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