WordPress has deleted the text for today’s blog, my apologies to all who came looking for it. I cannot locate the lost text, and this is just a paraphrase of it! This text from Isaiah was my starting point.
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.
He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord’s favour has come, and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.
To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory.
Think about it, all of us who are so often aware only of our failure to obey and live lives which glorify God as we desire to do…
Here we are described as ‘like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory!’
I don’t know about you, but I don’t often feel much like a great oak, much more like a weedy sapling, with inadequate roots and little strength to hold up against the storms of life. My leaves are few, and there is little sign of fruit.
But it is in the righteousness we have that we are to be like these great trees – and what is the source of our righteousness? Jesus! It is because we have been healed, forgiven, given a purpose and identity in life by him, that we have any righteousness at all.
We are crowned with the beauty of adoption as God’s children, and clothed with the royal robes of Jesus’ perfection, and because of his obedience and sacrifice for us, we have received all we could possibly need.
It is his life in me which grows strong and tall, producing fruit and withstanding the storms. It is his perfection which is the beauty of the mature believer, and the only reason that our lives glorify God.
And it is for this purpose that we have been ‘planted’ by the Lord – wherever we are – so that Christ in us might shine out in all his loveliness and God be given all the glory for what we have become.
Perhaps I might be allowed to read something else into the picture which is not explicitly there – namely that oak trees take a very long time to mature! Our good and loving God knows that our growth to the beauty of full maturity cannot be rushed, and is patient with us – at times a very unpromising bunch of saplings..
One day, someday dear sisters and brothers, we shall indeed be like great oaks, breathtaking in the grandeur and majesty of their form, strong against every blast, and bearing abundant fruit. And like them, we shall glorify our God in everything we are and do. Until that day, we continue to hold fast to Christ as our righteousness, our hope, our very life, so that He might shape nurture us. To him be the glory, and praise, from even the spindliest of his plantings!