Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Why Oaks Replanted?..............Part One

Around the same time we felt a stirring in our hearts for a facing a new challenge, a little lady prayed for us at a Women's Ministry event. After her prayer, she looked up at us and said something to the effect of, "You two are tall in stature like oaks and God will use you to call others to him, you're like oaks of righteousness". We never forgot that moment. Her words were beautiful, but the difference in height be her and us brought flashbacks from elementary school when I towered over everyone uncomfortably. But, the image of a strong, mighty, tall, visible oak tree seared in my mind.
A sturdy place with small and tender beginnings.
A covering and shelter for those that need protection.

I knew that we weren't righteous. We were and are just people. We have our bad days and our sinful scenarios, too. But I also knew we had a vision to see people know God and in our imperfectness, God's perfectness would shine through.

We spent the next several years thinking, processing, praying, and planning what this transition would look like. We weighed the sacrifice of leaving everything comfortable and familiar. We shared our hearts with each other and sometimes others around us. And when the moments of incredible fear overwhelmed me, someone would read the eleven verses of Isaiah 61 aloud. Every time. When I was scared or thinking of backing down from the task, this is what I heard:

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has tanointed me
to bring good news to the poor;1
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and uthe opening of the prison to those who are bound;2
vto proclaim the year of the Lord's favor,
wand the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
xto give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
ythe oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
zthat they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lordathat he may be glorified.3
bThey shall build up the ancient ruins;
they shall raise up the former devastations;
they shall repair the ruined cities,
the devastations of many generations.

cStrangers shall stand and tend your flocks;
foreigners shall be your plowmen and vinedressers;
dbut you shall be called the priests of the Lord;
they shall speak of you as the ministers of our God;
eyou shall eat the wealth of the nations,
and in their glory you shall boast.
fInstead of your shame there shall be a double portion;
instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot;
therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion;
they shall have everlasting joy.

gFor I the Lord love justice;
I hate robbery and wrong;4
hI will faithfully give them their recompense,
iand I will make an everlasting covenant with them.
Their offspring shall be known among the nations,
and their descendants in the midst of the peoples;
all who see them shall acknowledge them,
that they are an offspring the Lord has blessed.

10 jI will greatly rejoice in the Lord;
my soul shall exult in my God,
kfor he has clothed me with the garments of salvation;
he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself llike a priest with a beautiful headdress,
mand as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
11 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 nrighteousness and praise
to sprout up before all the nations.


Slowly, I began to believe it. I was always thankful for the reminders in my moments of doubt or fear. I began to believe that somehow God was going to make this miracle happen; that the poor would hear the good news, that the brokenhearted would be bound, that the captives would be set free, that mourners would be glad again, that righteousness would flourish- all in a land that historically was filled with people that held God close to their hearts. Could it really happen?

Thanks http://www.esvbible.org/Isaiah+61/ for the Bible passage. 

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