Trees of Goodness

"The Lord God has put his Spirit in me,
because the Lord has appointed me to
tell the good news to the poor.
He has sent me to comfort those whose
hearts are broken,
to tell the captives they are free,
and to tell the prisoners they are released.
He has sent me to announce the time when
the Lord will show his kindness
and the time when our God will punish
evil people.
He has sent me to comfort all those who are
and to help the sorrowing people of
I will give them a crown to replace their ashes,
and the oil of gladness to replace their
and clothes of praise to replace their spirit
of sadness.
Then they will be called Trees of Goodness,
trees planted by the Lord to show his
(Isaiah 61:1-3)
READ Isaiah 60:1-61:11
SITUATION Isaiah continued to prophesy. He reported the deliverance that the Messiah would bring to Israel.
OBSERVATION Because of God's great love for his people, he would send a Savior to comfort, heal, and set his people free. He would clothe his people with goodness and salvation (61:10).
INSPIRATION We eat forbidden fruit. We say what we shouldn't say. Go where we shouldn't go. Pluck fruit from trees we shouldn't touch.
And when we do, the door opens, and the shame tumbles in. And we hide. We sew fig leaves. Flimsy excuses. See-through justifications. We cover ourselves in good works and good deeds, but one guest of the wind of truth, and we are naked again---stark naked in our own failure.
So what does God do? Exactly what he did for our parents in the garden. He sheds innocent blood. He offers the life of his Son. and from the scene of the sacrifice the Father takes a robe--not the skin of an animal--but the robe of righteousness. And does he throw it in our direction and tell us to shape up? No, he dresses us himself. He dresses us with himself. "You were all baptized into Christ, and so you were all clothed with Christ" (Galatians 3:26-27).
The robing is his work, not ours. Did you note the inactivity of Adam and Eve? They did nothing. Absolutely nothing. They didn't request the sacrifice; they didn't even dress themselves. They were passive in the process. So are we. "You have been saved by grace through believing. You did not save yourselves; it was a gift from God. It was not the result of your own efforts, so you cannot brag about it. God has made us what were are" (Ephesians 2:8-10).
We hide. He seeks. We bring sin. He brings sacrifice. We try fig leaves. He brings the robe of righteousness. And we are left to sing the song of the prophet: "He has covered me with clothes of salvation and wrapped me in a coat of goodness, like a bridegroom dressed for his wedding, like a bride dressed in jewels" (Isaiah 61:10).
God has clothed us. He protects us with a cloak of love. Can you look back over your life and see instances of God's protection? I can too. (From A Love Worth Giving by Max Lucado)
APPLICATION Salvation is a free gift from God. Only he can clothe us with righteousness. Whom can you talk to this week who needs to hear of God's salvation?
EXPLORATION God's free Gift-- John 4:10; Acts 2:38; Romans 6:23.
The Devotional Bible - Experiencing the Heart of Jesus, Max Lucado General Editor, New Century Version, Thomas Nelson Publishers.

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