Lord, open my heart to what You would say to me today. Speak to me through Your Word.
Read Isaiah 61:1–11
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,
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
3 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.
4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins
and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
that have been devastated for generations.
5 Strangers will shepherd your flocks;
foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.
6 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.
7 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.
8 “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.
9 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.”
10 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.
11 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.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Reflect“What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Mic. 6:8, NIV).
Isaiah’s Servant, the Messiah, is clear about his mission: it’s about radical change, replacing the old with the new. Look where he focuses: the poor, the broken-hearted, captives, prisoners (1).
Read it again and see what he will do for each of them.
For those in Zion who mourn and grieve, he offers them an exchange—three times he says “instead of” (2,3). Look at each of them and imagine how those groups felt at the prospect of those exchanges. But this vision doesn’t stop at individual happiness. Here there is hope for their environment (4), for their society and for their economy (5,6).
Plenty of leaders and politicians have offered hope to their people—far fewer have delivered it. But this promise is different for the simple reason that it comes from God himself. Two related
aspects of his character guarantee that it will happen: he loves justice and he is faithful (8). How much do you reflect those aspects of his character?
What had seemed at best a hope, at worst a vague mystery suddenly came alive hundreds of years later when Jesus read these words in his home synagogue and said that it was now fulfilled (Luke 4:20,21).
Are you involved in serving any of the groups mentioned in verses 1–3? How can you demonstrate the Messiah’s mission?
Use the first few verses of this chapter as a prayer of thanksgiving today for what God has done for you.