This passage in Isaiah screams of HOPE! It speaks of favor and comfort, and trading ashes for a beautiful headdress, mourning for gladness, and a faint spirit for a garment of praise. If gives a new name to God's people, oaks of righteousness, and calls them plantings of the Lord. All this for one reason; that He may be glorified.
"To proclaim the year of the Lord's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion-to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified. They shall build up the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations." Isaiah 61:2-4
Isaiah 61 is a short chapter with only eleven verses, but they are powerful verses. Verses 1-3 speak to who Messiah is and what He will do for His people. He promises the future blessedness of the church. Verses 4-7 speak to what His people, the church, will do, and the church praises God for His mercies. And verse 8-11 speak to the everlasting covenant between God and His people.
I especially love verse eleven. "For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to sprout up before all the nations."
Another passage in Isaiah with a similar theme is Isaiah 55:10-11. “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My Word be that goes out from My mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it."
Righteousness and praise will grow around the world. His Word will not return empty. His purpose will be accomplished. The church is part of this plan. We are part of this plan. God's people are plants He is tending in His garden to bring righteousness, praise and His Word to the world. We know that God has a real green thumb, and His garden will thrive!
How can you look at a passage so beautiful and think that the Old Testament is no longer relevant?
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