Category Archives: People in Old Testament

Offering Our Isaac

Text: Genesis 22:1-19

Sheep and lambProps: a picture of a lamb

Summary: God tested Abraham’s faith when he told him to offer his only son as a burnt offering. Abraham did not withhold his son and passed the test. Do we have something we hold more dearly than God? We need to offer our “Isaac” to God to be in a right relationship with Him.

How many of you have ever seen a lamb? They are very gentle animals and they have woolly coats that we use to make soft clothes. A long time ago, people would use these innocent lambs for a sacrifice to God. When they killed the lamb, the lamb would be burned on an altar to God to take away their sins.

Abraham was a great man of faith. God tested Abraham by telling him to sacrifice his only son as a burnt offering. Abraham had to travel three days to the land of Moriah to the place God told him to go. This area was the same place where Jerusalem is today. It was as if God was asking Abraham to do something he would do himself when Jesus became the Lamb of God at Golgotha many years later. Where Abraham’s offering would only cover his sins, Jesus’ death was to cover the sins of everyone who ever lived and trusted in him.

God Will Provide the Lamb
God Will Provide the Lamb by Erik Hollander provided courtesy of Christ-Centered Art.

Abraham was attentive to God’s call. Many times when God would call his name, Abraham would answer “Here I am.” Are we listening for God’s voice speaking to our hearts? When Isaac and Abraham came near to the place for the sacrifice, Isaac asked him where was the lamb for the sacrifice? He didn’t realize that Abraham was planning to use him for the lamb. Abraham answered him in faith: “God will provide himself a lamb.” When Abraham took the knife to slay Isaac, the angel of the Lord called to Abraham and prevented him. God realized that Abraham was obedient, even to the point of being willing to sacrifice his only son. Abraham had the faith to believe that if it was God’s will for him to take the life of Isaac, God also had the power to raise him from the dead.

God blessed Abraham for being obedient. He said he would “multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore.” (verse 17) This meant that Abraham would be blessed with many descendants. Are we willing to offer our “Isaac”? Are we willing to give to God the one thing we cherish most? For us to be in a right relationship with God, we must be willing to put Him first above all else. We can thank God that he was willing to give his only son, our Savior Jesus, as the one sacrifice for the sins of the whole world.

Adapted from “Giving Up Your Isaac” as told by Rev. Lewis Shaffer, Son Shine Ministries International Inc. Used by permission.

Walls of Jericho

By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed for seven days. By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace. – Hebrews 11:30,31

Text: Joshua 6; Hebrews 11:30

crystal glassProp: a crystal glass, half-filled with water

Summary: Joshua obeyed God at Jericho to begin the Israelite conquest of Canaan. God gave the battle plan and the Israelites acted in faith. Archaeologists confirmed the historical accuracy of the Bible in the ruins of ancient Jericho.

Today I want to tell you about the battle of Jericho. After 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, Joshua and the people of Israel had crossed the stopped waters of the Jordan River (another miracle!) and now were ready to begin to conquer the land of Canaan. Joshua was an experienced military leader, but nothing in all his military training could have prepared him for God’s plan to take Jericho. He would have to act on faith and trust God for the victory.

Jericho is considered the oldest known inhabited city in the world. Around 1400 B.C. Joshua laid siege to the fortress city. The armies of Israel surrounded it so that no one could enter or leave it. Our Lord Jesus is named with the same name as Joshua, Yeshua in Hebrew, which means “Jehovah is Savior.” Before the battle began, the captain of the host of Israel (Joshua) had an encounter with the captain of the Lord of hosts (Jesus). Joshua worshipped Him and listened carefully to the battle plan. He spoke as if the city of Jericho was already won. This surely strengthened Joshua’s faith. He was being told the future before it even happened by God!

This was the plan: For six days the army would circle the city once while the priests blew their ram’s horns. The priests with trumpets went first, then the priests which carried the Ark of the Covenant, then the army. The only sound would be the sound of the horns; no one could speak a word. Then on the seventh day, they would circle the city seven times in the same manner, and then when Joshua gave the signal, they would shout with a great shout. Then the walls would fall flat and they would run into the city and burn everything and everyone in it.

