Here, Isaiah is trying to give a message of hope to the Israelites who have been carried off into exile in Assyria. He speaks to the fear, the anxiety, and the despair they are experiencing as they have watched the destruction of the very fabric of their lives.
Rather than seeing this reality as the natural consequence of turning from God and seeking other objects or activities for their devotion, the Hebrew people viewed it as punishment inflicted by God. Instead of recognizing that they had turned away from God, they thought God had turned away from them. Isaiah insists that nevertheless, we have a God of comfort and of deliverance. In vs. 3-5, the voice cries out for the people to prepare a better, easier way for the Lord to return to them.
Especially this year during Advent season, we long for Christ to reenter our lives and our world in a powerful way. To help in that process, what roads need to be straightened? What mountains seem insurmountable? What valleys seem too deep?
Offer a prayer for the desperate times in which we find ourselves and plead for God to bring a measure of hope.