“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.” (Isaiah 61:1)
The Lord Jesus appropriated this beautiful verse of the prophet Isaiah to Himself, preaching from it one day in the Nazareth synagogue and proclaiming: “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears” (Luke 4:21). Note that He came to preach the gospel to the meek, not the arrogant, and to bind up the brokenhearted, not the hardhearted.
He also came to set the captives free. This was not, however, to deliver the Jews from Roman bondage as many had hoped, but a far greater deliverance. In the Hebrew, the phrase “opening of the prison” is only one word (a doubled word), and it occurs only this one time in the Old Testament. When Christ quoted it in the synagogue, He actually expanded and interpreted it as follows: “. . . recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised” (Luke 4:18).
The “prison” which Christ came to open is evidently a spiritual prison, a binding of the soul, a blinding of the mind. “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:36)—free from the bondage of sin, translated, “out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).
There was also another prison, a very real prison, deep in the heart of the earth to which He came. While His body slept in the tomb, His spirit descended into Hades where the spirits of all who had died in faith were awaiting Him, and “when he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and . . . ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things” (Ephesians 4:8, 10). HMM
The Institute for Creation Research
Have you wondered lately why things don’t seem to be getting better? I have. I look around and see many believers in Jesus trying to honor him. And yet, we don’t seem to be gaining much ground. Why is that? What are we doing wrong? Why isn’t God answering?
The answer may be found in these words from Isaiah. In this amazing chapter, Isaiah contrasts the type of fasting that God honors with that which he overlooks. That’s right, not all fasting (sacrifice) yields God’s favor.
Here’s what the prophet said:
For day after day they seek me out;
they seem eager to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that does what is right
and has not forsaken the commands of its God.
They ask me for just decisions
and seem eager for God to come near them.
‘Why have we fasted,’ they say,
‘and you have not seen it?
Why have we humbled ourselves,
and you have not noticed? ’
“Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please
and exploit all your workers.
Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife,
and in striking each other with wicked fists.
You cannot fast as you do today
and expect your voice to be heard on high. Isaiah 58:2-4
You’re not sincere. While you’re going through the motions in the hopes of winning my favor, you’re not really in the game. Because at the end of the day you still don’t love each other. You still look out for yourselves before you look out for others. And even though you’re sacrificing, that is not the kind of sacrifice I will honor.
I’m not sure what that says to you, but it tells me that all my praying, reading, fasting, preaching, giving and serving doesn’t mean squat to God if I’m not loving my family–my wife and children–and my neighbors. If at the end of the day all my religiosity hasn’t made me more like Jesus–and that means loving others as I love myself and serving them before I serve myself– then it means nothing to God.
Wow. I’ve got some work to do.
Tomorrow, we’ll take a look at the kind of fasting (sacrifice) that God does honor and answer.
“To discipline ourselves through fasting brings us in tune with God, and fast day provides an occasion to set aside the temporal so that we might enjoy the higher qualities of the spiritual. As we fast on that day we learn and better understand the needs of those who are less fortunate” (“Fast Day,” October 1985 General Conference).
5 Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the Lord?
7 Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring thebpoor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?
9 Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity;
12 And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.
13 ¶If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the asabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words:
14 Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the ahigh places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.
Our Lord said, I am the Truth, and again He said, The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. Truth therefore is not hard to find for the very reason that it is seeking us. Truth is not a thing for which we must search, but a Person to whom we must hearken. This is taught or taken for granted in the record of Gods dealings with men throughout the Sacred Scriptures. After the sin in Eden it was not Adam who cried O God, where art Thou? but God who cried Where art thou? as He sought for Adam among the trees of the Garden. Abraham heard God speak and responded, but it was God who was the aggressor. God appeared unto Jacob before Jacob came to appear before God. And in the burning bush God revealed Himself to Moses. Again and again did God take the initiative. He sought for Gideon and found him on the threshing floor of Ophrah. He showed Himself to Isaiah when there is no evidence that Isaiah was seeking Him. Before Jeremiah was born God laid His hand upon him, and He opened heaven to let the discouraged priest Ezekiel see a vision and hear a voice. Amos said he was not a prophet neither a prophets son, but the Lord took him as he followed the flock. Again God was the aggressor. In the New Testament things are not otherwise. True, multitudes came to Christ for physical help, but only rarely did one seek Him out to learn the truth; and even that rare one usually turned away when the truth was told him. The whole picture in the Gospels is one of a seeking Savior, not one of seeking men. The truth was hunting for those who would receive it, and relatively few did. Many are called, but few are chosen.
