And so yesterday we learned about Lectio Davina – the slow study of scriptures that allows one to process His words a bit deeper and begin to hear His voice.
Today, we are going to look at a few versions of Isaiah 61:1-2 and utilize the Lectio process while reading these translations.
To review, here are the four steps of Lectio Davina:
First Reading: (Lectio) – Read the passage. What word or phrase stands out to me?
Second Reading: (Meditatio) – Read again. What in the text touches my life or relates to it in some way?
Third Reading: (Oratio) – Read again. What is God inviting me to do or be? How is He asking me to respond?
Fourth Reading: (Contemplatio) Read again and rest in God’s loving presence.
I’ve included my three favorite versions of this chapter below – pick which one you prefer or use Lectio on all three!
Let’s first focus on the New Living Translation:
1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is upon me, because the LORD has appointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to announce that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.
2 He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the LORD’s favor has come, and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.
3 To all who mourn in Israel, he will give beauty for ashes, joy instead of mourning, praise instead of despair. For the LORD has planted them like strong and graceful oaks for his own glory.
The Voice (which is my new favorite version – if you haven’t heard of it, check it out!)
1 The Spirit of the Lord, the Eternal, is on me. The Lord has appointed me for a special purpose. He has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to repair broken hearts, and to declare to those who are held captive and bound in prison, “Be free from your imprisonment!”
2 He has sent me to announce the year of jubilee, the season of the Eternal’s favor: for our enemies it will be a day of God’s wrath; For those who mourn it will be a time of comfort.
3 As for those who grieve over Zion, God has sent me to give them a beautiful crown in exchange for ashes, To anoint them with gladness instead of sorrow, to wrap them in victory, joy, and praise instead of depression and sadness. People will call them magnificent, like great towering trees standing for what is right. They stand to the glory of the Eternal who planted them.
New International Version, 1984
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
3and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them 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.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.
Our theme this week is “freedom.” Captives will be released and prisoners will be freed – sounds great, eh?
Take a moment to ask God what might be holding you captive. What is keeping you in your own little jail cell?
As children of the Highest King, we are his princes and princesses. He desires to replace our crown of ashes (those who mourned in Biblical times placed ashes on their foreheads) with one of beauty – the “mark” is gone and our crown is resplendent and glowing. Don’t you just love this visual?
And get this – while wearing that crown of beauty, we will experience joy instead of mourning and praise instead of despair.
Lastly, Oak Trees are known for their longevity and deep root systems – they’re sturdy and though they might sway in the wind, they do not topple.
Here’s to the becoming of strong and graceful oaks.
Questions to ponder this week:
1. What do I need to free myself from?
2. Have I accepted my crown of beauty or am I still insisting on wearing a crown of ashes?
3. Do I really believe that Jesus wants to “bind up” my broken heart?
Related scriptures on freedom:
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.- Galatians 5:1
In my anguish I cried to the LORD, and He answered by setting me free. – Psalm 118:5
Since the children [are human], He too shared in their humanity so that by His death He might destroy Him who holds the power of death– that is, the devil — and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. – Hebrews 2:14-15
The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God, the Rock, my Savior! He is the God who avenges me. . . who sets me free from my enemies. 2 Samuel 22:47-49
Jesus said, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” – John 8:31-32
But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. – Romans 6:17-18
For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance– now that He has died as a ransom to set them free. . .- Hebrews 9:15
If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. – John 8:36
“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” – John 8:31-32
I was leaping inside reading this scripture that I have read many times before, but today it hit me hard and deep reminding me that what my husband and I feared the most, the telling of truth is what set us free. No longer are we slaves to hidden sin, but free to wear the crown of beauty instead of ashes.
I gathered so much from today’s scripture reading. In looking at a commentary to gain deeper understanding of word choice I loved discovering that “the freeing/opening” from prison can also be translated as Jesus did in Luke 4 “to give the blind sight.”
How exciting and humbling that we as a group this week are reading together the same scripture Jesus read in the temple. This scripture in Isaiah is about His coming to free, to announce, to proclaim etc. So in awe that he allows us to take part!
First of all, HOORAY!!!! I love when I hear chains clanking to the ground. You DO indeed wear a crown of beauty and not ashes.
Secondly, yes, I love the part in Luke 4 where Jesus references Isaiah 61 and proclaims that the scripture had been fulfilled.
