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…