Pray God’s Word Back To Him
Date: September 14, 2021
Let’s begin today’s post by looking at Isaiah 61:1-3:
The Spirit of the sovereign Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God to comfort all who mourn and provide for those who grieve in Zion–to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.
There is so much to unpack here. However, I find such comfort in the fact that the acceptable year of the Lord is also the day of vengeance of our God! Bible history always shows God’s rescue of His people (including us today as well) as always accompanied by a judgement of His enemies. We are certainly eyewitnesses to His judgments these days. It surely has begun.
In Luke 4:17-20, Jesus spoke in the synagogue in His native Nazareth. He was handed the book of Isaiah and said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me.” He then began to read the words found there. He made a startling statement: “Today this scripture is fulfilled by you hearing it.” Those prophetic words written hundreds of years prior were the words of Jesus! Read the passage in Isaiah again and imagine it being spoken straight from Jesus’ lips!
We live in a time that is referred to as the “age of grace.” We seek God while He may still be found. Those who reject Him will know “the day of vengeance!” Those are frightening words, for we all know people in our lives who are perishing. And we also know many who are perhaps saved, but are living in fear or confusion. Some are misguided by today’s lies, and many are just angry at their lives.
It seems like we all know someone who is blinded from truth. They have dug their heels in so deeply with their opinions and beliefs that there is nothing we could do to change their minds. Sadly, the division in our culture these days has drawn distinct lines in the sand.
The differences are pretty much the standard fare: religious, social and educational issues, the vaccine/mask agenda, open borders, closed borders, support of the police or not. The list goes on and on. Sadly these issues are accompanied by anger and hostility. It’s being felt in families, friendships, work environments, etc. One could try and yell above the noise to try and make individuals understand truth but to absolutely no avail!
I am a firm believer in taking God’s word and praying it back to Him. It is our most powerful weapon. It certainly isn’t my own words that can convince, and I sure have learned that the hard way! Jesus’ own words written by the prophet Isaiah and spoken by Himself are about as powerful as words can get. If there was a time that people need convincing about truth and righteousness it’s today!
I experienced this on a completely different level this week, but it showed me something significant. The incident took place with one of my six-year-old granddaughters. This adorable sweet young lady….well, let’s just say she’s definitely the equivalent of sugar and spice. I was in charge of taking her to school in the morning when her mom and dad were out of town. As my alarm clock sounded, I jumped up and proceeded to enter her room as I used to with my own children. I began clapping and singing the old familiar song, “Rise and shine and give God the glory, glory…” Well to my surprise she not only didn’t want to rise but was hardly wanting to shine! She began to cry (rather hysterically, actually) and I began to panic. What on earth was happening to her, surely there was something terribly wrong! I soon learned that she didn’t want to go to school. I found myself in quite a heated battle as she dug in her cute little heels deeper and deeper. I had noticed in the past that when she sets her mind to something there is nothing that will convince her otherwise. She sees it her way and her way only. I really hate painting this picture because she’s such a little love! One day I know God will use that strong will to do great things, but it got me thinking…
Isn’t this the attitude of so many today? Digging in their heels, refusing to hear anything rational, and angry at just the mention of things that go against their opinions and beliefs?
In those next few moments with my granddaughter, I was really struck by what happened next. As much as I tried to explain why she had to go to school, or tried to speak louder than her cries, we both just ended up more frustrated than anything else! I finally decided if she wasn’t going to listen to me I knew someone who would. I laid hands on her and pleaded with God to please remove her anger, frustration and stubbornness and replace it with joy, compliance and understanding. And then I walked away.
Moments later she walked downstairs and melted into my arms, realizing her behavior had been inappropriate. It was as if a different little darling had reappeared. She suddenly had new understanding. And just like that I knew it was the prayer, a blessing over her that changed the spirit of her precious little heart. And she went off to school with a cheerful new outlook!
Although my experience with my granddaughter vastly pales in comparison to the opposition we experience more and more frequently these days, it caused me to pause and recognize it may actually be somewhat similar on a different level.
It is safe to say we have all spent more time praying than ever before! Changed hearts will be the only thing that will change a culture. Isaiah 61 can be a new way to pray, a fresh approach if you will. Let us pray out loud these words Jesus spoke, placing the names of those we are praying for in between the lines, and prayerfully we will witness “oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord and it will be in full display for His splendor.” May we possibly speak less but pray more over those who can’t seem to understand liberty, freedom and Jesus and His righteousness! May we pray blessings over them…“the binding of their broken heart…Lord show them what freedom looks like, provide them with comfort, bestowing upon them beauty for ashes, gladness instead of mourning.” For without the liberty of God there can only be oppression. Verse 7 goes on to say: Instead of their shame my people will receive a double portion. Well now that is a beautiful promise for His children! May we not lose heart, and continue to fight the good fight with our most valuable weapon of all: The sword of the Spirit which is the holy and perfect word of God.
Let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.
Steadfast love of the Lord is new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
And have mercy on those who doubt, saving others by snatching them out of the fire. To others show mercy mixed with fear.
Self-reflection can be convicting. I often need to remind myself of my heart’s motives. Are my deep sorrows and concerns for this world about my own freedoms, comforts, protection, or is it a mourning for the lost, a heart for the unconverted? Do I view a person in light of his opinions and lifestyles, or do I see him as sadly alienated from God, knowing full well the danger of it? Does my heart shrink at the thought of what his end might be?
As we take Jesus’ own words and receive them into our spirit and bestow them upon others, we will be unleashing His favor as we take the limits off Him. And we can dream of a day that arguments will begin to melt away, scales will be removed from eyes, and hearts will be changed! One person and one prayer at a time, as we watch “oaks of righteousness planted and the splendor of the Lord in full display!”
Delighting in safe pasture,