And yes, I agree – in continual awe of His goodness…
Thank you for all of your insights, Jennifer! So thankful you’re here!
Off what Jennifer said, I also was hit with “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” I’ve heard that a bazillion times, and probably usually not even in “serious” religious conversation, but this time. wow. Jesus is the truth. If I know Jesus, then I He sets me free! I’m free! I have been free for a long time, but just didn’t really KNOW it! The other one is “He is the God who avenges me. . . who sets me free from my enemies.” 2 Samuel 22:47-49 Does that sound like he has got my back or what?? He AVENGES me. For all the wrongs that I have suffered, he avenges me and sets me free from my enemies so they can’t hurt me anymore! Why have I been letting them? After all this time? He removed me years ago from those situations and I’ve been dwelling in the pit ever since, when I should have been tasting the sweet taste of freedom in Christ Jesus. Thanks for those verses Natalie.
Thank Him, girl. YES. You are free of IT ALL. ALL OF IT, girl.
And yes, He fights for you daily. :)
I love watching you break free a little more, bit by bit…It’s a beautiful scene to behold.
Thankful for you on so many levels.
Lisa….comment love to you!
I love your insights Lisa. These verses make me realise that he doesn’t just give me the crown of grace but true freedom – no longer bound by chains to that horrid pit, but released into God’s purpose for my life. Set apart, chosen and fiercely protected.
YES! Love those last three: set apart, chosen, and fiercly protected.
So great to see you here, Kate, and thankful you are in this group!
Kate, I love “true freedom” wow! We are chosen, set apart and fiercely protected and now we must give him glory fully in all that we do.
To read all these scriptures and see the word FREE repeating absolutely amazes me. The struggle for me is that I know God can set me free, and I have talked to God about my struggles, but how do I begin with the truth. So glad that I have a week to read this and ponder and pray.
Yes, that’s precisely why we are moving very slowly and not hurrying through the scriptures so we can really digest it and make it become a part of our being.
The truth comes from scripture, yes, but positive self-talk that includes grace – for yourself. Treat yourself like you would a small child trying to learn something new and be patient – it’s a process!
And the beautiful thing? It’s already started.
So happy you are a part of this group, Jo-Anne!
This is your beginning. So many cannot say they have a beginning, but you can! Accept what is freely given! Celebrating with you!
Wow. Did I read the same verses in the first lesson as I did in Lesson 2? Really? The first time around, even with 4 deliberate readings, had me concentrating on “comfort the broken hearted” and I immediately related it to a situation that is causing our family alot of pain. But the word “me” stuck right out at me with every mention of it, I felt that meant “I” was to comfort the broken hearted which only reiterated to me that I needed to be a source of strength in the midst of this and that God would take it and set things right so we needn’t fret over how to do that ourselves. But reading the verses again, in different translations, for the second lesson has been an eye-opener. Yes, the “me” is important but moreso than I at first realized. The message is meant for me – to receive – not for me to give right now. Without receiving His comfort, without realizing He wants to heal MY broken heart, I will not be able to truly give comfort to those I love who are hurting so much over this situation. My heart always wants to reach out to ease the hurt of others; have I been using that as a way to avoid my own hurting heart? I am going to need some time to process this. And I’m going to need alot of prayer…
Praying for your clarity as you seek what God is speaking to you. This moment felt so powerful reading your words.
I’ve been near tears several times today already, so thank you, Jennifer. I’ve been touched by your honesty as you’ve shared about yourself and especially with your encouraging comments to so many – you are a wise woman!
YES – loved this “a-ha” moment for you, LaDonna! We do need to humble ourselves and place ourselves into a posture of receiving so that we can also give. It reminds me of the adage that to be a good leader, we need to be a good follower, too. Applicable here as well!
Isn’t Lectio amazing? It just reveals so much!
Today I was struck by the contrast of allowing God to bind me up versus allowing the enemy to keep me bound. The word in verse one is translated “bind up, “repair”, and “comfort” in the versions we looked at. I found these other great verses that also speak of God binding us up:
Job 5:18 He wounds but He binds up; He shatters, but His hands heal.
Ps. 147:3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
Ez. 34:6 I will seek the lost, bring back the strayed, bind up the injured, strengthen the weak.
Hosea 6:1 He has torn us that He may heal us; He has struck us down and He will bind us up.
