then, "the glory of

the Lord shall be revealed."

The Good News - Home

Hit Counter