Sunday, May 26, 2024

Sunday Scripture


Time for another Sunday Scripture!  This is part of an ongoing series on my simple study of Rachel Wojo's Everything Beautiful.  You can read about the plan here if you are interested in it for yourself: Everything Beautiful Bible reading plan. My answers and input on this series are a combination of what I learned back in 2018, and what I found in looking over the Scriptures now, six years later.  I'm attempting to SOAP the passages too, though some of them are longer. [Quick reminder that S stands for Scripture; O stands for observation; A stands for application, and P stands for prayer.]  Today's study is from Isaiah 61:1-11.

S= "The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening  of the prison to those who are bound;

" To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;

"To appoint unto those who mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes,the oil of joy for mourning, the garment  of praise for the spirit of  heaviness, if hat they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He might be glorified.

" And  they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.

"And foreigners shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers.

"But ye shall be named the Priests of the LORD; men shall call you the Ministers of our God; ye shall eat the riches of the nations; and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves.

"For your shame ye shall have double, and for confusion they shall rejoice in their portion;  therefore, in their land they shall possess a double portion; everlasting joy shall be unto them.

"For I, the LORD, love justice, I hate robbery for burnt offering; and and I will direct their work in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.   

"And their seed shall be known among the nations, and their offspring among the peoples; all who see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed whom the LORD hath blessed.  

"I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation; He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.

"For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations."  (Isaiah 61:1-11)

O= C.I. Scofield titles verse 1-3 in my Scofield study Bible: "Christ's two advents in one view."

Cross-references for "Spirit of the Lord GOD" (v.1) -- "And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplications; and they shall look upon Me whom they have pierced."  (Zechariah 12:10)

"But they rebelled, and vexed His Holy Spirit; therefore, He was turned to be their enemy; and He fought against them." (Isaiah 63:10)

Cross-reference for "upon Me" (v.1) -- "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord."  (Luke 4:19-20)

Cross-reference for "Me" (v.1) -- "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven?  This same Jesus, who is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven."  (Acts 1:11)

Cross-references for "anointed" (v.1) -- "Then Jesus, answering, said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard: how the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached."  (Luke 7:22)

"How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit, and with power; who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with Him."  (Acts 10:38)

William MacDonald wrote of verses 1-4: "We know that the Lord Jesus is the speaker here because He quoted verses 1-2a in the synagogue at Nazareth (Luke 4:16-21) and added, 'Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing' (Luke 4:21).  He was anointed with the Holy Spirit at His baptism and His earthly ministry was concerned with bringing the good tidings of salvation to the poor, binding up the brokenhearted, proclaiming liberty to sin's captives, and opening .. the prison of those who were bound.  He ended the quotation with the words 'to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD' because what follows, 'the day of vengeance of our God' will not be fulfilled until His Second Advent.  At His glorious appearing, He will proclaim the day of God's judgment."

Cross-reference for "day of vengeance" (v.2) -- "For it is the day of the LORD's vengeance, and the year of recompenses for the controversy of Zion."  (Isaiah 34:8)

Cross-references for "covenant" (v.8) -- "Behold, the days come, says the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah."  (Jeremiah 31:31)

Hebrews tells us that Jesus "is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.  For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.  For finding fault with them, He saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah."  (Hebrews 8:6-8)

Cross-references for "robe of righteousness" (v.10) -- "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags, and we all do fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away."  (Isaiah 64:6)

"Let us be glad, and rejoice, and give honor to Him; for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.  And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white; for the fine linen is the righteousnesses of saints."  (Revelation 19:7-8)

A= For this Scripture, there were a number of ways to apply it as prompted in the journal.  

"God transforms ashes into beauty." -- Rachel Wojo

He also replaces mourning with the oil of joy, and He replaces the spirit of heaviness with the garment of praise.

