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.
“Because I, God, love fair dealing and hate thievery and crime,
I’ll pay your wages on time and in full,
and establish my eternal covenant with you.
Your descendants will become well-known all over. Your children in foreign countries
Will be recognized at once
as the people I have blessed.”
I will sing for joy in God,
explode in praise from deep in my soul!
He dressed me up in a suit of salvation,
he outfitted me in a robe of righteousness,
As a bridegroom who puts on a tuxedo and a bride a jeweled tiara.
For as the earth bursts with spring wildflowers, and as a garden cascades with blossoms,
So the Master, God, brings righteousness into full bloom and puts praise on display before the nations.
Isaiah says that, when God’s righteousness is at full bloom, there will be good news to the poor, the captive will be set free, the brokenhearted will be healed, the mourners will be comforted, outsiders will always be welcome, and foreigners will be given work.
So here’s the question... is our righteousness at full bloom?
Do we desperately desire things to be made RIGHT in the world?
I ask this question based on my own personal experience. I want things to be fair and right for myself. I want to benefit from doing the right things and having the right things done to me.
I’m starting to realize that the thing that is right for me is not equal to the thing that is righteous.
We must not forget that, in the beatitudes, Jesus flips the world on its head.
In the upside-down world, we no longer trust in our own understanding, selfish ambition, protection, or providence to give us what we need.
No no no... we trust in the understanding of God, the ambitions of the Holy Spirit, the protection of our Father, and providence that comes from above.
Because of that trust and the power of the Spirit within us, we can live a life of righteousness—a life that is right and fair and just for our sisters and brothers around the world and our sisters and our brothers right in front of us.
May we never forget this:
At one time, we were captives whom God rescued.
We were the brokenhearted whom God healed.
We were the outsiders whom God brought in.
We were the foreigners to whom God gave a place.
God has acted righteously and justly toward His beloved and he calls us to be his “priests” and “representatives” to the rest of the world.
This righteousness is not something we can merely do... it has to become something that we deeply desire.
May God bring righteousness into full bloom. May he soak us in his righteousness so deeply that we are wearing it like a robe.