|Matthew 3:3 |
Display Chapter and Footnotes
3 For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying, "The voice of one crying in the wilderness, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make his paths straight.'"1 [The evil heart of all men must be prepared for the Lord to dwell within, for in the evil heart is found evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, false witness, deceit, lack of restraint, envy, blasphemy, pride, and foolishness, Mark 7:21-23, Mat 15:18-19; so men might come to do works consistent with repentance, and their mountain of sin and earthliness might be leveled, and their valley filled in them, that there might be a smooth, straight way prepared for the Lord in them. Until a man's heart has been cleansed and purified, the Lord and his Father do not come with their kingdom to dwell and guide a man through life. Jesus is "holy, innocent, undefiled, and separate from sinners." Heb 7:26. From the Word of the Lord within: "See myself — thus no sin has a place in me." See the footnote 1 below for more detail on Prepare the way of the Lord.]
1 Prepare the way for the Lord, make his paths straight. What way for the Lord are you supposed to prepare? The way into your heart for him to dwell as the ruling Lord of your thoughts, words, and deeds — a true king that rules everything in your life. To make the Lord's paths straight is to cleanse your heart and body so the Lord can dwell and walk in you, for he would have you to be the temple of the living God. In conjunction with this quoted verse: Isaiah further said: Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth. This is an individual preparation of man, the prerequisite to salvation.
In his Journal, George Fox wrote of seeing within himself the mountains burning up, the way made straight, etc:
"I saw also the mountains burning up, and the rubbish, and the rough, and crooked ways and places made smooth and plain, that the Lord might come into his tabernacle. These things are to be found in man's heart; but to speak of these things being within, seemed strange to the rough, crooked, and mountainous ones.* Yet the Lord said, ‘0h earth, hear the word of the Lord!’"
*the rough, crooked, and mountainous ones are those people who have not experienced the cleansing power of the Lord, which cleansing is experienced when you persistently sit, wait, watch, listen, hear, and obey what the Lord commands you to do.
Fox also wrote the following in his Journal regarding John the Baptist's prophesying:
I also saw how people read the scriptures without a right sense of them and without duly applying them to their own states. For when they read that death reigned from Adam to Moses; that the law and the prophets were until John; and that the least in the kingdom is greater than John; they read these things as not applicable to themselves, and applied them to others, (and the things were true of others), but they did not turn inside to find the truth of these things in themselves. As these things were opened in me, I saw death reigned over them from Adam to Moses; from the entrance into transgression, until they came to the Ministry of Condemnation, which restrains people from sin that brings death.......I saw that none could read John's [the Baptist] words correctly, and with a true understanding of them, but in and with the same divine spirit by which John spoke them; and by his burning, shining light which is sent from God. For by that spirit their crooked natures might be made straight, their rough natures smooth, and the man of greed and man of violence in them might be cast out; and those that had been hypocrites might come to bring forth fruits suitable for repentance, and their mountain of sin and earthliness might be leveled, and their valley filled in them, that there might be a smooth, level way prepared for the Lord in them; and then the least in the kingdom is greater than John. But all must first know the voice crying in the wilderness in their hearts, which through transgression has become as a wilderness.
Fox also has a detailed writing, which describes the mirror of the earth in every man's heart; see A Word From the Lord, to All the World.
A man cannot prepare his own heart; it must be prepared by the changing power of God's grace, which power is accessed by you going to him. You must wait on him — listen silently, with the humility of a sinner in need of his changing power — grace. You must wait, listen in silence, hear, and obey, thus to receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. James 1:21. So wait, watch, listen, hear, obey... wait, watch, listen, hear, obey..... seek, listen, obey. Do this repeatedly, follow his commands, and his words that you hear him speak to you will impart the life of God to you, as he removes the sins from your heart, one by one. To deny yourself is to deny your own will and do God's will; to follow is to obey the commands to repent you hear him speak to you: this is to deny yourself, pickup your cross, and follow Jesus — the inward cross of self-denial, which puts to death your selfish spirit, to be replaced by the Spirit of Christ.