THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Used with permission.
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.
So it was in the ancient days. These precious words were imputed on prophet Isaiah…and the beautiful language of The Most Glorious descended…and was written down on a scroll. In them was declared the mission of the Messiah on earth. To the children of Israel who first received this prophecy, it was a message of hope and peace. To all who understood the true meaning of these words, they became cisterns of flowing water quenching their thirsting souls. They looked beyond the present sufferings, knowing that the day will come-it will surely come, when a crown of beauty will be bestowed upon them.
How refreshing, how exciting to know that The Messiah Himself, stood up and read the words Himself. So He declared, “The spirit of the Lord is upon me, to proclaim good news to the poor…to proclaim freedom for the captives…and freedom for the prisoners…to comfort all those who mourn…to bestow upon them a crown of beauty, not of ashes… shortly afterwards, he declared “These words have been fulfilled today” (Luke 4:18). My heart declares “Amen” to these words, with the truest of joy.
The spiritual poverty… None of us escaped this tragedy. In us is a deep pit filled with spiritual darkness. An emptiness that we struggle to fill, unfortunately, with emptiness-worldly honor, fame and pride. A great craving for financial wealth is also an idol for many. All these things tend to be our hope. We hate and kill, we oppress our fellow men. We tear, compete with and bring down others, thinking that by elevating ourselves above them, we will secure inner peace and true joy. Unfortunately, we inwardly remain frustrated. We are prisoners and captives to sin. Indeed we mourn. Before God we are like beings, moving about, dressed in filthy rags. All actions to help ourselves are like holding on to ropes of sand. Only Him can deliver us from our helpless situation.
The words above bring hope in our souls. We who are born in sin and are of the sinful nature can be elevated-even to being children of God. Peace, love, patience, kindness, gentleness…(Galatians 5:22-23) will now be our fruit and-Oh! There is no joy that surpasses such a life. This life can also be ours through faith. Apart from sin, there are still other prisons from which the LORD desires to free us. He will bless our work that we shall lack nothing. Our needs shall be supplied. He will replace our mourning with laughter. He will fill our hearts with hope. Even when the storms of this life hit us, He lifts our minds to the glory that awaits us. He is going to bestow upon us a crown of beauty, not of ashes. The end of all things will come and He will wash away all our tears…and there will be no more death or disease (Revelation 21:4). Do not lose heart, for Jesus has said these words and they are true, “… the Spirit of the Lord is upon me, to proclaim good news to the poor…”
May these words encourage you as you go about the activities of your day. God loves you. You are His child.
I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.”
Amen! The rain comes upon dry land in due season, to refresh life. The blades of young grass spring up, and flowers blossom and spread sweet fragrance, and gladden the earth “I have swept away your offenses like a cloud…return to me, I have redeemed you”. How refreshing these words are. To the sinner’s soul they are like gentle drops of rain upon dry land, upon scotching grass. A heart heavy, a mind burdened with sin and guilt, can all receive relief.
There is a temptation to think that God is a dictator, one of a jealous eye, always searching to punish anyone who breaks His law. Yes-God hates sin but loves the sinner. The devil is willing to make a fatal deception that we are always completely cut off from God’s love when we fall into a single fault. By the beautiful utterance above, our God says much about what He is. These are words of forgiveness, words like those of a parent to his dear child. God is love (1 John 4:8). This love has been manifested to us through His Son Jesus Christ. Do you doubt the love of God? Look at the cross. That is the price Christ paid for your redemption-death, even death on the cross.
“…I have redeemed you”. Everything needed for your redemption has been done. Now partake of your freedom by faith. I have broken your chains. I have set you free. I have set before you an open door that no one can close (revelation 3:8). I have delivered you, you are now my child. This is an affirmation that the mighty hand has gone before us, to enable us have the right to all these privileges. God made the first step. He sought us before we sought Him. He says “ In the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people’ they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’ “Return to me, for I have redeemed you”. The same one who inspired the writing of these words invites; “Come unto me… and I will give you rest.”(Matthew 11:28) These words are like precious stones laid in the earth. Now that we have found them, let’s hide this great treasure in our hearts. Moreover Jesus affirms these words when He says. Do not fear little flock, it your Father’s pleasure to give you the Kingdom.
My prayer is that these words will bring healing, hope and strength to your soul. May the Lord bless the work of your hands this day. Amen.