John Piper has been sharing a series of short videos on him speaking about the gifts of the Spirit. The first was on tongues. I now want to share what he had to say on prophecy. Here are some excerpts to whet your appetite:
“I have been significantly influenced by Wayne Grudem’s book on prophecy . . .I think our tendency is to despise what the New Testament treats as prophecy . . . Prophecy in the New Testament doesn’t seem to have the same scripture quality, inerrant, inspiration and authority . . . you don’t go up to Isaiah and say I am going to test what you say . . . but you do do that with New Testament prophecy. . . Prophecy in the New Testament seems to be down a notch from prophecy in the old testament and is exposed to testing. . . God brining something to mind that you would not otherwise have thought of in the moment for the sake of upbuilding, encouragement, consolation. . . the way I personally appropriate this for myself . . . I pray as I am sitting there, God grant me a gift of prophecy in this preaching . . . bring to my mind things about yourself, and about this text, and about the truth, and about this people that I will be able to say in such a way that they will pierce with unusual, I might say, prophetic power into their lives. . . it happens very regularly that people say “have you been reading my mail, you looked at me and you said” I didn’t even know that I was looking at you . . . I was preaching on small groups . . .and I looked to my left and said “you might be working on the 34th floor of the IDS tower, maybe you should call people together and have a small group. . . a woman comes up afterwards and said “I work on that floor and I have been praying about whether to start a small group.”
Read the rest:
“Comfort, yes, comfort My people! Says your God.
“Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her,
That her warfare has ended,
That her iniquity is pardoned;
For she has received from the LORD’s hand
Double for all her sins.”
The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
Prepare the way of the LORD;
Make straight in the desert
A highway for our God.
Every valley shall be exalted,
And every mountain and hill shall be made low;
The crooked places shall be made straight,
And the rough places make smooth;
The glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
And all flesh shall see it together,
For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
“Listen, O coastlands, to Me,
And take heed, you peoples from afar!
The Lord has called Me from the womb;
From the matrix of My mother He has
made mention of My name.
And He has made My mouth like a
In the shadow of His hand He has
And made Me a polished shaft;
In His quiver He has hidden Me.
“And He said to me,
In whom I will be glorified.’
Then I said, ‘I have labored in vain,
I have spent my strength for nothing
and in vain;
Ye surely my just reward is with the
And my work with my God.’ “
“And now the LORD says,
Who formed Me from the womb to be
To bring Jacob back to Him,
So that Israel is gathered to Him
(For I shall be glorious in the eyes of
And My God shall be My strength).
Indeed He says,
‘It is too small a thing that You should
be My Servant
To raise up the tribes of Jacob,
And to restore the preserved ones of
I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles,
That You should be My salvation to the
ends of the earth.’ “
Thus says the LORD,
The Redeemer of Israel, their Holy
To Him, whom man despises,
To Him whom the nation abhors,
To the Servant of rulers:
“Kings shall see and arise,
Princes also shall worship,
Because of the LORD who is faithful,
The Holy One of Israel;
And He has chose You.”
Thus says the LORD:
“In an acceptable time I have heard
And in the day of salvation I have helped
I will preserve You and give You
As a covenant to the people,
To restore the earth,
To cause them to inherit the desolate
That You may say to the prisoners, ‘Go
To those who are in darkness, ‘Show
“They shall feed along the roads,
And their pastures shall be on all
They shall neither hunger nor thirst,
Neither heat nor sun shall strike them;
For He who has mercy on them will
Even by the springs of water He will
I will make each of My mountains a
And My highways shall be elevated.
Surely these shall come from afar;
Look! Those from the north and the
And thse from the land of Sinim.”
Sing, O heavens!
Be joyful, O earth!
And break out in singing, O mountains!
