May 21, 2018
Isaiah 61:1-4 … The Spirit of the lord God is upon me, because the lord has anointed me to bring good new 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 in Zion… to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise 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.
This is a beautiful promise. When I read it today, I realized it is primarily about internal pain. He doesn’t promise to fix things the way we want. To the poor, He promises, not money, but good news. To captives, He promises the opening of the prison. It just occurred to me that a captive has to walk out of the prison. We can still be in prison even if the gate is open. He mentions a “garment of praise”… yesterday, I wrote about gates of praise. A garment is what people see when they see you. It is the first thing they notice. I wonder if that is why my wife changes her clothes a lot sometimes before w e leave the house? Anyway, continuing on yesterdays journal, The first thing people ought to notice about us is praise. And, if we put together yesterday and today, we notice that, in the Lord’s timing, the garment of praise coincides with the opening of prison doors for the captive. Jesus was a person of praise; He praised God constantly. He opens prison doors for captives. Being in jail is obvious to all. Being a captive in one’s mind is private. Sadly, I think that Jesus has set people free but they don’t walk out the door. They remain in captivity, complaining about their situation, instead of thanking God for the open door. This is easier to see in other people; we must check our own speech. Do I talk continually about “my addiction”, like I own it? Do you? Put on the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit. A faint spirit speaks of a weak, resigned, inner person. “I am a failure.” “I can’t seem to do anything right.” Watch your confession; Jesus has set you free.