Askew injustice vs actual injustice.
– Wake up from kids talking/yelling. I don’t deserve to be woken up like this!
– Pull off covers and it’s cold. I shouldn’t be cold, (yell at spouse) turn up the heat!
– Look in closet full of clothes. There is nothing for me to wear!
– Look in pantry/fridge full of food. There is nothing for me to eat!
– Drive to work in traffic. Why do all these people keep driving in my way!?!
– Stop at coffee shop for food and caffeine. I shouldn’t have to wait in this long of a line!
– Start work, and boss calls meeting. I’d be more productive if I didn’t have to work with others.
– After work, go home and sit on the couch to complain about boredom.
Our sense of justice is often askew. Compared to the problems and pains of the world, many of us should have little to complain about. Global tension and trauma occur regularly: incessant political disputes, tragedy, war, and all the many other floods and fires of the world’s circumstances.
Certainly there are experiences that can cause us stress and struggle. Yet, we must learn to view every circumstance in life as opportunities presented for us to trust God and even to minister with others.
So, what can we learn about justice and how God seeks to administer justice in the world? This passage helps us understand how God brings justice to the world through our coming Savior.
EXAMINE Isaiah 61:1-4
Our coming Savior gives us a message to proclaim and a ministry to perform.
Isaiah’s prophecies are lengthy both in content and scope. He is speaking of days in Israel’s near future they will be captive under an enemy nation (Isa 60:10). Yet, he is also prophesying of the Lord’s eventual salvation of His people. The question often face with interpreters is whether the prophets are speaking of a salvation that occurred in its prophetic setting or of even a future day that is yet to come.
The inescapable key is that salvation belongs to the Lord (Ps 3:8; Isa 45:17; 59:1). A redeemer will come to Zion (Isa 59:20; 60:16). Israel looks forward to a day when the nation will fully enjoy the Lord’s redemption (Isa 61:8-11). Isaiah is not referencing himself to be the Lord’s Servant or Anointed One, but alluding to the role and responsibility of the Lord through Israel (cf. Isa 11:2; 42:1; 48:16; 52:13; 53:11; 61:1).
Later when Jerusalem was destroyed, people contemptuously called her “an outcast: Zion, for whom no one cares” (Jer 30:17). The city was destroyed and despised by her enemies (Isa 1:7-8). Yet, God promised to rescue and restore His people.
The rescue and restoration message to proclaim is the Anointed One will
– bring good news to the poor
o Isaiah was prophesying to those who had much but cared little for those who had not much. Isaiah 46:6 “Those who lavish gold from the purse, and weigh out silver in the scales, hire a goldsmith, and he makes it into a god, then they fall down and worship!” Isaiah 58:7-8 “[God chooses you] to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh; Then shall your light break forth like the dawn and your healing shall spring up speedily and your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.”
è The poor can be those who are afflicted physically or emotionally. God has a special heart for the poor (Isa 3:14-15; 10:2; 11:4; 14:30; 25:4; 26:6; 29:19; 32:7; 41:17; 58:7), and His people are called to generosity in material blessing and facilitating just laws toward the poor.
- Proverbs 14:21 “blessed is he who is generous to the poor”
- Proverbs 14:31 “Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him.” (cf. 17:5; 19:17; 21:13; 22:16; 22:22; 28:27; 29:14)
è SPAN – gave out over 200 holiday baskets of food for needy families; which we help support and can continue to spread impact. While Severna Park community may not have glaring poverty there are growing needs of physical poverty – and other forms of poverty (emotional, relational, spiritual). We have a community externally wealthy w/o need but internally empty and exploring sources of satisfaction; many are over-scheduled but under-developed.
è Me with care bags handing out to homeless in route to Baltimore to visit Brewster’s in hospital. God will give you opportunities to serve if you are praying and prepared.
– bind up the brokenhearted
o Isaiah spoke to those in gloom and anguish, distress and darkness (Isa 8:21-9:2).
è The brokenhearted of today are the many discouraged and diseased, whether in physical or emotional bondage. God’s people must care and comfort, help and heal through prayer and medical practices.
è Seek out families who are alone because of family deployed, dysfunction, or death.
– proclaim liberty to the captives and open prison to the bound
o Isaiah was prophesying to a group of people who were exiled and enslaved away from God. Isa 49:9 “saying to prisoners, ‘Come out’ to those who are in darkness.” Isa 58:6 God’s desire is to “loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free and break every yoke”
è There are many enslaved to all sorts of substances, whether its gluttony, alcohol, drugs illegal and legal, pornography or anything else. God’s people must call out freedom to those who are held in bondage.
