Thursday, October 9, 2014

Isaiah 61

I mentioned in my October update post that I am working on memorizing Isaiah 61. It is one of my favorite chapters in all of Scripture. I love the hope it brings, the redemption it promises and the goodness of God that it calls to mind. And on top of all of that, it is oh so beautifully written. The English teacher in me loves the imagery and the figurative language.

The Year of the Lord’s Favor
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
 to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
 and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
 and the day of vengeance of our God,

to comfort all who mourn,
    and provide for those who grieve in Zion—

to bestow on them a crown of beauty
 instead of ashes,

the oil of joy
 instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
 instead of a spirit of despair.

They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
 for the display of his splendor.
They will rebuild the ancient ruins
 and restore the places long devastated; 

they will renew the ruined cities
 that have been devastated for generations.
Strangers will shepherd your flocks;
foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.
And you will be called priests of the Lord,
 you will be named ministers of our God.

You will feed on the wealth of nations,
    and in their riches you will boast.
Instead of your shame
 you will receive a double portion,

and instead of disgrace
 you will rejoice in your inheritance.

And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,
and everlasting joy will be yours.
 “For I, the Lord, love justice;
 I hate robbery and wrongdoing. 

In my faithfulness I will reward my people
and make an everlasting covenant with them.
Their descendants will be known among the nations
and their offspring among the peoples.
All who see them will acknowledge
 that they are a people the Lord has blessed.”
I delight greatly in the Lord;
 my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,

as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
For as the soil makes the sprout come up
 and a garden causes seeds to grow,

so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness
 and praise spring up before all nations.
Isaiah 61 

There is so much to love about this chapter. It is so full of hope, and that is something I need in my life right now. At church this past Sunday, one of our pastors was talking about what hope means in the Bible versus what it means in the world. In the world, hope is something we want to happen, something we wish for. In the Bible, hope is a promise. Our hope is that God is who He says He is. That is a promise based in the sound goodness of His character, and His character is love. 

So, over the coming weeks and months, I am working on memorizing the entire chapter. While I have always loved Isaiah 61, I can't take credit for this idea. Over coffee with my cousin, Jennifer, she brought up that she had been praying this chapter over her family and mine, asking that this would be the year of the Lord's favor in our lives. I love that. And so I decided that it would be a good idea to commit the whole chapter to memory, to hide it in my heart so that on the days I am really struggling, I can remind myself right away of the HOPE God promises.

The promise that one day I will…

Receive a crown of beauty for my ashes,

The oil of joy for my mourning,

And a garment of praise for my spirit of despair.

Be called an oak of righteousness

And be a planting of the Lord for the display of HIS splendor.

I need these reminders as we walk the path the Lord has laid out for us. It is far too easy to walk in the company of doubt and fear, to keep the company of sorrow and shame.

And I want to let these things go, and instead be found in glory of the Lord and let my heart rest in the HOPE He brings.

My goal is to have it memorized by the end of the year. So if you see me, quiz me.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...