Joshua had a great test of faith. Would he try his own brilliant military plan, or completely trust God and obey in faith? He had an intelligence report from the spies, and might have even drawn some plan of attack. If you think Joshua had a hard time believing God, we are not told anything about it. Let me try something with you. Do you see this crystal glass? Here’s my plan: I’m going to get this glass to sing. Yes, sing! Do you have faith that I can do it? [Listen for answers] Watch now, while I make this glass sing. [Fill the glass halfway with water. Dip your index finger in the water and gently rub a circle around the inner rim of the glass until the vibration produces a humming sound. When the humming gets louder, say “It’s singing! Do you hear it?”] Never underestimate the power of faith.

Just as I rubbed my finger around this glass, the army of Israel marched around Jericho as God commanded while the priests blew the horns. They may have been tired of covering the same ground over and over again each day, but they obeyed God exactly. As Christians, we may tire of dealing with the same problem over and over again, but we can trust God to help us. Finally, on the seventh day after the seventh time around the city, Joshua gave the command and everyone yelled as loud as they could shout. Let’s try it now, everyone shout! [Hold your ears] Then a great miracle of faith happened: the walls fell out from the city, flat on the ground, making a ramp for the invading Israelite army! They ran straight in and burned everything. The only family who survived inside Jericho was Rahab and her family. She had helped the spies and was later a part of the ancestry line of Jesus (Matthew 1:5) because she had faith to trust God to save her.

Archaeologists (people who dig up old places) have found these ancient walls of brick, and the burned remains of the city. We can trust what the Bible says. The Bible is an accurate record of history. Nothing was taken from the city. Joshua put a curse on Jericho and no one ever rebuilt it on the same site again. God was determined to wipe out the idol worship and practices in Canaan. God began the conquest of Canaan with this miraculous victory at Jericho, where the walls came tumbling down!

©1998 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.

Spies in the Land

If the Lord delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us, a land which floweth with milk and honey. – Numbers 14:8

Text: Numbers 13:30-31;14:6-9

Summary: The return of the spies from Canaan shows the faith of Joshua and Caleb and explains why the children of Israel wandered forty years in the wilderness. God has given us a mission to spread the good news in every land.

glass of waterProp: a glass of water filled halfway

Look at this glass of water. Is it half empty? Or is it half full? I suppose your answer depends on your point of view. If you tend to think the worst of a situation, you might be negative and say half the water is used up. If you tend to be positive and think the best of a situation, you might say the glass is half full and could hold more. Our opinions tend to be either negative or positive depending on how we see our circumstances.

Today I want to tell you the story of how God sent spies into Canaan and what happened to them. First God delivered the children of Israel from slavery in Egypt and miraculously divided the Red Sea so they could escape the Egyptian army. Then God gave Moses the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai. At last they were ready to enter the land promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: the land of Canaan. As they were getting close, God told Moses to send twelve spies (one from each tribe) into the land and give a report of what they found. They searched in Canaan for 40 days. They saw a land that flowed with milk and honey. That means it had plenty of food, water, and rich soil that would be good for growing crops and raising animals. They also saw many different tribes of people that lived there, including some giants.

(Read text.)

The Return of the Spies
The Return of the Spies from the Land of Promise by Gustave Doré (1832-1883). Scan courtesy of The Doré Bible.

Ten spies gave an evil report and were afraid of the large men in the land, and felt as grasshoppers compared to the giants (Numbers 13:32-33). Joshua and Caleb were ready to follow God’s orders to enter the land, trusting God to protect them. They were full of faith and courage. All twelve spies saw the same things, but Joshua and Caleb were mindful of God’s presence with them. They were confident that God would lead them to victory over their enemies.

Because most of the people were unwilling to follow God’s plan, God was unhappy and punished them. God told Moses that none of the men over age 20 (except Joshua and Caleb*) would enter the Promised Land. God punished them by delaying their entry to Canaan by 40 years. That was a year of wandering in the wilderness for each day the spies had spent searching the land (Numbers 14:34). After 40 years all the disobedient people had died and only their children (which by then were grown) were able to enter Canaan under the leadership of Joshua. Joshua and Caleb were rewarded because they wholly followed the call of God (Joshua 14:8).