Interestingly, the same word is sometimes translated “saddled.” I like that word picture too, that God wants to use me despite, maybe even because of, my brokenness. He wants to make use of my brokenness–all that to me seems shattered, useless, ruined, crushed, crippled, maimed, and violently rent. He has a purpose in this pain, a restoration planned from long ago.
Isaiah 25:1 For You have worked wonders, plans formed long ago in perfect faithfulness.
So, what is holding me captive? One word. Shame. I feel ashamed because I, a Christian woman, am divorced. I find it hard to even use that word about myself. I have a hard time referring to him as my ex-husband. I feel like I am a disappointment to my God and my family. I feel like I walk around with a scarlet “D” on my chest, particularly when I’m with other Christians. To the world, divorce is commonplace. No big deal, move on, remarry, you deserve better. But in the church, I always feel unsure what people think of me. I failed to hold my marriage together. I failed to keep my vows. Of course your life is hard–you chose this and made your own mess. So I wall myself off and become more lonely, more embittered, more sad. A friend posted this quote on Facebook today: “When you shut others out, you also imprison yourself.”
How do I move beyond this shame? How do I allow my King to wipe this mark from my forehead and replace it instead with a crown of beauty? How do I become that resplendent, beautiful bride, for His glory? I can choose to remain bound in this prison, or allow myself to be healed, bound up by HIm, ready to be used for His purposes, His glory. He crowns me with beauty so that He might be eternally beautified, worshipped, adorned, and crowned.
LOVE that you researched this, Laura! These are awesome verses and they’ve really made me think!
Shame is absolutely a tool the enemy uses to keep us right where we are. I’m so thankful you are identifying this and taking a stand to not be held captive to it anymore.
I, too, wear the divorce crown and my husband does as well.
What can wash away my sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
And don’t forget what the Bible says about those who judge…My advice is to just say a blessing to them (in your mind) and move-on. Their judgement is between them and God and you’re really not involved.
Pray that God will help you in this area and He will refine you and remove this shame, girl!!
I cannot answer your questions for you but I can tell you that you are stunningly gifted. Your heart bleeds beautifully into print. You share your hurts in a way drawing us close. I pray shame is overshadowed by rich truth. I too have carted around heavy pounds of shame. You wear the “D” letter and I the “A.” For me personally the more I share my story in public view the more I heal. The enemy wants my lips bound therefore I shall speak boldly in the telling of my marriage bed defiled. There is power in the telling. I pray you continue to tell causing shame to crumble with each word!
Jennifer, I couldn’t agree the more – it’s the words of our testimonies that glorify Him. Our stories are really His stories.
Love your encouragement, Jennifer! Thank you!
What’s really hard for me is knowing that I have so much that is keeping me bound on the inside but, not having the ability to show it on the outside. I know that its not supposed to be that way and that there are other people that feel the same way but, I want to free myself so that I can be a better wife and mother.
There are issues going on the God knows about and I would love to get some freedom from them. The part of the passage that stood out for me was “He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,” since that seems like all I have been doing for the past few years. I feel like I have been sent to help everyone else around me but, at the expense of my own freedom. I know that probably doesn’t sound very good but, it’s how I feel.
The other part is one of the extra verses you posted and it was “Jesus said, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” – John 8:31-32”. I have been telling everyone around me lately the truth (you know how people just love hearing that) and it seems like all I am doing is making them mad. I am hoping that them hearing the truth has given them some freedom and possibly a chance to change their lives.
Forgive me…I am new to studying God’s word so LITERALLY. So if I ramble, I am sorry.
Bethany, this is a “safe” place so you don’t have to ask for forgiveness when you’re processing!
As Ecclesiastes tells us, to everything there is a season. There is a season to intensely minister to others and a season to pull back a bit. Perhaps it’s the season to pull back a bit and minister to yourself.
Focus on freedom – you will feel so very much lighter. Thank you for sharing your heart here!
I only got to this now, and I’m really glad I did…
I read The Voice translation, mostly because I’d never heard of it. What really got me was the line “The Lord has anointed me for a special purpose.” Me. Me, who often feels so insignificant and small. God has anointed me for a special purpose. What a reminder that I am special, regardless of what the world has said to me. God says I am special, and that is what counts.
And, tying into that, the line “Be free from your imprisonment!” also resonated. Fear. Fear of being made to feel small and weak. Fear of being laughed at. And not only fear, but the lies the world has fed me. No matter how much I want to believe that I’ve moved past the lies I’ve been fed about who I am, they are still present. BUT, God sets me from from those lies. I did not need to make myself imprisoned by the lies; I am freed from the lies. They do not define me. God defines me. I am special, and I am loved.
