“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; 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. I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” Isaiah 61:1-3,10
This message of healing, liberty, release, justice, and comfort entrusted to Isaiah is indeed good news. Anointed with the Spirit of the Lord, he uses several analogies to describe what God’s favor means: where ashes were spread on the head in time of sorrow or great conviction, they would be replaced with a beautiful headdress. Mourning would be soothed with a gentle pouring of gladness, a depleted and weary spirit cloaked with a garment of hearty praise. Each was a picture of clothing, a covering- not so much a concealing as a display of the loveliness of salvation, the splendor of righteousness, the sparkle of great rejoicing.
When the Lord God has spread His mantle of salvation on us, his bride, we have a message of good and happy news. What He has done in freeing us from captivity to sin’s entanglement and penalty He can do for others, and we have the privilege and holy compulsion of proclaiming it, of taking part in the planting and growth of His children that they spread their arms and lives wide like oaks to proclaim His praise. (2 Corinthians 5:14-20)
Where am I taking time with those who mourn and languish? Have I been deliberate to befriend the poor, needy, lost, faint? Do I reach out to those enslaved to inordinate affections or prickly sin habits? What messages does my tongue bring? If it is more natural to spew condemnation, or chastisement, or dead-end criticism, would I open my mouth to the Lord’s powerful anointing to bring instead freedom-giving truth and transformation? How well do my countenance and words and manner of life exude the hope of the Spirit of the living God, and engender unceasing praise? (John 8:32)
Lovely and loving Savior, I rejoice in the gift of Your redeeming grace, the wonder of Your beautiful headdress of salvation. Adorn my words with Your splendor and truth. May my life reflect and proclaim all You are to a hurting world, that You make a lasting difference, to the praise of Your glory.