The Planting of the Lord

Isaiah 61

I cannot help but feel that these verses are directed at me in some small way. The principles discussed herein resonate so deeply with me. A restorer of paths to dwell in, the riches of the gentiles shall be mine, a double portion for my shame. “I will direct their work in truth.”

The first two verses of this chapter are clearly talking about Christ, and the Lord controversially declares such in Luke 4:18-19. These verses are of particular interest to me because of the picture of Christ that they paint, especially as I am striving to assimilate myself to Him.

Breaking verses 1 & 2 down, line by line:

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me.” The Holy Ghost comes upon the Messiah. Why? “Because the Lord hath anointed me.”

What does it mean to be anointed? The common thought behind the term is to have an oil applied to the body for the purpose of a blessing or setting apart. Several references in the Old Testament connect the word “anointing” with this setting apart to a new office.

At what point did the Father (the Lord) anoint His Son (Christ) and to what purpose? There appears to be no ready answer to the first question, but his purpose is clear: “to preach good tidings unto the meek.” Remember that the meek are those found in company with the lowly of heart. They are not the weak, but rather those that are willing to let God take the lead in their lives. This is in part what makes them able to receive good tidings, while others would hear only condemnation in the words of truth.

Also in verse 1, Christ comes to deliver those that find themselves in progressively harder straits. First the meek, then the brokenhearted, followed by the captives (probably innocent), and then finally those bound in prison (perhaps the guilty). Christ can strengthen them all. There is no one too far gone.

In verse 2, Isaiah says Christ is come to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. Why the time frame of a year? And what is “the acceptable year of the Lord?” What are we talking about? Is this not a reference to the millennial reign of Christ? I feel yes. And then what is the day of the vengeance of our God? And why does the proclamation of both the “acceptable year” and the “day of vengeance” bring comfort to those that mourn? Perhaps because presently neither is our reality. Those that mourn because of current life circumstances and the injustices and inequities that surround us, may be comforted by the reality of what is to come.

But then in Verse 3, wow! Trees of righteousness is what he calls those that are blessed by him. I much appreciate the connection presented in this chapter between Christ and his saints. Christ’s mission is defined in the opening verse. The saints of God, these trees of righteousness, have distinct but very exciting responsibilities as well.

  • They shall build the old waste
  • They shall raise up former desolations
  • They shall repair the waste cities: the desolations of many generations.

The bulk of this chapter has a very descriptive prophecy of the circumstances surrounding these “trees of righteousness”. Beyond having specific missions defined, we read that “strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers.” Is there a spiritual significance to these passages? Are we talking about a migrant work force on who’s back the prosperity of the Gentiles is built? Or are we talking about the scatter branches of Israel coming in to Ephraim to feed the flock of God?

Reading through the blessings detailed in these verse

As I am sitting contemplating the end of this chapter, it strikes me that there will be righteous acknowledgement and praise of Christ the Lord. He will be adorn with his jewels, his saints. Notwithstanding the day of vengeance, there will be no condemnation, rather simply the plant will produce its fruits before all nations. And what will happen? It will be blessing to all nations, a reason to rejoice. Christ will have proven to be the generous victor over all that was oppression. The end is glorious!

What are the actionable items that I can take away from this chapter. I feel like in part, this blessing is mine. But another part, especially as I look at my children, lost in the confusion of sin (and feeling completely incapable of navigating this world of faith within my family), can see that these blessings are not mine in the generational sense. It is verse 9 that I am not yet realizing in my own home. “All that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the offspring which the Lord has blessed.”

(A couple of side notes from a study last evening: Lehi does a generational jump in obtaining this blessing for the posterity of his two oldest sons. He cannot protect them from the effects of bad parenting, and tells his grandchildren as much. Alma, Enos, and others prayed that their children would be “brought to a knowledge of the truth.” )

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