Paul van Gorder wrote in Our Daily Bread, "Praise is powerful! When Scottish pastor Robert Murray McCheyne was troubled with a coldness of heart toward the things of the Lord, he would sing the praises of God until he felt revived in his spirit. Those in his household were often able to tell what hour he awoke because he began the day with a psalm of praise.
"Perhaps you feel as if you are mired in [despondency].   Lift a song of praise to the Lord. The psalmist said, 'I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever'  (89:1). When we do that, the praise will flow not only from our lips but also from our heart. The Lord delights to give 'the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness'!"

Rachel also shares a "focus word" in each of the devotional pages.  I hadn't previously paid much attention to these for the Sunday Scripture posts, but have decided to do so now.

For this lesson the focus word is "replaces".  In thinking of this word, I noted: God replaces mourning with joy, and replaces heaviness with praise.  He replaces our sinful self-righteousness with Christ's righteousness.  There are so many things that He replaces when we trust Jesus as our Savior!

Concerning the "robe of righteousness" mentioned in verse 10, Scofield writes: "The garment in Scripture is a symbol of righteousness.  In the bad ethical sense it symbolizes self-righteousness (Isaiah 64:6).  In the good ethical sense the garment symbolizes 1) the basic provision of God's salvation by grace through faith in Christ (Isaiah 61:10) and 2) the garment of 'fine linen' ... the righteousnesses [literally righteous deeds, the Greek dikaioma] of saints ... works of godliness and goodness produced by the Holy Spirit, as the believer judges the flesh and yields himself to God.  These are the 'good works' unto which we are 'created in Christ Jesus' (Ephesians 2:10) and with which believers are to adorn themselves to bring honor to Christ's name here and hereafter."

Concerning the phrase "the planting of the LORD, that He might be glorified", in verse 3, Charles Spurgeon noted: "This, 'The planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified'  ... is the end of it all, that is the great result we drive at, and that is the object even of God himself, 'that he might be glorified'. For when men see the cheerful Christian, and perceive that this is God's work, then they own the power of God; not always, perhaps, with their hearts as they should, but still they are obliged to confess 'this is the finger of God.' Meanwhile, the saints, comforted by your example, praise and bless God, and all the church lifts up a song to the Most High." What encouraging, uplifting thoughts!

The question was asked: What one thought can I surrender to create room for seeing moments of grace?

My response in 2018: The concern of wondering what people will think of what I'm doing to maintain comfort with my back pain.  [I guess I was thinking this because I was returning to church for first time since my injury, and was bringing a rocking chair into the sanctuary.]

Answering this same question in 2024: The thought that I can do or accomplish anything of eternal value -- or anything at all! -- in and of myself.

This prompt was given, along with a list: Today I will keep my eyes open for God's beauty in one or more of these places.

These are the places I circled: The words I read; the places I go; the music I hear; the people I encounter; the air I breathe; the weather I experience; the rest I receive; the grace I give.

In 2024 I can note that for the air I breathe, it was scented with lilacs from two beautiful trees there at The Wilds of New England.  What a delight to breathe that delightful fragrance in our comings and goings around the courtyard!

For the weather I experience, I mentioned glorious sunshine on a spring morning.

A journaling prompt was this:  Everything God made is beautiful.  Where have I noticed God's beauty in the last 24 hours?

My response in 2018: In the encouragement and prayers of others.  In the supportive touch and care of my husband.  Noticing an icicle hanging from the branches of a nearly leafless tree -- a striking decoration (that, I realize now, is another instance of replacing!).  In the servants' hearts of others.  In the insights and lessons learned shared by ladies in my Sunday School class.

For my response in 2024, I added:  Getting to take a jeep ride with friends to a gorgeous, inspirational spot overlooking forests and mountains.  Finding, to our surprise, a patch of beautiful blue forget-me-nots at our cottage.

P= "Lord, I do thank You for how You transform ashes into beauty in our lives!  You are so good and so kind!  I praised You in 2018 for allowing me to be back with Your people in Your house for the first time since my fall. What a blessed encouragement it was to be there!

 I continue to praise You for bringing me through that trial  and for giving me strength to serve You now in so many ways beyond what I had been doing back then.  I thank You for all You have done and for all that You are continuing to do,  in Jesus' name , Amen."

 And there is this week's Sunday Scripture!  I pray it's a blessing to someone.

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