In this passage, the nation of Israel was being called to prepare for the arrival of their Messiah—a promised king who would come to save their people. How would you welcome a king? Back in ancient times, cities didn’t just prepare lavish accommodations for visiting dignitaries—a “red carpet” welcome included making sure that the road to the city was in good repair, free of dangers and obstacles. (Nobody wanted their king’s carriage to break down or become attacked by bandits!)
Of course, Isaiah wasn’t advocating literal road construction; he was calling Israel to examine their hearts and remove any obstacles of sin and spiritual blindness that might prevent them from receiving their Messiah. This spiritual preparation was more important than one might think, because the kind of king Jesus turned out to be challenged many people’s ideas about what to do with him once he arrived! They would need to reexamine some of their ways of thinking, and that meant “out with the old, in with the new!”
Has God ever challenged you like that? In a world full of noise and holiday bustle, we often become so distracted with “getting ready for Christmas” that we fail to receive the most important gifts of the season: peace, joy, hope, love, and the person of Christ, himself. This Advent, let’s explore what it means to “prepare him room” in the joyful expectation that one day, the whole earth will, indeed, “receive her king”!