SIXTY ONE : FOUR
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.
This verse starts out with the word they, signifying a shift in the subject of the passage. Up until this point, the focus was on us—or, more specifically, “me”—as we learned how to share the message of Christ with those who need to hear it. At this point, we begin focusing on “they”—those we have been sharing with. This is a pretty fantastically bold shift. It teaches us two things, one being that, in the end, it isn’t about us. Sharing the message of the Kingdom is for God and for salvation. We must remove ourselves and understand that the perfect outcome is not that we are glorified but that God is glorified by His children coming home to Him. The second significant aspect of this shift in the subject is the confidence with which we can assume that, should we follow the instruction of Isaiah 61—preach good news to the poor, bind up the brokenhearted, proclaim freedom for the captives, etc.—those people receiving the message will meet Jesus. See, God wants them. He wants the person you are sharing with. He is jealous for them (Exodus 34:14)! If we introduce people to God in the way we are instructed, God makes an appearance. Isaiah 61:4 forewarns us of what will happen when we start seeing people meet Jesus.
So now the anointing of the Spirit has stretched its fingers out wider and more people have received this precious gift. This is when things start to really take off. Because we are not anointed for stagnancy. We don’t receive the wild Spirit for complacency. We get called to action. We get called to construction.
THEY WILL REBUILD THE ANCIENT RUINS
In this verse, we will talk about three different “R” words that can all seem quite similar but actually contain versatile definitions. The first of the three is “rebuild”. When we rebuild, we are taking something that is no longer there and building up that very same thing. We create something new from the bottom up that is a replica of something old! Ancient ruins are the skeleton leftover from something built long ago, still haunting the area with its mighty presence, like a ghost of what was. My husband and I spent a week in Rome, Italy, making our way through countless ancient ruins dating all the way back to the stories we read about in the Old Testament. It seems silly to me now to think that I believed before the trip that we would be able to recognize the buildings once we arrived in Rome. They are, quite literally, ruined. While the city is still haunted with the massive energy of these long destroyed places, no one could possibly imagine what it truly looked like against the ancient landscapes.
These are the ghost-ruins that we are called to rebuild. These destroyed places, these pregnant voids, these mighty emptiness’s. Long lost morals and values, crumbled away over time and no longer remembered aside from the ancient artifacts left behind. We are to rebuild from the ground up the gorgeous purity of the life that was allowed to fall to pieces, giving lost beauty another chance.
AND RESTORE THE PLACES LONG DEVASTATED
Restoration is to bring something back to its original state. It means stripping away all the things that have been added over time, making something that was once lovely and unique fit a mundane mold and robbing it of its organic self. To restore something means to give it back its original identity and beauty.
My dream has always been to live in a home built in the seventies. My husband and I finally found the perfect place and scooped it up as soon as we could. Built in 1976, this beauty has the charm and personality of a groovy old home, but somewhere along the way, it was updated to fit the times and lost the uniqueness that made it stand out as a mid-century. We have undergone the process of restoring this home back to the olden days, buying vintage whenever possible and, while we are injecting the modern feel we so admire from the era, giving this old girl back her groove. Because this home is a seventies home, and filling it up with all the nineties fixtures you could dream of will never change who she truly is.
The places long devastated still have an identity. See, at some point, someone said that this house would be better if it looked less like it was created to look. How often do we suffer from that very same thing? This long devastation is rooted in a separation from identity. Our assignment after we are anointed are to go into these places of devastation, where someone believed the lie that they would be better if they were different, and speak restorative life into those identity wounds. We are to boldly declare that the original creation, the gorgeous way we were built in the very mind of Christ is so perfectly more than enough. Restoration is giving someone back the identity that was stolen along the way, because the most devastating thing there is in this world is people who believe that they aren’t a perfect creation loved by their creator.
THEY WILL RENEW THE RUINED CITIES THAT HAVE BEEN DEVASTATED FOR GENERATIONS.
Renewal is the act of imparting new, fresh life into something broken or expired. We can see the ruined cities all around us, generation upon generation of broken families, following in the devastation that came before them, allowing the brokenness of the past to become the brokenness of the present. It is time for renewal in the name of God, generations of pain and brokenness to be made new and alive. We are to declare fearlessly that no, the broken patterns of ruined cities established for the generations before me are not rooted so deep that newness and life cannot obliterate the ugly patterns. We must renew goodness, renew vitality, renew purity and love and Jesus.
I pray that this week, all the ancient sources of wounding and devastation within you and around you would be rebuilt, restored, and renewed through the power of the Holy Spirit. I pray also that those you share Christ with would show you what it is to be active in doing His work.
God with you, Spirit in you, fear far from you.