Make Ready a People Prepared

Scriptures: Luke 1:17 ; 1 Kings 18:36-37 ; Malachi 4:5-6
by Jacob Abshire on December 21, 2015

Elijah the prophet said, “Answer me, O LORD, answer me, that this people may know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back” (1 Kings 18:36-37).

God’s Word through the angel Gabriel was nothing short of wondrous. He echoed the words God spoke through Malachi just before His 400 years of silence. He promised to send Elijah “before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes” in order to “turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers” (Mal. 4:5-6).

The promised one was Zechariah’s son, John the Baptist. Despite how it may sound, John was not on a mission to reconcile quarrels among families, but to reconcile quarrels between God and His people. He was to turn “the disobedient to the wisdom of the just” (Lk. 1:17).

Over time, Israel had lost its way. The fathers were men of belief and faithfulness, but their children and their children’s children drifted from such conviction. Their hearts turned away from God. But in His mercy, God wanted to prepare their hearts for His arrival, lest He meet them in judgement.

Make Ready a People Prepared

In Jesus’ opinion, there was no one born of a woman greater than John the Baptist (Matt. 11:11), speaker excluded, of course. His greatness was promised by God, “for he will be great before the Lord” (Lk. 1:15). John was unique because He was the herald of Christ. He was sent before Jesus with a special mission to make hearts ready.

God made John ready. He set him aside from the people of his day. John lived a continual vow before the Lord, called the Nazarite vow, to voluntarily abstain from wine and strong drink (Lk. 1:15). This said to others that John was completely dedicated to the Lord. His life was sanctified for holy service.

Additionally, God filled John with His Spirit. Gabriel said he “will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb” (Lk. 1:15). We see this evidenced later in our story when the baby John leaps in the womb at the nearness of Jesus, who is in the womb of Mary (Lk. 1:44).

When the time came, John stepped foot on the scene crying out, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 3:2). To repent means to turn your heart back to God. Jesus was going to establish His spiritual kingdom and the time for that was soon. So John set out to prepare the hearts for His arrival.

Make Ready a Family Prepared

At Christmas, we celebrate the coming of the Lord. He came to establish His spiritual kingdom on earth. But, we must be ready for His arrival. Our hearts must be turned toward heaven so that heaven might turn toward us. Otherwise, Christ will come and we will miss Him.

The heart is the seat of our affections. And, where we lay our affections is where we can find our hearts. Israel is not alone in so easily turning affections elsewhere. We can too. We do.

So we must do as John cried out 2,000 years ago, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Let us turn our hearts back to God and away from everything else. We must set our affections on Christ and prioritize Him above all.

Will you be prepared for Jesus’ arrival? When you read God’s Word, is your heart set on Him, open and ready to receive? If not, repent and prepare yourself—and your family—for the coming of Christ.

Download or purchase God Breaks His Silence, a study guide for Christmas.

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