“For I the Lord love justice,
I hate robbery and wrongdoing;
I will faithfully give them their recompense,
and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.
Their descendants shall be known among the nations,
and their offspring among the peoples;
all who see them shall acknowledge
that they are a people whom the Lord has blessed.”
― YHWH in Isaiah 61:8-9 (NRSV)
PROMISES are designed to be kept, and, we can know with certainty, that God keeps his promises.
What Isaiah 61 Actually Means
Chapter 61 of Isaiah is a series of speeches from three different entities: a prophetic healer; a ruler/national administrator; Yahweh (YHWH) himself. The healer’s role is to proclaim that deliverance is near, even about to occur. The administrator proclaims details of the favor being bestowed on Jerusalem and on ‘priests’ who are to restore religious order in the city. YHWH is quoted above in verses 8-9. The chapter concludes with two verses of praise and thanksgiving for the promises of the Lord have now been experienced in their fulfillment.
Isaiah 61 showcase the reliability of God’s intrinsic justice. No promise will be left incomplete; all promises will bear fruit. Not only can we trust God, regarding his promises, we should.
What Isaiah 61 Might Mean In Our Lives
Contemporary meaning is always at the forefront of our thinking, for obvious reasons. Contemporary thinking always searches out the answer to the ‘So what?’ question. What is the real, everyday, saliency of this Scripture for today? There are a number of things:
Firstly, passages like this remind us that the response of obedience leads us to trust God so far as delivery on his promises are concerned. Being a just God, we can expect that we won’t be left forlorn indefinitely; not only that, but God will grow us through the forlorn period if we keep responding obediently. We are blessed with softer hearts as we endure patiently, for just one solid example.
Secondly, there are eternal perspectives here that make a mockery of doubting. Perhaps in the past generation or two we have become more doubting, not less. Yet, the proclamations (vv. 1-7), YHWH’s assurance (vv. 8-9), and the salutation of praise and thanksgiving (vv. 10-11) all speak to the eternally-relevant pattern. God always follows through.
Thirdly, because key members of national leadership are involved, as well as the Sovereign over all creation, YHWH, and this is presumably a public dissertation, the outworking of the promises are without barrier or inhibition. This is ‘good news’, because whatever the Lord is for, nothing can come against. Divine will is unshakable. When delivery comes and healing commences, we can expect it to reach its full designation of providence in our lives. Indeed, the outworking of the promises of God will blow us away!
Favor is coming for the obedient. The promises of God are real as they are reliable. Faith grows in the seedbed of reason for doubt. But instead of doubting we might imagine what attitude of praise and thanksgiving might fill our hearts and mouths as we live out the fulfillment of the Lord’s promises.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.