Although we are not spies, God has sent us on a mission to tell the good news of Jesus Christ in the world (Matthew 28:19-20). As we search the land we may see many enemies of the cross, but we should not be afraid. Jesus said, In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33) Because we know that God is leading us, we can be confident to tell others about Jesus.

*This means only two out of about 600,000 men living then survived to enter Canaan!

©2001 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.

Journey to Faith

By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. – Hebrews 11:8

Text: Genesis 12:1-4, 7, 15:6, 17:5; Galatians 3:14; John 8:56

Prop: A “Moving Sale” sign or poster of Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh

Summary: The story of Abraham’s journey to faith. His blessing to us was realized in Jesus Christ.

This sign says, “Moving Sale.” If you were going to move away you might sell some of your belongings to reduce the amount of items you had to pack for the trip. It takes a lot of effort to move a long way. How many of you would be willing to pack up all your stuff to move if you didn’t even know where you were going? (Look for a show of hands.) That is exactly what Abram did when God promised to bless him. Today I want to tell you how Abram took a journey and became known as Abraham, the father of many nations. (Genesis 17:5)

(Read Genesis 12:1-4)

When Abram was 75 years old God called him. It was time to move (again)*. Abram obeyed God and traveled to Canaan. When he arrived in Shechem the Lord appeared to Abram and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land. (Genesis 12:7) It became clear to Abram that God planned for him to have a child and to receive this particular area of land as a reward. At first Abram showed great faith by leaving his home without knowing where God would lead him, but he was not a perfect person. At times he took matters into his own hands instead of trusting God.

No sooner had he arrived than a famine arose in Canaan. A famine is when you want food but there isn’t any. Abram continued to journey south to Egypt so he would not starve. He was scared that the Egyptians would kill him to take his wife because she was very pretty. So he asked her to say she was his sister but this placed her in danger. It was cowardly of him to use her this way to protect himself. Nevertheless God was faithful to Abram and kept his promise.

Abram returned to Canaan after the famine had passed. As time went by he still did not have a child because Sarai (pronounced SAR-ay-eye) was not able to have a baby. Abram decided to make a future for himself instead of waiting on God’s promise. Sarai convinced Abram to take her Egyptian maid Hagar as a second wife, and she gave birth to Ishmael. God continued to help Abram grow in faith over the years. One day God reminded Abram that he was going to keep his promise and Abram finally believed. And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness. (Genesis 15:6)

Before a son was born miraculously to Sarai, God changed her name to Sarah (which means “princess”) and changed Abram’s name to Abraham (which means “father of a lot of people”). It was apparent that God had big plans for Abraham. Even though Abraham laughed at God when God promised him a son by Sarah, God was faithful. When Sarah was 90 and Abraham 100 years old, their son Isaac (which means “laughter”) was born.

A few years later God tested Abraham’s faith. He told Abraham to offer Isaac as a sacrifice. Abraham loved his son with all his heart but by this time in his walk with God, Abraham was willing to obey God and trust Him for the future, believing God’s promise. God spared Isaac because Abraham showed he loved God even more than his beloved son. Abraham’s journey of faith was now complete.

This story teaches us that God is willing to work with less than perfect people (sinners) that come to him in faith. God is always faithful to keep his promises. We must learn to be patient and wait on God. It was nearly 800 years before Abraham’s descendants owned the Promised Land and many more years before it became the great nation of Israel. But the greatest blessing we have from Abraham is that eventually one of his descendants was Jesus Christ, who brought the offer of salvation to all people (see Galatians 3:14). As it was with Abraham, our journey to faith leads us to Jesus, who said, Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. (John 8:56)

*His father Terah left Ur in Mesopotamia (present day Iraq) and headed for Canaan with the whole family when Abram was 70 years old. He followed along the Euphrates River, but settled about halfway around the Arabian desert in Haran. He died there at age 205.

Alternate introduction: (Show poster of stars.) How many stars are there? Too many to count. Today I want to talk about a man that God promised would have descendants (his children and their children and so on) more than the number of stars. God told Abram this before he ever had a child. Let’s learn about his journey to faith, trusting in God and what he was told.

©2001 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.

