February 5, 2024


Isaiah 61:10-11 - I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to sprout up before all the nations.


In Isaiah 61, the prophet describes the joy that comes from being clothed in salvation and righteousness by God. Just as a bride and bridegroom adorn themselves on their wedding day, God adorns us with these spiritual garments. Isaiah goes on to compare this to seeds sprouting up from the earth - as surely as seeds grow when planted, God's righteousness and praise will sprout up among all nations. The Enduring Word commentary explains that our joy comes not from the blessings themselves but from God, the giver of all good gifts. The granting of salvation and righteousness is pictured as clothing covering God's people. And just as plants grow according to their nature from the earth, praise and righteousness will naturally flow from those who have been saved by God. The BibleRef commentary further notes how the prophet transitions from speaking of "me" to "us" - while he first rejoices over his own salvation, he then recognizes that God's plan is for all nations, not just Israel. Righteousness and praise will sprout up everywhere as God causes growth among all peoples. So we see an expanding vision of joy - first the individual (Isaiah), then the community (God's people), and finally all nations together will share in the praise of God. This great joy echoes the excitement of a wedding and the satisfaction of a harvest and points ahead to an even greater joy when God's kingdom comes in fullness.


As I reflect on this passage, I'm struck by the contagious nature of joy described here. Isaiah's personal joy in the Lord leads him to recognize and rejoice over God's blessings on the whole community of faith. And from there he sees by faith a vision of many nations together praising God. True joy is like that - it starts inside our hearts as we understand what God has done for us. But it doesn't stay locked up within us. Like seeds sprouting up from the soil, it grows and spreads and touches more and more lives. The more we comprehend God's grace at work in our lives, the more our joy overflows. And God Himself also rejoices! The Enduring Word commentary on Luke 15 notes that God celebrates with joy whenever one sinner repents. He sings over His people with gladness (Zeph. 3:17). Our joy connects with heavenly joy. As people touched by God's salvation and righteousness, we have so much reason for joy every day. Even in seasons of difficulty we can "rejoice in the Lord always" (Phil. 4:4). This is a joy the world cannot give or take away because it flows from an unshakeable kingdom - God's kingdom of righteousness, peace and joy (Rom. 14:17). What areas of my life feel joyless right now? What might it look like for me to connect with God's eternal joy in those places, to see them from His perspective? As I grow deeper in relationship with Christ, asking Him to cover me with His robes of righteousness, I can trust that His true and lasting joy will sprout up powerfully from the seeds He has planted in my life.


Lord Jesus, fill me afresh with the joy of my salvation today! Thank you for covering me with your perfect righteousness, for making me clean, beautiful and acceptable before God. My soul rejoices in you alone, my Savior and King! Let your joy flow out of me freely to touch more lives around me. Cause your righteousness and praise to sprout up in new places as your Spirit works through me. And help me envision by faith that great day when people from every nation will praise your glorious name together. Come soon, Lord Jesus! Amen.

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United in Christ

United in Christ

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