God’s Spirit; God’s Favor

BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY…. 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…” Isaiah 61:1-2 ESV

These verses are familiar because they are the ones that Jesus read in the Temple at the beginning of His ministry. They are verses of hope and promise fulfilled. When Jesus read them they stirred controversy because after reading the scripture the first words of His “sermon” were, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:21 NIV)

Instead of bringing celebration, those words brought scorn. The religious of Jesus’ day had their own ideas of how God would intervene and when. But not only that, it seems they were stuck in such a state of perpetual longing and anticipation that they couldn’t accept any good news or recognize the intervention of God in their midst.

God’s Spirit brings life, changes life, delivers, heals and fulfills hope. In these verses we see God’s Spirit is not for nice sounding words, it is action. Look at those who are the objects of God’s intervention. The poor, the brokenhearted, the captives and those who are bound. Those who are confronted with the most challenging circumstances of life can take hope and receive the Lord’s attention when God’s Spirit is alive and active through His “anointed” ones.

As New Testament believers, we have the opportunity to “follow in Jesus’ footsteps” and to do and make a priority His call and work. Those who are in need are the recipients of the Lord’s favor.

As we look at the verses of Isaiah 61, we see that the Lord’s favor restores and makes whole. It lifts up and rejuvenates. God’s Spirit and favor brings….comfort all who mourn; [it] grant[s]….a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;”

This takes place so that those who are poor, in prison, brokenhearted and bound “may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified…” (Isaiah 61:3 ESV) 

Talk about a reversal, a restoration, a divine intervention. From isolated and in need to having all needs met. From being despised and weak to “oaks of righteousness.” 

The result is that the Lord “may be glorified.” When restoration takes place in the lives of the needy it is for God’s glory. What happens is not by happenstance it is a result of God’s intervention that He might be glorified.

Prayer for today…. Lord thank You for the work of Your Spirit through Your “anointed ones” and in the lives of those who are in the greatest of need. We ask that You work in us and through us for Your glory.