And so last week we focused ourselves on freedom – breaking free from the captivity of whatever keeps us in chains. Maybe it’s emotional eating. Maybe it’s the lies we have believed about ourselves that are not from God but rather His opposite. Maybe it’s alcohol or what others think or that we are simply never going to be “enough”.
I’m a freedom junkie. I rejoice when those chains clank to the ground and I can tell you with complete assurance – He doesn’t want you to wear them anymore, friends.
One of my favorite verses backs this up, too.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. – Matthew 11:28-30
When we break it down, it seems simple enough. Go to Him. Put your yoke down and pick His up. Study Him through being in the word and learn His ways. You’ll then find rest and in rest comes freedom.
From freedom comes trust. And from trust? Pure joy.
So today we continue on with our Lectio Davina style of scripture study and we add verses four through seven to the prior three verses of Isaiah 61 we have already studied. Please pick a translation (and yes, if you want to do all three translations, go ahead!) and work through the steps of Lectio. Begin by praying that God will search your heart and open your mind to new teachings you are ready to learn. To review, the steps of Lectio Davina are:
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.
And here are our verses…
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.
4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins, repairing cities long ago destroyed. They will revive them, though they have been empty for many generations.
5 Foreigners will be your servants. They will feed your flocks and plow your fields and tend your vineyards.
6 You will be called priests of the LORD, ministers of our God. You will be fed with the treasures of the nations and will boast in their riches.
7 Instead of shame and dishonor, you will inherit a double portion of prosperity and everlasting joy.
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.
4 And they will rebuild this place from its ancient ruins; they will restore the ages-old, once-splendid structures; They will renew Israel’s ruined cities from the ashes and debris that laid untouched for many generations.
5 And people will come from all over to serve you: Outsiders will tend your flocks, plough your fields, and prune your vines.
6 You will be known as the ones specially chosen by the Eternal as priests; people will speak of you as ministers of our God. And the wealth of nations will come to you for your delight and enrichment.
7 Many called you disgraced and defiled and said that shame should be your share of things. Yet your suffered doubly and lived in disgrace; So double will be your share, and with joy everlasting.
Verses 1 – 7
The Spirit of God, the Master, is on me
because God anointed me.
He sent me to preach good news to the poor,
heal the heartbroken,
Announce freedom to all captives,
pardon all prisoners.
God sent me to announce the year of his grace—
a celebration of God’s destruction of our enemies—
and to comfort all who mourn,
To care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion,
give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes,
Messages of joy instead of news of doom,
a praising heart instead of a languid spirit.
Rename them “Oaks of Righteousness”
planted by God to display his glory.
They’ll rebuild the old ruins,
raise a new city out of the wreckage.
They’ll start over on the ruined cities,
take the rubble left behind and make it new.
You’ll hire outsiders to herd your flocks
and foreigners to work your fields,
But you’ll have the title “Priests of God,”
honored as ministers of our God.
You’ll feast on the bounty of nations,
you’ll bask in their glory.
Because you got a double dose of trouble
and more than your share of contempt,
Your inheritance in the land will be doubled
and your joy go on forever.
Now go and find a quiet place and a cup of tea or coffee or something else that’s good for the soul. Snuggle in and have some quiet. Write down your observations in your journal and share (if you like) in our Facebook group.
And if you aren’t in our Facebook group for discussion and would like to be? Email me at email@example.com.
We’ll talk a bit more about these verses on Thursday…
First let me thank you again for leading this group of ladies. I feel very blessed to be a part of it.
1)Instead of shame and dishonor, you will inherit a double portion of prosperity and everlasting joy.
2)That the Lord is working on me. Rebuilding the things long ago destroyed by the enemy.
3)To look at this deeper – further back . . . He wants to do a work in/ through me that will help repair the path of the past generations of my family. I need to allow Him to work – be aware.
I have been in a constant struggle to find where I belong and how to find God’s everlasting joy. I came to realize back in 2000 that God truly has a purpose for me in this life. I was in a terrible car accident that I should not have made it out of. In the process of physically healing He showed me that I am here to fulfill His purpose . . . one of those I believe is to help break the chains of generational curses that my past and present family members seem comfortable with. (I do feel very blessed that my sister is on her way to a much better future because of the things the Lord taught me that I was able to share.)