Moses Lost and Found

Text: Exodus 1:22-2:10; Matthew 16:25; Acts 7:22

Prop: a poster of baby Moses or a cardboard box labeled “lost and found” with several items in it

Summary: Moses was rescued and reared by Pharaoh’s daughter. God seeks to find the lost.

This box from the school office has a few items in it that were lost and found. Here is a sweater. I wonder if the boy who lost it tried to find it once he realized it was missing? Here is a math book. Maybe that was lost on purpose! I don’t see any really expensive items in this box. I suppose when something really nice is found a person might be tempted to keep it, even though it belongs to someone else. Could you imagine what would happen if a baby was lost? Today I want to tell you about the baby Moses and how he was lost and found.

The ruler of Egypt, the Pharaoh, feared that the Hebrews were growing in power because they were growing in number. The ruler decided that he would not let the males (boys) live when they were born. They were to be thrown in the river (to drown). What a horrible thing to do! (Read Exodus 1:22-2:4.)

Moses’ parents were from the tribe of Levi. The Levites were priests. Moses’ mother hid her baby until he was three months old. Then she knew the only way to save him was to “lose” him. So she made a basket of papyrus (pronounced puh-PIE-russ) branches, covered it with tar so it would not sink, and placed him inside it. Then she placed the basket among the reeds in the Nile River. She told his older sister Miriam to watch the basket to see what happened. In this simple act of faith she trusted God to care for her infant son.

(Read Exodus 2:5-10.) Moses was not lost very long. About this time the daughter of Pharaoh came out to bathe. She saw the basket and told her maids to get it. When she heard the baby cry she had pity and decided to adopt him. She named him Moses because he was drawn from the water. Miriam suggested that a Hebrew woman (the baby’s mother) could nurse him. One of the hardest things a mother has to do is let go of her child when he is grown. It must have been especially hard for Moses’ mother to let go of her baby (after he was weaned). The only way to save his life was to give him up to be adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter.

Our Lord Jesus calls us to let go of our own selfish wants and to serve him. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. – Matthew 16:25 The mother was unselfish and trusted God to care for baby Moses. In doing so God was able to use the Pharaoh to rear and educate the man who would lead the Israelites from slavery to freedom later. And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds. (Acts 7:22)

Through the ages God has found the lost. He wants everyone to come to a saving faith in the Lord Jesus. Will you trust him as your Savior today? Just as Moses was lost and found in the Nile, Jesus is ready to find you where you are today.

©2002 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.

Noah’s Ark – Rainbows and Promises

Mission Noah
Art courtesy of Mission Noah

And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat. – Genesis 8:4

Text: Genesis 8

Summary: God promised to never destroy the earth with water again. He gave us the rainbow as a reminder of his promise. We should keep our promises just as God keeps His promises.

God brought the ark to rest on the mountain on the same day that became Easter later. It was a beginning of a new world and new life. The old world had been swept away by the great flood. Noah and his family came out of the ark into a new world. Noah built an altar unto the Lord and sacrificed burnt offerings. Most people would curse God if he destroyed everything, but Noah was grateful that God had spared him and his family.

The Bible says that God realized that man would remain sinful, so he decided never to curse the ground for man’s sake, and never to smite every living thing again as he had done with the flood. So God made a promise to never destroy the earth by a flood again. When God makes a promise, he keeps it. As a sign of his promise, he placed the rainbow in the sky whenever it rained. Have you ever made a promise? Did you keep your promise? With people, we might forget what we promised or break our promise. If you tell someone you are going to do something, you need to keep your word. That is called integrity. A Christian should be able to keep his word of honor.

God’s sign that he would remember his promise was the rainbow. Have you ever seen a rainbow? Did you ever wonder what a rainbow was made of? It is made of light. In fact, it is made of seven colors of light. It only occurs when it rains. The light of the sun shines through the rain, causing the light to bend (or refract) and reflect off the rain. The rain acts like a prism, splitting the white light into the colors of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo (deep blue), and violet (purple). They always stay in the same order, because the frequency is from low to high. It always forms an arch. Does this sound like something God made? Yes, it is very orderly and dependable, just like God. Jesus is like the rainbow to us: when God sees us and our sin, he sees us through Jesus, who said “I am the light of the world.” (John 8:12) God doesn’t see our sin due to the sacrifice Jesus made for us on the cross.

