Reading: Isaiah 61:10 to 62:3
Verse Three: “You will be a crown of splendor in the Lord’s hand”.
Today’s passage from Isaiah has both personal and corporate aspects of righteousness. It begins on the personal level with Isaiah praising God for his “garments of salvation” and his “robe of righteousness”. God has blessed Isaiah with these things because Isaiah has been faithful to God’s word and because he has been true in his calling to be the voice of God for the nation of Israel. Isaiah also sees signs that God is at work in the lives of the people. In verse eleven Isaiah speaks of God preparing the people Israel, like a farmer prepares the soil for a new crop, so that “righteousness and praise will spring up” leading Israel to be restored or to be born anew.
In our passage, the transition from chapter 61 to 62 is where the melding of personal and corporate righteousness begins to take place. Isaiah writes of Zion – the people of God. He also writes of Jerusalem – the city of God. The people are in exile. As a people of God they seem to have lost some of their connection to God, to being God’s chosen people. Being in exile can make one question who you are. After these many years in exile, they long to return to their home land and to Jerusalem, the center of their nation. Isaiah is speaking of a restoration of both Zion and Jerusalem as he writes, “You will be a crown of splendor in the Lord’s hand”. What words of hope!
In our lives and in our churches today we can experience times like Zion and the nation of Israel are feeling. There can be times or even seasons when we seem to have lost our way or feel like we are in exile. God desires to speak into these times or seasons as well. God still desires to see His people clothed in salvation and righteousness. If we delve into the scriptures, we will find a connection between living a holy life and being invested in the disciplines of our faith – reading and meditating on the Word, spending regular time in prayer and worship, serving those in need. It is when we participate in these habits of the faith that we are preparing our soil for righteousness and praise to sprout up. It is through these disciplines that we come to lead a holy life. Then God will indeed clothe us in a robe of righteousness that will lead to salvation.
When we get away from being who and what God calls us to be – whether personally or as a community of faith – we lose our connection to God. Just as He did with Zion and Jerusalem, God remains faithful and continues to call us back to faith and back into relationship with Him. God promises to be near to us when we draw near to Him. May we always seek to be faithful to our call to live as God desires, investing our time and hearts in the things of God. Through the faithful practice of our faith habits, our connection to God will remain strong. May it be so for you and for me!