For the LORD has comforted His people,
And will have mercy on His afflicted.
But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken
And My LORD has forgotten me.”
“Can a woman forget her nursing child,
And not have compassion for the son of
Surely they may forget,
Yet I will not forget you.
See, I have inscribed you on the palms
of My hands;
Your walls are continually before Me.
Your sons shall make haste;
Your destroyers and those who laid you
Shall go away from you.
Lift up your eyes, look around and see;
All these gather to gather together and come to
As I live,” says the LORD
“You shall surely clothe yourselves with
them all as an ornament,
And bind them on you as a bride does.
“For your waste and desolate places,
And the land of your destruction,
Will even now be too small for the
And those who swallowed you up will
be far away.
The children you will have,
After you have lost the others,
Will say again in your ears,
‘The place is too small for me;
Give me a place where I may dwell.’
Then you will say in your heart,
‘Who had begotten these for me,
Since I have lost my children and am
A captive, and wandering to and fro?
And who has brought these up?
There I was, left alone;
But these, where were they?’ “
Thus says the LORD God:
“Behold, I will lift My hand in an oath to
And set up My standard for the
They shall bring your sons in their
And your daughters shall be carried on
Kings shall be your foster fathers,
And their queens your nursing mothers;
They shall bow down to you with their
faces to the earth,
And lick up the dust of your feet.
Then you will know that I am the
For they shall not be ashamed who wait
Shall the prey be taken for the
Or the captives of the righteous be
But thus says the LORD:
“Even the captives of the might shall be
And the prey of the terrible be
For I will contend with him who
contends with you,
And I will save your children.
I will feed those who oppress you with
their own flesh,
And they shall be drunk with their own
blood as with sweet wine.
All flesh shall know
That I, the LORD, am your Savior,
And your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.”
- Ezekiel 39 (loopyloo305.com)
- Better to Trust God than Man Psalm 118 (loopyloo305.com)
- Bless the LORD, All You People Psalm 103 (loopyloo305.com)
“Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat the bread.”
But He answered and said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?
“For God commanded, saying, ‘Honor your father and your mother‘; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’
“But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me has been dedicated to the temple”—
‘is released from honoring his father or mother.’ Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition.
Hypocrite! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying:
‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth,
And honor Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me.
And in vain the worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the
commandments of men.’ “
Then He called the multitude and said to them, “Hear and understand:
“Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.”
Then His disciples came and said to Him, “Do You know the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?”
But He answered and said, “Ever plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted.
“Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch.”
The Peter answered and said to Him, “Explain this parable to us.”
So Jesus said, “Are you also still without understanding?
“Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated?
“But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man.
“For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.
“These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”
- A place where the eagles will be gathered together (creationconcept.wordpress.com)
via Grace Partakers
via YOU DECIDE
- Finish the Job (via YOU DECIDE) (thechristiangazette.wordpress.com)
- Finding Meaning in Our Labor (wdednh.wordpress.com)
- Seeing Us for What We Will Become (via YOU DECIDE) (loopyloo305.wordpress.com)
- Finish the Job (via YOU DECIDE) (loopyloo305.wordpress.com)
- Second Chances (via YOU DECIDE) (loopyloo305.wordpress.com)
via YOU DECIDE
- Moving Ahead of God (via YOU DECIDE) (loopyloo305.wordpress.com)
- When God Speaks-Do You Listen? (via YOU DECIDE) (loopyloo305.wordpress.com)
- Are You Horizontal or Vertical? (via YOU DECIDE) (loopyloo305.wordpress.com)
- Making Decisions by Hearing God (wdednh.wordpress.com)
- Receiving Your Inheritance (via YOU DECIDE) (loopyloo305.wordpress.com)
- Resurrected Faith (via YOU DECIDE) (loopyloo305.wordpress.com)
- Testing for Obedience (via YOU DECIDE) (loopyloo305.wordpress.com)
- Such a Time as This (via YOU DECIDE) (loopyloo305.wordpress.com)
- Humility in Relationships (via YOU DECIDE) (loopyloo305.wordpress.com)
- Your Testimony (via YOU DECIDE) (loopyloo305.wordpress.com)