Some people think the story of the flood is a myth, something made up. How do we know it is true? The Bible speaks many times about the flood and God’s word is true. Even our Lord Jesus spoke plainly about the flood when he spoke of his return to earth. In Matthew 24:37-39, Jesus said:

But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the Flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the Ark, and knew not until the Flood came, and took them all away, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

Let’s be ready when Jesus returns. Don’t miss the boat!

©1997 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.

Noah’s Ark – The Great Flood

The Invitation by Tom duBois
The Invitation by Tom duBois courtesy of Christ-Centered Art.

Quote: If Noah had been truly wise, he would have swatted those two flies. – Helen Castle

Text: Genesis 6:14-7:24

Summary: God provided detailed instructions for the Ark, and Noah obeyed God. The flood covered the entire earth and destroyed it. Noah and his family were saved.

In God’s Plan to Save Us we learned that Noah was good. God was going to save him and his family from the flood that would destroy the bad world. God’s plan was for Noah to construct a large vessel that would hold all the different kinds of animals. About 75,000 animals would need to go on the ark. Could it hold that many animals? Could Noah build such a boat? God gave Noah a head start. He told Noah when he was 480 years old that in another 120 years the judgment would come. When Noah was 500 years old he began to have children: three sons. Then the Noah & Sons Ark Supply Company began its task to build the ark. No one had ever seen much rain before. The earth had a mist, daily dew that would come, but that was it. They laughed at Noah and his boat. Sometimes people may laugh at Christians for doing the right thing, but what is important is that Noah obeyed God. We should obey God also, no matter what other people think.

God told Noah exactly how to build the ark: it was about 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet tall. It would have three decks, and a window for air. It only had one door. Through that door, all who entered would be saved. All who stayed behind would die. Jesus is like that door to us. In John 10:9 Jesus said I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved.

This is where most folks miss the boat. They think if they merely believe in God, in some shape, form, or fashion that is good enough. There are many false religions in the world but only one Christ. Some people think if they go to church that God will admit them to heaven. Going to church might make you a churchian, but it takes Jesus in your heart to make you a Christian!

The ark’s size made it six times longer than it was wide. This made it very stable in the water. If a large wave tried to turn it over, it would right itself. It would tend to position itself to face the waves. Even winds blowing three times stronger than a hurricane would not turn the ark over. The ark did not have a rudder to steer it. It only had to float. God was the pilot. Do you have trouble giving the steering wheel to God? Pretend you are in the ark, with nothing to grab hold of except God. The ark had room for 750 railroad cars of cargo. It could have easily held 180,000 sheep. There was room for all the animals, and hay and corn to feed them. Most of the animals would nap and hibernate during the rocky ride. But how did Noah get all the animals on board? God supernaturally directed the animals to come to the ark. He brought them in to save them from the flood.

How was Noah sure it would rain? Did he wash his car that day? No. God had told him in Genesis 7:4 For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights. So Noah built the ark, then his family went in the ark seven days before the flood when he was 600 years old. God brought in the animals and the Lord shut him in. God has always used the number 40 to signify a period of testing. Moses spent 40 years in the desert before God appeared to him at the burning bush. The children of Israel wandered in the wilderness for 40 years before they entered the Promised Land. Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness in temptation, and forty days after the resurrection proving he had risen before he ascended to heaven.

The flood was the worst disaster ever recorded in history. The entire earth was covered with water and there were no survivors except those on the ark. The fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. (Genesis 7:11) Noah and the animals were surely frightened. Great earthquakes hurled ash high in the air and it rained as it never has. Even the waters under the earth came out of the ground. The water rose to a height that covered the mountains. The waters rose and the ark floated for 150 days, or five months.

Even when it came to rest on the mountains of Ararat, it was not safe for Noah to leave the ark. Noah obeyed God and stayed in the ark until 375 days after the rain began, or over a year on the ark. God always knows how to keep us safe, and will tell us what to do.

©1997 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.

Noah’s Ark – God’s Plan to Save Us

But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God. The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. – Genesis 6:8f

Text: Genesis 6:8-13

Prop: a poster of animals going to Noah’s Ark

Summary: The story of Noah’s ark shows us that God has always had a plan to save us.

