SIXTY ONE : SIX
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.
AND YOU WILL BE CALLED PRIESTS OF THE LORD, YOU WILL BE NAMED MINISTERS OF OUR GOD.
Unlike worldly understanding of what it takes to be a priest or a minister, the biblical requirements are quite simple: Holy Spirit anointing. When you receive the Holy Spirit into your being and are anointed in its presence, you become a priest of the Lord and a Minister of God. In the heavenly realm, no more is needed. God’s children do not need an education to preach the good news. They do not need to be ordained by a church or commissioned by an organization. These things are not bad—they are wonderful and valuable tools—but they are not Kingdom prerequisites. They are not requirements that God places between us and His holy ministry. When we receive the anointing of the Holy Spirit, we have everything we need to proclaim the Word of God to all peoples of all nations. The Spirit is our commission. He is our anointing. He ordains us and calls us and sends us. The Holy Spirit is our education and our authority.
And becoming a teacher of the kingdom is no small assignment. Would you ever attend a church where the pastor didn’t live the message he preached? Would you patronize a church where the priest promoted holiness on Sundays and then lived no different than those who denied Christ? The answer should be no. We look to our pastors and preachers and ministers to set the example of the kingdom of heaven. So here is the challenge in that: upon receiving the Spirit, you became a priest of the Lord. You are a minister of God. When you received the Holy Spirit into your being, you accepted the call of Christ to be the representation of Jesus on this earth. And just as you wouldn’t attend a church where the pastor lived a life ruled by the patterns of this broken world, how can you expect to promote the kingdom well to a world you blend into? You are set apart to be a minister of God because you have the Holy Spirit anointing covering you. If you have never felt commissioned to do the work of heaven, spend a moment now praying into this verse in order to step into your true identity as a priest, a minister, a leader in the pursuit of Christ. And let me be possibly the first person to declare over you the truth that you have divine authority in the kingdom because of your new identity upon receiving the Spirit of the Sovereign Lord.
YOU WILL FEED ON THE WEALTH OF NATIONS, AND IN THEIR RICHES, YOU WILL BOAST.
I want to be transparent. This verse was hard for me to grasp because I don’t have a lot of spending money and I love the Lord desperately. It can be hard to understand verses about financial prosperity when you are not in a season of that. I must make very clear that I know many devout believers who have lots of money. Followers of God who give and give and give to His kingdom and God seems to continually pour out more and more financial prosperity into their lives in return. This is a way that God shows up. But I know a lot more believers for whom this isn’t the case. Believers who have committed their lives to the Lord and live in poverty. I know this verse is referencing Israel, but the beauty and supreme intelligence with which God wrote this book allows us to apply this verse to ourselves. So, what does this mean for those of us without riches?
I’ve heard lots of wrong teaching about how if we can just be good enough Christians, God will pour out financial blessing into our lives. This message often leaves believers without wealth feeling like less than enough and questioning their value in the kingdom and it just isn’t right. Yes, we should pray for that blessing. Ask for it! God wants to give! But we must remember that the authors of the New Testament weren’t the wealthy heads of churches. The authors of the New Testament were prisoners. Vagabonds. Missionaries. That is why I think it is very important that we observe exactly who it is that is in possession of the wealth in this verse. It is written that we would feed on the wealth of the nations. That we would boast in their riches. Not that we would receive the wealth of the nations or be given their riches, but that we would feed on that which isn’t ours and boast in that which does not belong to us.
This is a heart issue. How often do we see believers prospering more than us and celebrate? How often do we watch the treasures of God pour out and drown people that we brought to Him and jump with joy? It’s a heart issue. This verse is saying that we will feed on the wealth of the nations that we have been priests for. We will boast in the riches of those we ministered to because they have received blessings from God and when we allow the Holy Spirit to truly flood our hearts, we are given the divine ability to celebrate that which is not ours rather than harbor bitterness towards others’ blessings.
We feed on the wealth of nations because we had the honor of being used by God to bring them into his kingdom and now, He is blessing them. We boast in their riches because that success was due to the Lord of the earth that we got to minister about and introduce them to. These are not our riches; these are God’s riches! And we celebrate that, whether it comes to us or not because we do not get to decide what God does with God’s prosperity. And we adopt humility. And we say yes to the blessings of fellow believers. And we feed on their wealth without pride when they have enough to give to us. And we boast and brag about their riches because we are truly filled with joy that our King chose to pour out His love on them in such a way.
You see, it’s a heart issue. God is calling us to refine our hearts to love in new and more selfless ways. To do away with pride and start celebrating one another.
May the Lord fill you with deep wells of confidence and authority this week as you navigate the call on your life to be a priest and a minister of His kingdom. I pray that He touches your heart with new levels of sincere joy and celebration as those around you are blessed and the humility to receive from others.
May you feel His presence closer than your skin.