“He is not the soul of Nature, nor any part of Nature. He inhabits eternity: He dwells in a high and holy place: heaven is His throne, not his vehicle, earth is his footstool, not his vesture. One day he will dismantle both and make a new heaven and earth. He is not to be identified even with the ‘divine spark’ in man. He is God and not man.”
C.S. Lewis, Miracles
The words of the ancient prophet Isaiah are poetic. Reading in English would not make it clear, but to the scholars who can appreciate it, the Hebrew text is quite phenomenal. Isaiah was a singing prophet. I can only imagine how he would sing the sharp judgments over idolatry, godlessness and sin over evil cities and hardened hearts in a deep angry voice. On the other hand I can hear him in an anguished cry to repent and a passionate joyous call declaring the loving promises of God over his people. Isaiah feels like my dear friend, sometimes the wise and loving grandfather I never knew and most often the trusted mentor I desperately need.
I wonder how the words of Isaiah 61 would have sounded in his voice and words. It is words of magnificence about the healing, salvation, liberation and restoration for the loved ones of a miracle-working God who has everything under control. Can you “hear” him in you inner being?
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,
Because the Lord has anointed Me
To preach good tidingsto the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim libertyto the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,
3 To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beautyfor ashes,
The oil of joyfor mourning,
The garment ofpraisefor the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”
Just these first verses stir up a passion in me to experience the Spirit of God and speak the words of God.
All the heartache, desperation and destruction of a broken world could find solace, comfort and salvation from these life-changing words of Scripture. It is significant how much emphasis is on mourning and tears. The promise of freedom from the limitations of spiritual imprisonment by the evil woes of life is a powerful promise of deliverance. Life breeds fear, anger, sexual sin and other kinds of wickedness to enslave us to the devil. Supernatural release and restoration are promised to all who seek salvation in the grace of God.
And they shall rebuild the old ruins,
They shall raise up the former desolations,
And they shall repair the ruined cities,
The desolations of many generations.
The brokenness of our world is a ruin of tears and depression. Fear and bondage of any kind keep us locked up and limit our potential. The good news is that the century old remedy for all oppression still stands as the powerful solution to all desolation of life. It is the outstanding theme of the Psalms.
Praise God! Look up and praise your Saviour and Lord. Know that He will deal with the ruins and misery of your life. Grab hold of his greatness and goodness like a drowning man in a raging sea. “See” yourself as a tree of righteousness.
In the words of this same prophet as few chapters earlier, God says to you:
O you afflicted one,
Tossed with tempest, and not comforted,
Behold, I will lay your stones with colorful gems,
And lay your foundations with sapphires. (Isaiah 54:11)
You are the jewels in his crown. (Malachi 3:16-18)
You are the afflicted one who are going to rebuild, who will surrender control to the Holy Spirit to initiate peace and restoration of the walls of your city, your family relationships and all the wreckage of life around you. You will announce freedom to the prisoners and live in the comfort of your loving Father.
Think with me through the details of this Word from God. The consolation of God’s presence and intervention is to be found in the reality of daily living. It is the oil of joy and the garment of praise that heal and cover. Oil is what we take into our bodies for nourishment and medication. A garment is what we wear on the outside. We do not go naked. Our world is obsessed with clothing. Just think of the percentage clothing stores in any shopping centre.
A garment of praise is probably the most beautiful and most elegant clothing possible. Think of a cloak embroidered with the finest gemstones and silk thread. Your foundations in sapphires…
Years ago my mother had a dream about my husband and I. She was in our driveway with her car, struggling to unload a heavy chest from the trunk. We stood on the front porch and did not offer any assistance. She knew she had to open the chest and show us what is inside. When she opened it, it was full of the most beautiful cloaks she has ever seen. My mother was a seamstress herself and appreciated fabrics and embroidery. She told me of the dream and announced that she will pray for an interpretation. Early the next morning she phoned.
God said: We had to wear our testimony and Word revelation so that others would be blessed by it. The jewels and gold were the tests that refined us as people and our Rhema-words were the jewels that we spoke when we testify of the goodness of the Lord. We had to “look” the work of God in our lives.
What can I say? I would be most flattered if the people say of me: Oh, here comes old Praise the Lord again!
Dress up Pebble pal! Wear your praise. Break loose from the bondage of depression with a constant awareness of the gemstones in your heart. Every tear is a diamond of victory and joy, recorded by God.
You number my wanderings;
Put my tears into Your bottle;
Are they not in Your book? (Psalms 56:8)
Let our words be the words of Jesus of whom is said:
For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure. (John 3:34)