Daily D – Isaiah 62:1-3
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim 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 joy 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.” (NIV)
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord’s favor has come, and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies. To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory.” (NLT)
Have you considered how God wants to display his splendor in your life? He wants to show the whole world how good he is as he shines through you.
This is a point worth pondering, as Dr. Adam Greenway, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, likes to say in his social media posts.
Our granddaughter spent a few days with us this summer as her family moved from coast to coast. We spent some time one day playing with soap bubbles and sidewalk chalk. We have had no significant rain since she was here. The drawings we made with the chalk are still visible at the lip of our garage. A smile comes to my face every time I walk past those markings.
The soap bubbles are long gone, but the delight of breath blown into those fragile containers still float through pleasant memories.
We moved to this home fifteen years ago. We were the third residents in what was then a three-year-old house. A scrawny live oak was set in the front yard. One of the residents before us clipped the top out of the tree. This tree has displayed uncommon vigor through seasons of drought and drenching, intense heat and weeks of ice and snow.
Today it spreads majestically across our yard. Its canopy makes it possible to walk from the front door to the mailbox with only minimal direct sunlight. Since we are nearing forty days of one-hundred-degree temperatures, this is a special blessing.
What kind of oak are you?
Are you a scrawny sapling unkindly clipped? Are you a spreading canopy of shade and evergreen beauty?
Our Father in heaven turns saplings into shade in the most beautiful manner over time and across seasons. He shows the world his artistic skill as he provides and prunes and displays his splendor through us.
Not much change is visible in a day, a month, maybe not even a year. One day, sooner than you think, but maybe not as soon as you would like, you catch a glimpse of glory. God does beautiful things with the homeliest of plantings.
An old friend and I were talking this week. Joy emanated from her being and bearing. The lines and wrinkles at her eyes displayed wonder as she told what God was doing around her. A couple of preachers I know of have paid big bucks on several occasions to have such beauty marks erased.
God’s glory is displayed best not in the unnatural tightness of aging skin, but in the warm glow and the comforting embrace of well-rehearsed tenderness. You may see the marks of long decades. Our Father in heaven sees Oaks of Righteousness.
Now that is beauty.
I will grow by God’s grace day by day into an oak displaying God’s splendor.
Our Father, take me as I am. Shape me as you want me to be. Display your glory through your work of transformation from sapling to shade. Amen.
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2 Chronicles 35:25 Jeremiah composed laments for Josiah, and to this day all the male and female singers commemorate Josiah in the laments. These became a tradition in Israel and are written in the Laments. (NIV)
2 Chronicles 33:15, 16 He got rid of the foreign gods and removed the image from the temple of the Lord, as well as all the altars he had built on the temple hill and in Jerusalem; and he threw them out of the city. Then he restored the altar of the Lord and sacrificed fellowship offerings and thank offerings on it, and told Judah to serve the Lord, the God of Israel.
Matthew 3:8 “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.”
2 Kings 20:2, 3 Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, “Remember, Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.
Isaiah 65:24 “Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.”