3 A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord;
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
4 Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level and the rough places a plain.
5 And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
When I hear the words of Isaiah 40:5 I cannot help but think of the work of George Frederik Handel and his great masterpiece “Messiah”. Many know the most famous of the songs from the oratorio, “The Hallelujah Chorus.” “Messiah” was written by Handel to tell the story of the birth, death, and resurrection of Christ. The very first chorus in the entire work is the musical quotation of Isaiah 40:5. As the choir sings for the first time the beauty of both the music and the prophecy is seen.
The book of Isaiah contains many of the prophecies that tell of the coming Messiah that would save the nation of Israel. While Israel waited for a great political leader that would free them from Roman captivity, God’s plan was not of earthly gain but of a heavenly nature. Verse 3 prophesies regarding John the Baptist. A voice that would prepare the way for the Messiah, a voice crying in the wilderness. The heralding of the King of Kings declares the glory of the Lord revealed to all humanity, Jesus!
Prophecy is so important in the story of Christ. There were many throughout history that may have fulfilled some of the prophecies given regarding the Messiah. There was only one and has only ever been one that fulfilled all the prophecies. Christ came and everything that had been foretold many years before came to pass, and was fulfilled in His time on earth. Christ was Emmanuel, God with us! The God of all creation came to earth and humbled Himself for us. There is no greater narrative. There is no greater demonstration of love. There is no greater grace, than what God shows us.
We reflect on the past birth of Christ and the future coming of Christ and we must herald Him King of Kings and Lord of Lords in our lives. As the scriptures are sung in the Hallelujah Chorus of Handel’s masterpiece, He, Jesus, shall reign forever and ever, and we get the privilege of living our lives for His glory to prepare the way of the Lord, for his return, to gather us to Him. The glory of the Lord was revealed to us, through Jesus, and we now prepare for the return of the King.
Video of the Academy of Ancient Music performing
“And the Glory of the Lord” from Handel’s “Messiah”
This Christmas, Lord, come to the manger of my heart.
Fill me with Your presence from the very start.
As I prepare for the holidays and gifts to be given,
Remind me of the gift You gave when You sent Your Son from Heaven.
The first Christmas gift, it was the greatest gift ever.
You came as a baby born in a manger.
Wrapped like the gifts I find under my tree,
Waiting to be opened, to reveal Your love to me.
Restore to me the wonder that came with Jesus’ birth,
when He left the riches of Heaven and wrapped Himself in rags of earth.
Immanuel, God with us, Your presence came that night.
And angels announced, “Into your darkness, God brings His Light.”
“Do not be afraid,” they said, to shepherds in the field.
Speak to my heart today, Lord, and help me to yield.
Make me like those shepherd boys, obedient to Your call.
Setting distractions and worries aside, to You I surrender them all.
Surround me with Your presence, Lord, I long to hear Your voice.
Clear my mind of countless concerns and all the holiday noise.
Slow me down this Christmas, let me not be in a rush.
In the midst of parties and planning, I want to feel Your hush.
This Christmas, Jesus, come to the manger of my heart.
Invade my soul like Bethlehem, bringing peace to every part.
Dwell within and around me, as I unwrap Your presence each day.
Keep me close to You, Lord. It’s in Your wonderful Name I pray.
– Renee Swope, “The Manger of My Heart” from Proverbs 31 Ministries
- Reformation Study Bible ESV Isaiah 40:3-5