Isaiah 61:1-3

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach 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 gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.  The will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.  NIV

Isaiah was a prophet.  I’ve just finished a 10-week study of the book of Isaiah, and I cherished every minute of it.

These verses are at the heart of this book, I think, because they proclaim the coming of Jesus.  In fact, I learned, Luke records Jesus reading from this passage in the synagogue in Galilee in Luke 4:18.  After Christ reads from Isaiah, he says to those gathered, “today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

When I look at these verses through the eyes of my project, the part that jumps out to me is “a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.”  When I looked up the word despair in my Hebrew to English dictionary, it says, “dull, weak, smoldering;” while in contrast, “praise,” is translated “glory.”

When I think more about how the glory of God is described in the Bible, I think that it is often described in terms of bright and burning light.  I love that.

On my own, trapped in my own prison of worldly worries, my spirit will be weak and the light within me, my soul, will merely smolder.  But, when I am united with Christ through his gift of salvation, I am in-dwelt with a fire in my soul that brightly reflects the glory of God.

I also love that this verse calls it a “garment of praise.”  When I think of a garment, it is something that I put on, often to protect me from the things of this world … I put on a coat when it is cold, a raincoat when it rains, etc.

Through Christ, I have been clothed in a glorious garment of praise.  If I am praising God, what is there to worry about?

I am rejoicing in that today.

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Filed under despair, Isaiah, Old Testament

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