Monday, March 19, 2018

Festive Praise!

1 “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.”
-Isaiah 61:1-3

I love this passage of Scripture. Jesus read the first two verses of this chapter in the Temple in Luke 4 and followed up with the words, “The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!” GOOD NEWS! I love it!!

I’ve been playing this chapter on audio the past couple of days. Sometimes I just want to dig into a passage and I want to hear it over and over again! So thank you, Bible app for making that possible!

The whole passage is breathtakingly beautiful, but one thing that has jumped out at me is the phrase “festive praise”. God is promising to give us festive praise instead of despair. What a word picture! Not just regular praise. Not some sort of rote praise, if that can even be true praise. But festive praise!! And the fact that it is a gift is so beautiful to me! I don’t have to work it up. I don’t have to find it somewhere. God is going to give it to me INSTEAD OF my despair! So He takes the yuck and gives me the fun. What a good, good Father.

Would you think on this passage with me? Meditate on it? Roll it over and over in your mind. What would that look like for you? If you just trusted God with great abandon and took Him at this Word and gave Him all the things you may be despairing over. Big things. Little things. In between, you don’t know where to put them, things. Things that cause despair when even the whisper of the thought comes to you.

Despair means absence of hope, and that is something that you can be 100% certain God does not want for you. He is all about hope! He sent His Son for us so we could have hope for eternity, and hope for today, and hope for all the days between the here and the there. So that despair—it's not from God. He has hope for you. He is going to make a way where there seems no way. He’s going to order your steps so that you get to where you need to be. He’s going to give you festive praise.