THE FORERUNNER – Preparing the Wayby Arthur Wallis“Behold, I send My messenger, and he shall preparethe way before Me: and the Lord whom you seek,shall suddenly come to His temple” (Mal. 3:1).In preparation for a great visitation, God may raise upmany messengers, each preparing the way of the Lordin his own appointed sphere. This is surely a day whenGod is looking for forerunners to blaze the trail of revival;not smooth preachers, but rugged prophets: men of thestamp of Elijah, who, with the hand of the Lord uponhim, girded up his loins and ran before the king to theentrance of the royal city (1 Kings 18:46). Thus hedemonstrated the spiritual work he was doing as aforerunner. On Carmel Elijah had prepared the way ofthe Lord, and now the Lord was coming “as the latterrain that waters the earth” (Hos 6:3).Those whom God calls to such a ministry – and acall is essential – must be prepared for a pathway ofunpopularity and misunderstanding. “You troubler ofIsrael” was the way Ahab addressed Elijah (1 Ki 8:17),and so this prophet whom God had sent to deal withthe “Achans in the camp” (see Joshua 7:25) washimself accused of being one. John the Baptistdemonstrates also this element in the ministry of theforerunner. Standing alone as the champion ofrighteousness, he unmasked the hypocrisy of thereligionists and even denounced the sin of the kingupon the throne. This man, who was “much morethan a prophet”, was called to seal his ministry withhis blood, yet he succeeded in preparing the way ofthe Lord. “Among them that are born of women therehas not arisen a greater than John the Baptist”(Matt. 11:11). A forerunner must be one who cansay, “I truly am full of power by the Spirit of the Lord,and of judgment, and of might, to declare unto Jacobhis transgression, and to Israel his sin” (Mic. 3:8).Jeremiah was another forerunner. In a day dark withdeclension and judgment his fearless ministryhelped to check the evils of the time, and preparethe way for a reviving that he did not live to witness,under Ezra and Nehemiah. The commission givenhim by the Lord is deeply significant:“I have set you over nations and over kingdoms, topluck up and to break down, and to destroy and tooverthrow; to build, and to plant” (Jer. 1:10). It willbe noted that there is twice the emphasis on thenegative element as on the positive; two thirds ofhis ministry was to be destructive, and only onethird constructive. This is characteristic of the workof a forerunner. Stumbling blocks of iniquity have tobe taken up (Isa. 57:14) and stones of unbelief haveto be gathered out (Isa. 62:10) if the way of the Lordis to be prepared. The very word “prepare” containsthis idea of casting out, emptying, and clearing asa field before planting. Destruction, ruthless andthorough, must precede the greater work ofconstruction that is to follow. It takes a man who“fears no one but God and hates nothing but sin” toproclaim the message of the forerunner.The Proclamation:The first point to note in the proclamation of theforerunner is the place of visitation. “Prepare ye in thewilderness. . . make straight in the desert,” cries theprophet. We should not be surprised to discover thatGod does not often choose the well watered garden, thefruitful field, or the luxurious forest as the scene of adivine visitation in revival, for they have no need. Hechooses rather the dry and weary land, parched andbarren, whose yawning cracks plead to heaven forshowers; it is here that God is pleased to come in therain of the Spirit. The promise that “the glory of the Lordshall be revealed” expresses the very nature andpurpose of revival. God therefore chooses the placewhich provides the greatest scope for the demonstrationof that glory. When the spiritual wilderness istransformed into a paradise men exclaim “this is thefinger of God”; they acknowledge that “the exceedinggreatness of the power” that has accomplished themiracle must be of God and not of men, and so theLord alone is exalted in that day.“Wilderness” is that which the farmer looks upon asunworkable, and therefore hopeless. Maybe that wordis a fitting description of the sphere of your spiritualactivities, that which has been for so long the scene ofyour travail and tears, your labors and longings.When it seems a sheer impossibility that there shouldbe a work of God there, take heed to the command,“prepare ye in the wilderness. . . make straight in thedesert”, for God has promised that “The wildernessand the solitary place shall be glad; and the desertshall rejoice, and blossom as the rose” (Isa.35:1).Here is a message of hope for some discouragedservant. The God to whom no situation is impossible,has chosen the desert as the place in which to manifestHis power and glory. “Strengthen the weak hands,”continues the prophet, “and confirm the feeble knees.Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fearnot: behold, your God will come with vengeance, withthe recompense of God; He will come and save you…For in the wilderness shall waters break out, andstreams in the desert. “(verses 3-7).Before this wonderful work of transformation can takeplace a way must be prepared, a highway must bemade straight. But who is to do it? You! “Prepare ye. . .the way of the Lord,” cries the forerunner. But how is itto be done? “Beginning with me” is the first step. “Anda highway shall be there, and it shall be called The wayof holiness” (verse 8).We need to pause to ask ourselves: Is my heart, is mylife a highway of holiness for God? Have I swept away thestones of unbelief? Have the crooked places ofunrighteousness been made straight? Have I taken upthe stumbling blocks of inconsistency, unreality, andworldliness? When the God of unsullied holiness movesin the irresistible power of revival, will He find in me theavenue He needs in this spiritual wilderness? If youcannot answer “Yes” to these questions, lay down thisbook and seek the Lord now. When revival comes itmay be too late. It was said of David Brainerd, “Godcould flow unhindered through him. The omnipotenceof grace was neither arrested nor straitened by theconditions of his heart; the whole channel wasbroadened and cleaned out for God’s fullest and mostpowerful passage, so that God with all His mighty forcescould come down on the hopeless, savage wildernessand transform it into His blooming, fruitful garden.” Herewas one who truly prepared the way of the Lord in hisown life, and God saw to it that His glory was revealedin revival. When it comes to the mighty movements ofthe Spirit, every heart is either a highway or a hindrance.“Moving to others” sums up the next sphere in whichwe must prepare the way of the Lord. Revival trulybegins in us, but it does not end there. There must be asense of responsibility towards our fellow believers whodo not yet feel the need or see the possibilities of thehour. “Write the vision, and make it plain. . . that hemay run that readeth it” (Hab 2:2). Until the vision iswritten others will never read; until others read they willnever run, as men with a mission, as those sent of theSpirit. The vision must be written upon our hearts, uponour lips, upon our lives, if the way of the Lord is to beprepared in the lives of others. There must beexpectancy in our praying, passion in our preaching,boldness in our planning, and holiness in our living if weare to stir the saints. We must be miniature forerunners,each in our own sphere; it is not enough to prepare theway in our own hearts, we must prepare the way in thehearts of others. This is a ministry which demandssteadfastness of purpose, desire, and expectancy, for itis fraught with disappointments.Some seem to catch the vision at once, but setbacks,delays, or opposition take their toll, and they lose thatvision. Others are slow to catch fire, but once aflamethey are steadfast and irresistible in their burning.The Promise:When we have prepared the way of the Lord in ourhearts, in the hearts of others, in the hearts of sinners,and in the heavenly places, then “Our God shall come,and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour beforeHim” (Ps. 50:3). We must expect a spiritual revolutionif the wilderness is to be transformed into the gardenof the Lord. God will see to the revolution if we willprovide Him with the roadway. Herein lies the wonderof the promise. It is not our concern to transform thegeneral situation, to deal with valleys and mountains,crooked paths and rough places, and whatever elsemay make up the spiritual wilderness. Give God ahighway and He promises that “every valley shall beexalted, and every mountain and hill shall be madelow: and the crooked shall be made straight, and therough places plain: and the glory of the Lord shall berevealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for themouth of the Lord hath spoken it”. This is the revolutionof revival: the wilderness turned upside down and inside out.God is promising that this visitation will bring a reversalof values and a transformation of conditions. Thevalleys, abased and despised in the eyes of men, shallbe exalted. The fear of God, obedience to His word,reverence for His day, love of righteousness and truthand equity, and all the things which have becomevalleys and depressions, matters of no account, in thefoolishness of man’s thinking, shall be exalted to a placeof prominence according to God’s original intention.Similarly, mountains of pride, unbelief, materialism,worldly cares, pleasures, ambitions and lusts shall flowdown at the presence of the Lord. This is what Godpromises to do, in greater or lesser degree, in thevisitations of revival.Lastly, all the promise is gathered up and expressed inone final all inclusive declaration, “And the glory of theLord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.”Here is the highest and holiest thing in revival, themanifestation of God, the shining forth of His glory beforethe eyes of men. It is the soul who, like Isaiah, hascaught a glimpse of that effulgent glory – and oneglimpse is enough to spoil him for all of earth – who willgo forth, whatever the cost, to obey the divine commandby preparing the way of the Lord, that men too maybehold that glory and be changed.[-From “In the Day of Thy Power”“-The Scriptural Principles of Revival”by Arthur Wallis].
This message was published by is published by- Andrew Strom, West Auckland, New Zealand.

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