Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Mid-Day Devotion 12/1/09

“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.”
Isaiah 61:1-3

Ever since man’s first fall to sin amidst the glories of Eden he longingly waited for the promised Messiah to restore him. (Genesis 3:15) For generations prophets pointed to the assurances of the Lord. They would look with hope to the word of the Lord, a guarantee that there would come a Redeemer to rescue His fallen children. They would put their faith in it; all of their trust would rest on it. No longer would they be held in such bitter estate, lost amidst this temporal existence. The dark captivity of sin, death and the Devil would be broken. No longer would the chains of that slavery bind the hearts and souls, the spirits and the minds of God’s people. Ransomed from sin and iniquity they would finally be set free. (Psalm 68:18)

Despite trial and tribulation, hardship and persecution they could not just abandon that hope. They had to proclaim that wondrous and glorious message of salvation. They knew that, when the Son of God came, he would heal the broken hearted, and he would set free all the captives, giving liberty to those who were bound up. He would bring comfort, peace and joy amidst the love that God had for each of us. Mercy would reign and the deep, abiding burdens that crushed the spirit would finally be lifted from the soul. Those weary, unable to find a measure of rest would finally find an end to strife and sorrow.

In ancient Hebrew customs there was the year of the Jubilee. (Leviticus 25:8-55) It beginning was marked by Yom Kippur, that day of atonement when the sins were lifted from the people. Now a timeless and endless Jubilee would be proclaimed as that great sacrifice came upon this earth to take away the sins of the world. (John 3:16) The Spirit of the Lord would usher him forward and upon them would rest the abiding blessing of freedom that would encompass their lives. (2 Corinthians 3:17) With God with us through the Son who or what would be able to stand against us? (Romans 8:31)

Always faithful to His Word and ever devoted to the cause of his people God would not fail them or forsake them. He would never forget them, nor would He tell them that they weren’t worth the price that had to be paid. In His time, in His way He would send this Messiah forth into this temporal existence. According to the love that He had for His people, for His children the Heavenly Father would not withhold even His only begotten Son from us. In compassion and mercy He would give all to us that the hope and the faith of the prophets, the same hope and faith we rest on today, would not be in vain. The encompassing miracle of our lives it would be the abiding truth that would forever set us free. (John 8:32)

If this is the love of the Lord, if this is the power of our God made manifest through Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior, then how much more can He do amidst this world? If we can conquer the spiritual captivity and the spiritual authority of sin, death and the Devil as it holds our lives amidst grim and bitter estates then how much more can He do against the temporal captivity and authority of those who are held hostage and prisoner? The promise, after all, is right there before us. He will proclaim liberty to the captives and open the prisons to them that are bound. He will heal the broken hearted and He will comfort all of those who mourn. All praise and glory will belong to Him because with Him shall come the abiding freedom that He endowed us with even at the beginning of time.

Throughout the world we see all sorts of evil, all sorts of wickedness. Men of darkness let sin and iniquity guide their way. They bring death and destruction with them as they hold life cheap and without any intrinsic meaning or value. Through their unrighteousness they take prisoners and hostages, they take people captive and they make them into slaves. They buy and sell flesh as if it was nothing at all. Sorrow and suffering, pain and agony follow them through all of their days.

Yet their power is meaningless. Though it lasts for a short time it shall pass just as surely as one day fades into the next, for they abide in their own hatred and loathing. The love of the Lord is far distant from their hearts and their minds, their spirits and their souls. They show nothing but contempt for their fellow man. God, the Lord God Almighty, will not let that stand. He will not just let them do as they will without bringing hope to His people, offering unto them courage and strength through even these, the darkest of days of their lives. That is the transcending, encompassing truth of His abiding love.

Though it may seem far distant, ransom and rescue shall come. It will come by the hand of God working through this world, showing that there is no limit to His power and authority. It shall move in the most significant of ways in the lives of His people. Though there will always be those who will seek to assert their own control and influence to subjugate and oppress their fellow man God shall show them that He is there to proclaim liberty and freedom, justice and mercy for His people. Faithful to His promises this is the assurance of His devoted love. It is a blessing that is beyond compare.

So just as the prophets looked to the coming of the Messiah, placing their hope in the Word of the Lord, look to the freedom that He brought in Christ Jesus, and know that liberty does not just begin and end there. It carries through the ages, and makes itself known in the love and the mercy, the compassion and the grace of our God. There is no other way to understand it but to understand that it is a miracle that comes by His hand through His hand in this life. It then encompasses us in the most significant of ways through all of the days of our lives.

Perhaps it could be that hope seems far distant as we longingly look and wait. Yet that hope is never in vain. God will show forth His devotion to His people through the kindness of that He brings into their lives. His Spirit shall then be upon all those who suffer, all of those who find themselves in agony as He brings them peace. Captivity and bondage shall have no power over them, for rest shall come to the weary and comfort to the troubled. What a blessed miracle that truly and rightly must be seen as for our lives.

Therefore place your trust in Him and know that He walks beside you carrying your spirit and your soul to the wondrous promises of His great and abiding live. Just as He ransomed captive Israel, “That mourned in lowly exile” until His Son appeared, He too shall ransom the captives and the hostages, the prisoners and the slaves wherever they are held, and whoever holds them. They shall never be failed or forsaken according to His great love.

Blessed be His name for that.

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

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