Tuesday, May 21st, 2013
Isaiah 61 (Part 4)
A Church In Mourning
To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.
Isaiah 61:3 (NKJV)
The 'Consolation of Israel' (Luke 2:25) is Jesus. Zion is 'The City of the Living God' (Hebrews 12:22), also known in the New Testament as 'The Church' (Ephesians 5:23). Praise God for our membership in 'The church of God which He purchased with His Own Blood' (Acts 20:28).
If Zion is God's church, why are some of His saints in mourning? Maybe they feel like Paul: 'I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart' (Romans 9:2). 'For I fear lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I wish... and I shall mourn for many who have sinned before and have not repented' (2 Corinthians 12:20-21).
Or Jesus: 'O Jerusalem, Jerusalem... How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!' (Matthew 23:37). Jesus yearned for the salvation of the Jews. Paul yearned for the salvation of the Christians. Today's saints yearn for them both.
But God has a plan: it's a holy exchange where His faithful saints receive beauty for ashes and joy for mourning; their depression is lifted by hands in praise to a loving God. Even more, they grow tall and strong as fruitful servants: 'The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.'
They are actors, models and talent for Christ: a new generation of Christians raising the roof off the American Church. As light streams in, congregations ignite in Spirit and fire, in passion and purpose.
'That they may be called trees of righteousness' by the righteousness of Christ.
'Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bear fruit in old age; They shall be fresh and flourishing' (Psalm 92:13-14). While I am partial to the 'fruit in old age' part, I believe God's intention is clear:
Actors, models and talent for Christ shall revive His church.
To Be Continued...
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Isaiah 61 series.