God rewards people who are good, but punishes those that are bad. Have you ever done something bad? When your parents found out about it, what happened? I don’t know about you, but I used to get spanked. Have you ever been spanked? Did your parents spank you because they didn’t love you anymore? No, they love you very much, but they wanted you to remember to do the right thing next time. They had to deal with your behavior so you would change it.

When God looked at the world that He had made, he became sad about how bad things had become. He had to deal with the world’s sin. He loved Noah and He had a plan to save us. Just as God saved Noah and his family from the flood waters in the ark, he sent Jesus to save us from our sins. In fact, many of the things we do in baptism remind us about the flood. The old world was swept away by the flood, and a new world was left when the waters went down. In baptism we show how our belief in Jesus has swept away our sins.

God’s plan to save Noah was to have him build an ark. God knew how to build it and what to use to build it. He gave Noah very detailed plans about how to build it. What if Noah had decided he would just build it the way that suited him? What if he had said, “Lord, I’ll build this boat with bricks. It will be the strongest boat ever!” The boat would surely need to be strong, but the bricks would not be light enough to float in water. The boat would sink. Can’t you hear God saying, “No, Noah, go for wood!” (gopher wood) Ha, ha!

God always knows what to do, and he will tell us. So we should pray to know what God wants us to do. If we pray we won’t make mistakes and sin. God told Noah to prepare a place for all the animals. How many animals of each kind did Noah bring? Yes, two of every kind, male and female. God wanted to have them for the new world that would come after the flood. He had Noah bring plenty of food for them also. God always provides for us. Even now He has prepared a place for all people who love Jesus and will come to get us one day, just as He came for the animals and Noah.

©1997 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.

Prepare the Way

He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias. – John 1:23

Text: Isaiah 40:3-5; John 1:23, 29

Prop: toy bulldozer, a cardboard box filled with sand and a few large rocks to remove

Summary: The prophet John the Baptist announced that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah. He fulfilled the words spoken by the prophet Isaiah of a voice in the wilderness clearing the way for the Lord.

Do you ever play in a sandbox? When I was your age I used to play in the sand a lot. Sometimes I played with Tonka® toys like this toy bulldozer. I could pretend to build roads and highways. Whenever I came to some rocks in the path I would have to remove them. [Demonstrate clearing a road in the dirt, having to remove some rocks in the way.) That made the road smooth so toy cars could ride on them. Today I want to share how a prophet spoke about preparing the way for Jesus to come.

A long time ago the prophet Isaiah spoke some words about making a highway in the wilderness. Let’s read about it. (Read Isaiah 40:3-5.) The wilderness around the Judean hills in Israel is very rugged and rocky. They have lots of rocks and are full of little hills and valleys. Even if you had lots of real bulldozers it would be very hard to make a highway. You would have to clear out a lot of rocks and boulders (big rocks), then spend a great amount of time cutting paths in the hills and filling in the valleys. It would be a huge task. So what was he talking about?

Isaiah said God’s messenger would announce that the Messiah was about to come to Jerusalem. God was coming to town! It was big news and a big event! If someone really important was coming to your house, you would probably make sure the pathway leading to your house was picked up. No tricycles or skateboards would be left in the way to trip over. John the Baptist was the messenger Isaiah spoke about. (Read John 1:23.) He told everyone to prepare their hearts because God’s chosen one, the Messiah, was coming to see them. John the Baptist told the poor and humble people that God cared about them. He told the religious leaders (Pharisees), who thought they did not need to repent, that God was not pleased with them. He urged everyone to repent and get ready for God’s visit. Repent means to turn around from doing bad things, and turn toward God and do what is right.

The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. (John 1:29) John was a witness for Jesus. John the Baptist said that Jesus would offer his life as a sacrifice for everyone who sinned. John was bold in telling others that Jesus was the Son of God. We should be like John and tell others about Jesus also. We should prepare the way for Jesus in our hearts and repent of our sins.

Let’s pray. Dear Lord Jesus, I’m sorry for the bad things I’ve done. Help me to tell others about you. Amen.

©2002 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.