I am looking forward to seeing what the Lord has in store next. I know there are several new things on the horizon and I am excited to find out how He will use these events to shape my new path . . . and hopefully help show my family that life doesn’t have to be the way they have chosen to live.
Tammy, I also have a passion for stopping the generational curse thing…I’m not sure where you live, but there’s a great ministry here in the midwest that do this very thing. I can tell you more about it if you are interested but I can’t say enough about it – it would be powerful to do before you get married and it’s FREE. Yes. FREE.
I love that you have the courage to step in and say “No more.” It just takes one person to do that. Praising God for your obedience to Him.
So thankful to get to know you and I look forward to hearing more about your wedding!
I love good information. I have taken some classes and gone through some healing with the Christian Healing Ministries founded by Francis Macnutt. I am always open to learning about more resources. Thank you for sharing. I would love to hear more. :)
Natalie, this is exactly what I needed (learning this style of scripture study) at exactly the time I needed it. Thank you for being a vessel for the Holy Spirit! May you be blessed ten-fold for the way you bless others. Love & hugs, my friend.
God always knows what we need, when we need it. Glory goes to Him.
Love and hugs right back atcha, sister…
The words that jump out at me are in verse 7, “instead of disgrace they will rejoice in their inheritance” I’m doing another study on Nehemiah by Kelly Minter where they touch on disgrace. I have so much shame and disgrace, and this has kept me bound for years. But we can rebuild and restore the places long devastated. We can have a new beginning because with Christ all things are new. It’s so uplifting to know that God has my back! Because I was treated like poo in my life and I suffered through it, I will be rewarded by God. Thats the way I read it anyway!!
Lisa, we will get into shame a bit in the next few weeks. Get ready, girl!
And yes, you are reading that correctly. :) Keep on truckin’, sweet sister.
Ok, so I’ve broken this one down into even smaller segments then it already is. Didn’t know that was even possible! LOL! But after reading through the new verses on Monday, there were several things that stood out to me. When going into step two – wondering how they applied to my current situation, I couldn’t see clearly. It seemed muddled. So I decided to put it aside mull it over, and let the Lord speak when He was ready.
So today I had one of those aha, shake me to my boots, make me get up and dance moments. Trying to sum it up will be difficult but I will try…Last November God gave me this verse as I was branching out on what I believed to be “my new ministry”. When I read the first verses, I was like “YES! God has appointed me for a purpose of addressing these issues in women’s lives that I see that, I have struggled with, and He’s going to use ME to bind up the brokenhearted and free the captives…yada, yada, yada”.
The path since that place of excitement has been nothing less then, painful and death of a vision. I have wanted to run from the situations I was facing because they were hard and painful, especially because I felt like I was seeing people make choices that would only lead into more captivity and destruction. The flesh side of me was hurt because I was so easily replaced, and I obviously had put way to much of my value and identity on what God had “called ME” to do. There was waaay to much flesh involved.
So….that leads me to this weeks reading. I think the two main things that stood out to me were “rebuild ancient ruins, repairing cities long ago destroyed…you will be known as ones specially chosen by the Eternal as priests; people will seek you as ministers of God”. I think i struggled with this weeks so much because I felt so convicted of my false perspective last week. There was a certain amount of shame that I had gotten in the way of what God in the way of what God was doing. And I don’t know how to reconcile this to what seems to be standing out this week.
But today…oh today, God in His gracious mercy has spoken and this is what I hear Him saying as I read all the verses through again – old and new – is this: He had indeed given me these verses last year, but I had misplaced my role in them. He was the one who binds up the brokenhearted, He is the one who sets the captives free…it is Him and only Him. My role, is that I am the one “grieving in Zion”. This journey, this process, these situations have broken me….they have broken my heart as I see places of bondage in my own life, and the brokeness and bondage I see in those around me because of lies of the enemy. The weight of that crushes me, and drives me to my knees. I have fought being in this place, in this brokeness, carrying this weight.
But God has been whispering to me, that the weight and the grieving are only there to drive me to my knees. There on my knees, in that agony of the soul where there is no where to hide, I come before Him emptied and surrendered. I lay myself before Him in humility, and there an exchange can happen. He doesn’t intend for me to carry that burden, He wants to exchange my yoke for His. In that place, He wants to give me beauty for ashes, and the oil of joy instead of mourning, and the spirit of praise, instead of heaviness and depression. In that exchange I’m changed. I’m made more into His image, I am changed to bear more of His likeness, that will ultimately cause me to grow in grace and be an oak of righteousness. The work in me that is happening is one that HE is doing. The Master Gardener is doing this in me so that ultimately, I will point all who look at me back to Him.
