We want kids to know what an incredible God they serve. Every day Krista and I try to plant seeds of faith in our girls in hopes that those seeds will sprout into something that will one day produce fruit. As this verse from Isaiah 61 indicates, soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow.
It’s a strange coincidence (our senior minister would say a coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous) that I stumbled on this verse during a bit of a crisis in my life. I actually turned to the passage after it was referenced in a meeting with another one of our ministers. The beginning of Isaiah 61 starts of with a proclamation of good news for the downtrodden. It talks of trading ashes for crowns and spirits of despair for garments of praise. At a time when I was looking for hope, this passage revealed to me where my hope needs to come from. The answer comes all the way at the end.
It is the Lord that makes righteousness. He is the one that makes praise. We search and search for things to give us hope and we try our hardest to live rightly. Our recent attempts at gardening have proven that though we can plant, weed and water, the veggies will take an act of God to produce the fruit he intends. What a relief it is knowing that though we may be brokenhearted, captive and prisoner, God is the one that will create praise and righteousness for us. He is the one who will give a crown of beauty instead of ashes and oil of joy instead of mourning.
The Year of the LORD’s Favor
1 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.