Oaks of Righteousness

One of my favourite passages of Scripture is Isaiah 61. Most of us are familiar with the first two verses because in Luke 4:18-19 Jesus read them in the synagogue in Nazareth:

"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favour."

However, few of us go on to read the rest of chapter that speaks of Christ's second coming. While I love the first two verses because as a Christian my eyes have been opened to the glory of God, I have received the good news and been set from my slavery to sin and death, it is the fulfilment of Jesus' other promises in the rest of the chapter that motivate me in my current walk to keep on striving and to keep my eyes on the things to come rather than the things of this world.

At the end of verse 2 Jesus promises, to comfort all those who mourn.To bestow 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. No longer will we mourn and grieve over those we have lost, or remember our past failures and disappointments. No longer will we be stained by the shame of sin. The Lord says we will be called oaks of righteousness planted by him to display his splendour. When I walk through Cambridge and see the beautiful majestic oaks that grace our town my heart is filled with joy that so will I be to the glory of God. Majestic, steadfast, strong and fruitful. Verse 4 tells us the ancient ruins will be rebuilt. This broken corrupted world we currently live in will be made new. Mankind's culture of ruination, failure, and defeat will give way to a new eternal culture in heaven of life and flourishing. When we see what the Lord has done for those who love him our souls will be filled with praise for the one who through his death clothed us in the garment of salvation and arrayed us in a robe of righteousness.

So if you haven't read the whole of Isaiah 61 why don't you take a moment to do so and be encouraged.


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