SIXTY ONE : FIVE
DEEPLY DISCOVERING THE DECLARATION OF ISAIAH 61
There isn’t a way I could ever decide on my most favorite verse in the Bible, but there are without a doubt some that rock me more significantly than others. Isaiah 61 is my daily declaration, the passage I feel most like my intimate Father crafted just for me. Recently He whispered in my ear as I read it to myself that He wanted me to break the passage down into bite-sized pieces and share it in this easier-to-chew form with the rest of the world. I immediately said “no thanks” (politely, I should add). I am not a Bible scholar and am therefore underqualified for any assignment to further explain this profound book. Then He led me straight to 1 John 2:27: “As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.” Now, I don’t believe this means that we don’t need Bible scholars and educated pastors to help guide us and make us understand, because we do. I believe this verse is in this book to clarify to us that after we accept Jesus Christ and rely solely on His Spirit, should He call us to a task, we needn’t fear whether or not we know all there is to know because He knows all there is to know and will share it with us. As a matter of fact, I could do an entire separate series discussing all the underqualified believers that He uses. It’s kind of His style.
So here we are. This eleven(ish) week study will break down the verses of the bold and brilliant declaration that is Isaiah 61. I am praying for clarity, understanding, and inexplicable Holy Spirit guidance so that together, we can uncover the truth about who we are called to be once we receive the Holy Spirit.
ALIENS WILL SHEPHERD YOUR FLOCKS
We are all familiar with the word aliens in this context. The writer is referencing people who have come into the land and do not originate from it or seem to belong in it. And these people, these misfits, are shepherding the flocks. Whenever Jesus spoke of shepherding flocks, He was talking about leading people. That means that these people from different lands, speaking different languages and knowing different cultures, are leading people within a country they did not originate from. Have no confusion about who these aliens are, though; these aliens are us. We are the aliens. We are those in the land, shepherding the flocks of the Jews, nothing but Gentiles living the purpose of Christ.
FOREIGNERS WILL WORK YOUR FIELDS AND VINEYARDS
What grows in fields and vineyards? Fruit. Foreigners are producing fruit in a land they were not born in. Fruit is the very essence of the life of a believer, us being merely branches connected to the vine that is God, aiming to bear good and plentiful fruit.
Here is the most lovely and poetic part of this particular verse: the diversity is the reward. The foreigners and aliens are being celebrated, a sign of the blessing of God. One of the many ways that God shows us that He loves us by giving us the gift of diversity! As the result of bringing Christ to the nations, the nations begin flocking to Christ! It is apparent that, no matter how flawed the human perception is of varied backgrounds and upbringings, in the Kingdom of heaven, all are welcome. All are treasured.
God celebrates diversity so entirely that He uses it as the extravagant reward for a nation after His heart! Heaven is a place of inclusion! Earlier, in Isaiah 56:3, it is written “Let no foreigner who has bound himself to the Lord say, ‘The Lord will surely exclude me from His people.’” If we are to be like Christ in every way, we must be living, breathing examples of this beautiful verse! No one—and that means literally no one—on earth who has bound him or herself to Christ can be excluded from heaven and neither should they be excluded from a believer’s land, church, home, or family. In Galatians 3:28-29, Paul writes “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Heaven is diverse because heaven doesn’t care who you are, but whose you are! The kingdom of God is an inclusive one.
Diversity is the result of evangelism. As we love well, people begin to flock to the Kingdom of heaven and, in turn, flock towards places where they can grow in their relationship with Christ. These new believers become strong in faith and start on the vital and unending tasks of showing the love of God to others. Aliens are foreigners will preach to the nations and this is fully aligned with the perfect will of God.
As you walk through this week, may the Good Lord reveal to you all the ways in which He has blessed your life with rich diversity. May you become fully aware of the beautiful quality of being led by those who are new to the Kingdom.
May your eyes see new things for Christ this week.