è There are those without a voice who are abused and mistreated. The Bible speaks much of the orphan, the widow, and the sojourner. Christians can raise awareness by speaking out to these issues and also by taking action: adopting children, caring for pregnant mothers considering abortion, loving and providing for widows and elderly shutins.
è Give to missions for the cause of refugees and for those needing redemption.
– proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God
o Isaiah ministered to people who rejected God’s word and rebelled against God’s prophets. Isa 30:10-14 “For they are a rebellious people… unwilling to hear the instruction of the Lord; who say to the seers, ‘Do not see’, and to the prophets, ‘Do not prophesy to us what is right; speak to us smooth things, prophesy illusions, leave the way, turn aside from the path, let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel. Therefore… because you despise God’s word… this iniquity shall be to you like a breach in a high wall, bulging out and about to collapse, whose breaking comes suddenly, in an instant; and its breaking is like that of a potter’s vessel that is smashed so ruthlessly that among its fragments not a shard is found with which to take fire from the hearth or to dip up water out of the cistern.”
o Jesus’ reading of Isaiah 61:1-2 does not finish the entire sentence. The missing ending is “[He has sent me to proclaim] the day of vengeance of our God” The time to obey God’s mission of proclaiming God’s good news and favor is limited. Jesus’ first coming was to proclaim grace but his second coming will not be merciful but of judgment.
è Ultimately, Christians are called to speak of the grace and comfort available to those who receive Christ’s first coming; and we are called to speak of the judgment awaiting those who reject Him at the second coming of Christ. God’s people are heralds of this message (Isa 40:9).
è 2016 Christmas inviter cards…
è 2017 goal of each one reach one for Christ (individual and/or family – 84 family units). SPBC baptism goal of 20.
è 2017 goal of impacting 1 million people (projected ~550K)
o 1 Food container for MPNICA costs $4K… 272K x 2+
o Solar projectors with http://www.renewoutreach.com/ cost $3K … 50K
o Bible.com YouVersion App / Jesus Film App shared … 50 families x 10 = 5K
o BCMD (550+ churches) / NAMB (40K+ churches) / IMB (4K missionaries) … 100K
o MPNICA trip … 1000 x 5avg in household = 5K
o The Well …
o SPBC each one reach one household x 5avg impact…
è Don’t let the many you can’t help blind you to the few you can. Make a commitment to do for a few what you wish you could do for the many.
– comfort all who mourn (cf. Isa 40:1)
o beautiful headdress instead of ashes
o oil of gladness instead of mourning.
o garment of praise instead of a faint spirit
o oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified
- strong trees with deep roots
o build up ancient ruins
o raise up former devastations
o repair ruined cities, the devastations of many generations
A beautiful or glorious headdress would have been worn either by a bride (cf. Isa 61:10) or a priest (Ex 39:28; Ez 44:18); whereas ashes were a sign of mourning. Anointing with oil and dressing garments were symbolic of festive celebrations and pleasant circumstances. Identifying the people with oaks symbolized strong trees with deep roots. Likewise, the resulting impact of building and repairing cities and generations were descriptive of deep transformation from mourning to merriment.
God gives people a new name. God changes us and creates a new identity. He makes us what we would not be on our own. God is with us and enables us for His created purpose to inspire, influence, and impact the world around us for generations to come.
Illus: Missionary Tombstone: “In memory of John Geddie, D.D., born in Scotland, 1815, minister in Prince Edward Island seven years, Missionary sent from Nova Scotia to Aneiteum for twenty-four years. When he landed in 1848, there were no Christians here, and when he left in 1872 there were no heathen.”
è USA is at a pivot point where we can scatter and separate or we could possibly see signs and steps of moral and spiritual revitalization. The pivot point will have very, very little to do with who is in the White House but with what is happening among God’s house in local churches.
o Praying Psalm 85 / Isaiah 61:1-4, 57:15
o Participating in loving God, loving others, and leading generations
o Faith without works is dead (James 2); love in word & deed (1John 3)
è As we celebrate our coming Savior… what is Jesus bringing into your life? Salvation, Spiritual Growth…
 John D. Watts, Word Biblical Commentary (Isa 40:1).
 WBC. Isa 61:3.