In that exchange He will be able to use me, to be a repairer of the ruins and a minister of His grace. It’s never been about God being able to use me. However if I am not “right sized” in my perspective, and am deriving my value from what I do and how well I do it, its for my glory and not His. If I am “right sized” in this exchange and He is put in His proper place, then all glory goes to Him regardless of me – my failures or my sucesses. The glory goes to Him because He is flowing through me and making me a more perfect reflection of Himself.
I don’t know if this makes sense to anyone else, but it touches me deep down in the core of my being. It is the thing that is combating the lies and peeling away another layer of my onion away. It is speaking to me right where I am . It has been hard, hard, hard the last couple of months…but God is doing a work in me that is HUGE. I am humbled and grateful. I pray that these truths will sink deep in my souls so that I can finally be freed from the lies that derive value from working to earn my value, the love of others, and His love and acceptance. I long to be comfortable in my own skin, see myself with the eyes of Love that He sees me with…and love that person too. Not a self righteous love of self…but one that sees exactly the mess I am and know that it’s a beautiful mess because its covered by His reflection. I am His, and He is mine.
I so appreciate your perspective here, Teri. Though our circumstances are different, I can relate exactly to what you are saying. All this tearing and rending and burning away is for the sole purpose of driving me to Him. To that place where I truly know His heart, hear His voice above all others, and seek His pleasure and His glory alone. Thank you for sharing.
Wow Teri. So excited to see your breakthrough all written out here. I am behind on the readings and wish I had read this when you initially posted! So well said, and I’m so happy you have pulled all this out of the verses. When you are worried or anxious about things, (because yes, he (bad guy he) WILL take you there again), go back and re read what you wrote here. Blessings!!
I’m coming a little late to the party, but finally had a chance to really sit down and soak this one in tonight. I have long loved the 3 verses we started with last week, but had never really paid attention to these next few, and boy do they have a lot to say to me! I was struck by the contrasts listed:
Shame seems to be my biggest battlefield these last several years. This section seems to hit me head on. My life and dreams seem to be the stuff of ruin, destroyed and empty. I carry this shame like a heavy burden, weighing down my heart and mind. With shame comes fear and hiding, two things I’ve grown very adept at. Yet what does God say He has come to do? Rebuild, restore, and revive, leaving me not with head hung low in shame but with a double portion of His everlasting joy! My response, the action required of me, seems to lie in the rebuilding and restoring. What do I need to do to see this accomplished? It seems there is an end ot the working and striving, as He refers to others taking over my labors. I am called simply to be a priest to Him. Ministering to Him. Brings to my mind the women who followed Jesus, ministering to His needs while He walked the earth. My focus is toward Him. My loving gaze fixed on Him. That is where I find more than my heart could ever hope for, more joy than I ever thought possible in the wake of destruction and ruin. It’s the Gospel in a nutshell, my poverty exchanged for Heaven’s riches.
I was led to this little gem in Zechariah 9:11-12 “As for you also, because of the blood of My covenant with you, I have set your prisoners free from the waterless pit. Return to the stronghold, O prisoners who have the hope; this very day I am declaring that I will restore double to you.”
Also reminded me of another favorite in Isaiah 54:4-5 “Fear not, for you will not be put to shame; and do not feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced; but you will forget the shame of your youth, and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more. For your husband is your Maker, whose name is the Lord of hosts; and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, who is called the God of all the earth.”
I had a chance encounter with a stranger today that upset me. Words were said carelessly. Shame was heaped unknowingly. There are so many areas in which I feel inadequate. There are so many things I wish were different but choices have been made outside of my power. His words cut today, but reading these words has been like a healing balm for my soul. So thankful for the love letter God has left us!
Laura, thanks so much for including those other scripture references! I think I’m going to write them down and post them where I can see them! Also, your insight where you said “It seems there is an end ot the working and striving, as He refers to others taking over my labors. I am called simply to be a priest to Him. Ministering to Him. Brings to my mind the women who followed Jesus, ministering to His needs while He walked the earth. My focus is toward Him. My loving gaze fixed on Him.” I love that. And I hadn’t thought about the result of the “foreigners” taking over my labors being “the end to my working and striving”, Thanks for posting!