God says, “Rebuild the road! Clear away the rocks and stones so my people can return from captivity.” The high and lofty one who lives in eternity, the Holy One, says this: “I live in the high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite and humble. I restore the crushed spirit of the humble and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts. Isaiah 57:14-15 (NLT)
There are Scriptures which call us to “Prepare a way for the Lord.” However, our text clearly directs us to rebuild the road so that His people can return. We know that there are people all around us who are trapped in the wilderness. God wants us to rebuild the way so that they can find their way home to Him. The highway to God is often littered with obstacles that are in the way and make it difficult for those in captivity to find their way home to God.
What can we do to facilitate the construction of the highway? First of all, preparation precedes construction. There are many projects that I have undertaken in my life in which I said to myself, I know what I'm doing, and I don't need a plan. I then proceed to charge headlong into getting the job done, but I have learned over the years that without preparation the results are seldom satisfactory for any nontrivial endeavor. Preparation must begin by removing the things that are in the way.
In 1896, Claus Spreckels constructed a building in San Francisco, which at the time was the tallest building west of the Mississippi River. Mr. Spreckels endured much criticism from friends and foes alike, because at considerable expense. He insisted that they dig down deep into the ground until they couldlay the foundation upon the bedrock. 10 years later, the Spreckels building was one of the few large buildings to remain standing after the earthquake. The preparation and expense of digging deep and removing those things which were not acceptable for laying a foundation was great, but in the end it paid great dividends. Jesus tells a similar story. “He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.” Luke 6:48 (NIV)
It may be a temptation to cut corners in areas that are not visible. In fact until the time of testing, it may even seem like a waste to expend resources and energy removing those things which come between us and bedrock. But understand that a time of testing will come. “This means that all of creation will be shaken and removed, so that only unshakable things will remain.” Hebrews 12:27 (NLT)
We plan, prepare and excavate so that when the foundation is laid, it will be strong, secure and able to support the structure. It is not an exaggeration to say that as the foundation goes, so goes the building or the road, or whatever is being constructed. If the foundation is not right, eventually the building will collapse or the road will buckle. Paul recognized the importance of foundations and he took great care in how it was laid. “By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 3:10-12 (NIV)
In construction, the foundation of a road or building seldom receives much notice until there is a problem. In a Christian's life, as in construction, the quality of the foundation will only be revealed during times of stress and testing so resist the temptation to cut corners and remove those things which come between you and your sure foundation.