YES!!!!!! You are not insignificant and small in God’s eyes. He created you (fearfully and wonderfully) and has a job for you to do here on earth that only YOU can do, Eliza!
And yes, who you are comes from Him. Love that you said this!!!
Thank you for sharing your heart here, Eliza!
Ladies, thanking God for each one of you! I am so overwhelmed with how much God loves me/us. This scripture has been a huge blessing in my life right now. I have been broken for a while and putting on a good Christian front has kept me from experiencing God true love and truth. Igot caught up in the motions where I put everyone else first and Not realizing it, I became invinsible to me, my husband, daughter family & friends. I was able to keep up because all I could feel was pure numbness. Meaning that, I did not even know how to feel anymore. At the time I needed someone, God removed all my distractions (people & things) so that ALL I could see was HIM! It was the hardest thing to go thru and I continued to fight because God also disabled my numbness. He made me feel everything that Idis not want to admit FEEL, the hurt, anger, weakness and yes that I was or shall I say still broken. Lots of tears but I am Praising Him thru thus STORM. I like The Voice version where it says, Be free from your imprisonment! Looking to Him to set me free! I want to be visible again!
Celeste, YAY! Getting back to our “true” selves – who we are before we were defined by the roles of wife, mother, daugher, friend, or whatever is an essential step to living in freedom and thus pure joy.
When we see who we are in His eyes and realize that strengthening our relationship with Him will in turn strengthen our relationships with others, we begin to walk in who we really are. Not who others WANT us to be, but who we really are.
And you, sweet Celeste are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139) and He is a God who sees (Genesis 16).
I am a little late to the party due to travel but I’m here finally. :) I guess it’s a given that God’s ways are not mine…and yet I am always a little surprised when things don’t go the way I think they are supposed to. :) About 6 months ago when the Lord initially gave me this verse, I would have said it was because he was directing me into new areas of ministry. And what would have stood out to me was that “I” was called to, “to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives, and release from darkness for the prisoners,” Particularly the later part of that verse. In those early days I thought the victory was going to come easily, and I am realizing now how much “I” was in the mix instead of “Him”. So it’s no wonder I was surprised when the journey turned hard and messy, and actually removed me from my place of influence and into a back seat, behind the scenes place where my ministry is mostly in prayer and unseen! I am seeing so clearly that God needed to get my perspective right. His correction has been severe, and the path has been full of grief over my own pride (and the hurt and pain God had to cause to deal with it), and grief God has allowed me to carry in intercession for others and obedience to continue even when things got really messy. Honestly it’s left me weary. And so the couple days of reading the verses, the things that stood out to me were: “God sent me to announce the year of his grace..” (The Message) it speaks hope to me that things are indeed about to change. But even more, the part where it says, “and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty in stead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.” So today I realize, that instead of being the one who is called to announce His freedom…I’ve really the one who is grieving in Zion. For a true exchange of beauty for ashes, there has to be grief first. For an exchange of the oil of joy instead of mourning, there has to be death. And for the exchange of praise, instead of despair there has to be a walk through a valley that allows us to get our perspective. I have been hesitant to believe that change is in the air, because I’ve felt like I’ve been in this valley for so long. In Lamentations 3:31 it says, “When life is heavy and hard to take,
go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions: Wait for hope to appear.Don’t run from trouble. Take it full-face. The “worst” is never the worst. Why? Because the Master won’t ever walk out and fail to return. If he works severely, he also works tenderly. His stockpiles of loyal love are immense. He takes no pleasure in making life hard,
in throwing roadblocks in the way.” (The Message). This journey has deepened me and while I’ve bent I’ve not broken…He has grown this oak tree just a little taller, but only for the purpose of me pointing to Him and saying “except for the grace of God…”. The thing I need to be freed from is “self”, and my Heavenly Father has proven to me He will go through great lengths to be sure that self is laid on the alter. His love for me is immense and He knows that the life of self will keep me bound in brokeness. It is a life of surrender that He has called me too…my heart is full of praise right now, when I’m overwhelmed by the relentless love of a Father, who is more about changing me into a more beautiful reflection of Him then any “good thing” can do for Him.
