For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, And as a garden causes the things sown in it to spring up, So the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise To spring up before all the nations. (Isaiah 61:11 NASB)
These are encouraging but elusive words for many people today. We want things to get better but the promise of hopeful things seem just out of grasp or maybe you find yourself buried under a multitude of disappointments. This verse would be just that if we didn’t hear what the previous 10 verses offer to us.
This chapter in Isaiah comes to a people desperate for restoration and reveals God’s heart and the promise to restore all things. He describes a time when He will bring good news to the afflicted; heal the brokenhearted, release the bound, free prisoners, comfort those in morning, and strengthen the weak. He says He will restore the places of ruin and devastation giving a legacy to His children and their generations. His children will be recognized by the nations as the offspring whom He has blessed.
This promise is picked up and read some 700 years later by Jesus. And what He says is astonishing to those who heard it. They had probably heard this portion of scripture read many times before, (maybe you have too) but on this day God’s promise comes in a way never heard before.
And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read. And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written, “THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR. HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES, AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND, TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED, TO PROCLAIM THE FAVORABLE YEAR OF THE LORD.” And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:16-21 NASB)
Three things should encourage you:
- Restoration is God’s work, not yours. The wonderful thing about a promise is that the responsibility is on the one making the promise. Jesus says “I will do this!” Many of us live under the disappointments of our own labors, trying to restore our own lives. We cannot do this in our own strength. It is God’s work.
- Restoration is NOW! Jesus said, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” If you have not heard this before now; hear it.
- Restoration is activated by Faith. Those who heard this message in Jesus day drove Him away. God will do what He promised. His faith will do the work of restoration. Our faith must believe He will and receive what He promised.
This is the “favorable year of the Lord” for you. He is the God of restoration!
We hope you will join us for the upcoming RESTORE CONFERENCE in Kitty Hawk, NC on March 22-24, 2013. Click this link to find out more.