Take Up The Mantle of Praise
1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives, and freedom to prisoners; 2 To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, 3 to grant those who mourn in Zion, giving them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified. NASB
The good news has gone out. The message has been preached. Isaiah preached this good news to his people in his day. He was calling them to put their trust in God. If they were broken hearted, God would bind them up. If they were in bondage, God would free them. Those who mourn would be given something to be glad about. When people accepted Isaiah's message... When they put their trust in God, they would begin to praise Him and they would be called oaks of righteousness. Why? So that God would be glorified.
When the Messiah came, He declared that He fulfilled this prophecy for all time. He came to prove to all that God loves people and He wants to free them from their bondage to sin. He wants to set prisoners free and those who see nothing to rejoice about will be given the oil of gladness... IF they put their trust in God.
This message was pertinent in Isaiah's time. It is as true now as it was then. God loves you and He wants to make your life better than it is. He wants to give you something more important to think about than your worries and concerns. We have a kingdom to proclaim to the world and we, those who have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior, are called to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord and to warn those who will not listen that judgment... the vengeance of our God is around the corner.
Put your faith in God and believe that Jesus died for the forgiveness of your sin. He came to restore us to a relationship with God. Accept Him. Accept His plan and purpose for your life. Join those of us who are preaching and teaching this good news. Proclaiming this good news is the single most important thing in life.
Read on with me. Verse 4...
4 Then they. . . Who is the 'they'? It seems to me that this they is talking about those who have received the good news, who have accepted it as true and have put on the mantle of praise and seek to glorify God.
4 Then they will rebuild the ancient ruins, they will raise up the former devastations, and they will repair the ruined cities, the desolations of many generations. 5And strangers will stand and pasture your flocks, and foreigners will be your farmers and your vinedressers. 6 But you will be called the priests of the Lord; you will be spoken of as ministers of our God. You will eat the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast. 7 Instead of your shame you will have a double portion, and instead of humiliation they will shout for joy over their portion. Therefore they will possess a double portion in their land, everlasting joy will be theirs. 8 For I, the Lord, love justice, I hate robbery in the burnt offering; and I will faithfully give them their recompense, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them. 9 Then their offspring will be known among the nations, and their descendants in the midst of the peoples. All who see them will recognize them because they are the offspring whom the Lord has blessed. NASB
Who are they? They are the offspring whom the Lord has blessed. WE are the offspring whom the Lord has blessed. Has God blessed you? Has He saved you from the penalty of sin? Has He given you reason to praise and honor Him, to worship Him and love Him with all your heart, mind, soul and strength? Do you count yourself as a believer in this good news that God gave His Only Begotten Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but will have everlasting life? If not, come and join the family of God and receive God's blessings. Turn in your tears of mourning and see the joy that God wants you to have.
Are you in prison to an addiction or some other malady? God can help you to see that He is with you as He was with Daniel in the lions den. HE was with Paul and Silas in the prison cell where they were singing and praising the Lord in spite of their imprisonment. They knew God had not forsaken them. They knew He was there with them. They knew they had good news to tell to the nations and that God would give them opportunity to share that good news.
God may not answer your prayers exactly like you want Him to, but He will not leave you or forsake you. He will be with you even when it seems He is not. Trust him. Praise Him and glorify Him, He will lift you up on wings as eagles to soar above the trials and tribulations that life may send your way. He will bless you beyond measure if you trust Him.
Are you living to glorify God? What greater purpose can there be? Listen to Isaiah as he continues his message in verse 10...
Isaiah 61:10 I will rejoice greatly in the Lord, my soul will exult in my God; for He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. NASB
Isaiah, the messenger, says, “I will rejoice greatly in the Lord.” Who has greater joy than he who is working with God to take this great good news to all the world? I will rejoice greatly in the Lord. We have put on the mantle of praise. We seek to glorify God. We seek to help others know that they are loved by their Creator. What greater joy than to see someone come to believe that God loves them.
I will rejoice greatly in the Lord. That can be you. Telling others that you believe in God. That God has proven to you that you have the gift of eternal life. God has breathed on us His Holy Spirit and given us life. Are you in this number?
Isaiah 61:11 For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, and as a garden causes the things sown in it to spring up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations. NASB
Righteousness and praise go hand in hand. It is the Lord God Himself that causes righteousness and praise to spring up even as the grass and plants sprang up from the earth when God spoke and it was so. When God speaks, things happen.
Righteousness does not come from keeping the rules. Righteousness and praise are the work of God in our lives. It is God's presence, His Holy Spirit living in us, that makes us righteous. He will lead you to keep the law. HE will form in you the fruit of the Spirit. God will develop in you the fruit of the Spirit. You know, those qualities Paul listed in Galatians?
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. NASB
Is God developing these qualities in you as you walk with Him? If the Spirit has brought you to life and you are walking with Him, these qualities will become more and more evident in your relationships.
If the decisions you are making are leading you further from these qualities, perhaps you are not walking in the Spirit, but rather in the flesh.
Isaiah said that The Lord God would cause righteousness and praise to spring forth in our lives, even as the grass springs from the earth in the springtime. As the plants and trees sprang forth when God spoke them into existence, so God's people will exhibit more and more righteousness and praise in our lives.
Are you spending more time praising and thanking God than you are complaining about the troubles in your life and in your world? Perhaps, just maybe... you are spending too much time listening to the world and the flesh and not enough time listening to God and His word.
We have three services a week when we get together and sing songs of praise to God. We spend time in the Word of God. Are you taking advantage of the opportunities that God has given you to grow in grace and in your faith in God?
Are you spending time in the Word on your own? If you cannot read, perhaps someone can read to you, or perhaps you could get the Word in an audible format, so you can listen to it.
If you can read, are you reading God's Word?
You have to spend time with God, if you expect godly characteristics to be developed in you. If you want your seeds to sprout and grow, you have to plant them in the soil.
Isaiah indicates that God, like a garden, causes the seeds, that is, the Word of God, to produce what it was made to produce in our lives. . . the fruit of the Spirit.
You have to spend time with Him, if you expect to become more like Him. Take up the mantle of praise. Praise God for His love for you. Praise Him because He is worthy of all praise. Take up the mantle of praise today.