Teri, I don’t even know where to begin. Your heartfelt words have rendered me speechless in a good way – you and I are in the same spot. I, too, just stepped down from a rather visible ministry and am now serving in a more private way and it’s been HUGE to look at my own pride. Ouch.
I get you, girl. :)
My husband wears a shirt that say “Relentless” so your usage of the same word caught my attention. And that’s what it is, isn’t it? Intense relentless love.
Thanks for this, Teri.
Joining the discussion, better later than never… It’s interesting how Lectia worked for me. These verses we are reading are very powerful, but at first I had a hard time processing them. However, during the week, God has been speaking to me through these verses. Question number 2 above really struck a chord. We have been given a choice between beauty and ashes. It’s not beauty AND ashes, it’s beauty INSTEAD OF ashes. God is offering us a crown of beauty, but it’s up to us to recieve it. His freedom is available to us, but in some areas of my life, I deliberately choose to stay in captivity. I don’t really understand why. Maybe I am afraid of what will happen if I step out into freedom (at least I know what life is like in captivity). Maybe I am relying on my own strength, and not really trusting that God can free me in every single area of my life. In my head I know He can, because I believe in Jesus, but I need to learn to put all my trust in Him also.
Another thing that hit me as I was reading the verses about freedom was that I have a warped definition of freedom. In this world, freedom is equivalent to being able to do whatever you want, i.e. following the flesh, but that kind of freedom is really just anarchy or lawlessness. True freedom comes from abiding in Christ, as Jesus says in John 8: 31-32 “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (NIV). I am just beginning to understand the amazing grace that God has for us. Jesus goes on a few verses later, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8: 34-36, NIV). I think The Message puts this so wonderfully in Romans 6: 15-18, “So, since we’re out from under the old tyranny, does that mean we can live any old way we want? Since we’re free in the freedom of God, can we do anything that comes to mind? Hardly. You know well enough from your own experience that there are some acts of so-called freedom that destroy freedom. Offer yourselves to sin, for instance, and it’s your last free act. But offer yourselves to the ways of God and the freedom never quits. All your lives you’ve let sin tell you what to do. But thank God you’ve started listening to a new master, one whose commands set you free to live openly in his freedom!” Freedom that never quits, yes please. I can’t wait for God to continue the work He has started in all of us!
Oh, such good points, Heidi! Love what you said about freedom – YES! I had never thought of it that way but you are correct – it’s freedom HIS way that will REALLY set us free.
That’s another thing I enjoy about this process of meditating on scripture – it attaches to our long-term memory because we move slowly and repeatedly and we begin to internalize it more than if we had just read it through and moved on.
When we get really deep into scriptures like this, I’m always amazed at what He reveals to me.
So thankful for your words here, Heidi!
The bonds still nearby are the feeling that I must do more, be more, say more, impact more…more, more, more. And though that may be the chain, the lock on those shackles are the feeling that unless I am more, I am not free to be loved. This goes against everything God has taught me in decades of following Him. So do I believe that Jesus wants to bind the wounds? Yes, in my head, and when I counsel others. But for me? I still act as if it is my responsibility to bind those wounds. That is the lie that still permeates–that it is my responsibility. The cracks He has made in that wall are huge; I pray they come tumbling down.
I am planted for His glory and all those promises are…for me.
To sit and to meditate, ruminating over these scriptures, they begin to soak in. Through him, I am free. My prayer is that I learn to accept that freedom, live in it, and not continue to be bound by fear and lies.
The verse that Laura shared —
Job 5:18 He wounds but He binds up; He shatters, but His hands heal.
That one spoke to me. He binds me up. His hands heal.
This is chiseling away at my heart. Humbled and broken, I am so glad to be here.
For you… for me… yes yes yes Liz!
copying my comment over from the facebook group page… xo
Love this… well, and hate it. Gosh, there’s a lot of ouch moments happening here!
Upon me, I have the power inside me through the Spirit and that means it’s for me to use in the sanctification process. Maybe my spirit has ‘got it’ but through His spirit, I can make sure the rest of me gets it too – soul and mind and heart and flesh and ALL of me until His heart seeps out my pores.
Also, me being the selfish person that I am, occasionally ponder, Why does God want all the glory? How selfish! (sorry, just being honest! I have thought this before – and a little now). I’m jealous and I want me for me. But He calls me for something far greater. He calls me for Himself and, I suppose selfishly, He wants me to delight fully in Him – so that HE may delight FULLY in ME! I’m a treasured daughter! Woah!