Posts Tagged Isaiah 61: 3

Poured Out

Psalm 38: 9 – 10

Lord, all my desire is before You; and my sighing is not hidden from You. My heart throbs, my strength fails me; and the light of my eyes, even that has gone from me.

I am moved by David’s passion and how he lays his heart out before the lord. Is this something we do? Is this something I do?

When I am under stress, I turn into a turtle. I withdraw into my shell and hold everything inside. We all know, at least intellectually, that this is not good, not healthy, and completely non-productive. David had a better system. He poured out his heart to God, his beloved, his father. He emptied himself of every thought without judgment. He just said was he was thinking and what he was feeling without restriction or prejudice.

I know there are many things that we think and feel that we also know are completely invalid. We don’t want to say them because we know they are ludicrous. There is some sense in that but that mature, logical theory does not apply here. When we talk with our Father, we need to feel free to pour ourselves out as David did. You can be as irresponsible as a child and say everything you think, express every emotion you feel. It is His job to pick you up and put your feet back on the right track. We get so busy being grown-up with our stoic faces and stiff back that we functionally shut out our Father and His healing touch. We never let Him rescue us much less touch our broken hearts because we won’t allow ourselves to be completely open to Him. It is as if it is against the rules to let down our guard for even a moment.

We really need to learn that we can run into the shelter of the most high where there is no need for our guard, where we can exhale fully and let ourselves feel the depth and richness of human emotion. God is passionate, you know that right? And we are made in His image. He did not create us to be stiff upper lip, intransigent robots.

God said that David was a man after His own heart. We can meditate on that statement for days, weeks, even years. What was it about David that moved God’s heart? Why is it that we don’t find God saying of David that he stirred His imagination or made Him think? In other words, God reveals that David wasn’t a child of His soul or His mind. I am sure that David and God had great thoughts together. Of course they shared great images from their imagination. Yet when God described David, He reveals him as part of His own heart. David lived in the center of God’s being and I am sure that, to this day, David lives to sing his lovely songs to the Father and they share great joy together. However, when David lived on earth he shared all he thought and all he felt with the love of his heart, his first love, God the Father; Lord and King but Father above all.

Or should I say parent because Yahweh is both Mother and Father. He is One, the One. He is not segregated into Mother and Father but is both. All in all, all in one. He is everything we need. It is just an unfortunate result of language and our humanness that we have gender specific pronouns. Yahweh is as female as male so when you need a trait that we on earth define as feminine have no reservation for that which we need abides in our beloved in richness and fullness. H/she is all the compassion you need and has the answers to every hurt and every problem. We can, therefore, trust in an unhindered fashion. We can, and should, pour out our hearts which are full of fear, frustration, anger, worry, and anxiety. And when we pour it out to our God and Father, then we are no longer full of those negative emotions. We can safely give them to “Him”, and He will give us back the reassurance and confidence we need. The truth of that statement is readily detectable as you read the songs of David.

David’s psalms often begin with expressions of anguish. Sometimes all but the very end is full of the suffering, anger and torment of his situation but always, by the end of the psalm, God has restored him. In the end of every calamitous event is the resurrection of Jesus and the lifting of our own heads.

Here is the morale of the story – God cannot lift our heads if we are stiff necked and proud. It is when we bow our heads that we allow Him to be God. When we pour our guts out on the floor before Him, He can lift us up. Remember, it is in our weakness that we are strong for God teaches us, “My power is strongest when you are weak,” (2 Corinthians 12: 9). The revelation of that statement caused Paul to write, “When I am weak, then I am strong,” (2 Corinthians 12: 10). In other words, we can never put on His strength if we never abandon our own. Ours is just a shadow anyway. It is just a projected image of the true strength which is in our Dad.

God makes a trade with us, taking our misery and giving us His glory. Isaiah 61: 3 foretells this as Jesus’ calling, his ministry, “Giving them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting.” We take our sadness, sorrow and misery, all of our challenges and frustrations to the Father and He trades with us giving us all of His goodness. He freely offers to trade happiness and joy for our sadness and grief.

So, be like David. Pour out your heart to God. Purge yourself of those toxic emotions and receive back joy unspeakable.

Relief

Isaiah 61: 3         NIV

. . . a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.

Recently I listened to a CD titled Revival in Belfast by Robin Mark. The first track on the album is Garments of Praise. The lyric says, “Put on the garments of praise for the spirit of heaviness”. I have listened to this CD many, many times but this time the lyric struck me as never before. I wish to share with you the revelation that God gave me.

Isaiah 61 is Jesus’ commission; it is what God called him to do. This segment of Isaiah 61 is part of what God commissioned Jesus to do; to give us garments of praise in place of a spirit of despair. The New American Standard Bible reads, “a mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting.” When we are in despair, Jesus’ commission kicks in to replace that despair with a garment of praise. God’s Word translation reads, “the oil of joy instead of tears of grief.” Jesus pours the oil of joy over us to replace our tears of grief. 

As I listened to the song Garments of Praise I realized that I could elect to put on the garment of praise instead of my sackcloth of despair. I can choose the oil of gladness instead of tears of grief. I am not saying that there are not times of grief in our lives. What I am saying is that Jesus has already provided a mantle of praise with which we can replace the spirit of fainting. I learned, however, that even though Jesus has already provided for this exchange, giving us the garment of praise in place of grief, it is I who must don the clothing which he has purchased for me. 

God is our strength, He is the joy and the lifter of our heads. However, we have to choose to put on the garment of praise. When we do, we find that the He lifts the grief. He will get you through the toughest times of life but you must use the tools He has given you. He has already given you the garment of praise for that day when despair encompasses you. I find that some people think God has let them down in their time of need but He is there saying, “Look, I have already provided. Put on your robe!!” It must cause Him great chagrin when people do not avail themselves of all of the gifts, weaponry and tools that He has provided. So, when you are sad, remember that God has already made a substitutionary allowance. Start to praise, begin to sing and worship, you will find your relief in the garment of praise.