Personal Grace – Isaiah 61:1-3

“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
to grant to those who mourn in Zion–
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.”

Isaiah 61:1-3

Oaks of righteousness. A picture of such strength and steadfastness, of holiness reflecting the character and beauty of the Lord…a picture that could stir thoughts of those perceived “heroes of the faith” and a sense that such a position is reserved for a select few. Those who are capable of a different level of strength or who have a different story.

But what strikes me this morning is where the individuals in this passage come from. These oaks of righteousness are the poor and afflicted. The brokenhearted. The captives. Those who have been bound. Those whose mourning had them in ashes, whose spirit grew faint.

This is where they were. These are those whom our God transforms. A planting of the Lord. Requiring His personal involvement. Because this is a very personal grace, meeting us in our weakest, most desperate, most painful state.

Personal grace that speaks good news – good news of hope from our Savior, spoken to the one whose hope has been lost. Personal grace that binds up a heart wounded and shattered. Personal grace that proclaims to the individual captive, “I have come to set you free!” and opens the prison in which one is bound. Personal grace that comforts the one in mourning, exchanging ashes for beautiful adornments, anointing with gladness perhaps thought lost forever, wrapping in praise that strengthens.

This very personal grace of our Lord meets you where you are. To plant you firmly in Him, running the roots down deep. That you may become known as an oak of righteousness.

He takes the broken, the captive, the weak, and pours out personal, powerful grace to make each one an oak of righteousness, a planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified. Because He has done it. He picks up the one and brings healing, hope, freedom, comfort, strength, praise.

Beautiful, personal grace. Planting us in Christ as oaks of righteousness and growing us up in strength and holiness to bring Him great glory and praise.

“The nations shall see your righteousness,
and all the kings your glory,
and you shall be called by a new name,
that the mouth of the LORD will give.”

Isaiah 62:2

“I waited patiently for the LORD;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the LORD.”

Psalm 40:1-3

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