Monday, January 15, 2018

Focus. 2018 - Post 7

If you have been following this blog you should have a good sense of what is written in Isaiah 58. It is not a long chapter but loaded with revelation about God Himself; not only His priorities but what is behind those priorities. What we see is an intense hatred for anything that brings bondage and captivity in the lives of those He created for freedom. When God speaks through Isaiah to call for a fast that He has chosen, He reveals His true heart of love: Loosen the bonds, undo the bands, break every yoke and let the oppressed go free. We must understand this about our Heavenly Father if we are to walk with Him in this world. It is a passion for Him.

That is why we read scriptures in the New Testament that say, "It is for freedom that Christ set you free, therefore, keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery" (Galatians 5:1), and, "Now the Lord is a Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom" (2 Corinthians 3:17).

One of the primary purposes for Jesus to bring the Kingdom God (His rule and reign) was to set people free from the brutal regime of Satan's oppression. "He came to destroy the works of the devil" (1 John 3:8). Peter declared to a group of gentiles in Acts 10:38, "You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and power and how He went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed of the devil, for God was with Him." One of the great joys of reading the gospels is to see all the stories of how Jesus released heaven's provision for freedom to thousands of the sick, the demonized, the poor, the broken, the estranged, the religious proud, and those who had no hope. And ultimately He breaks the power of death and judgement over all of us who would receive Him, removing the yoke of orphan as He gives the right to become sons and daughters of God.

Jesus was the ultimate fulfillment of Isaiah 58. But it was not by starting a social justice group or food bank or any other organized relief program to help people get a leg up in life. He revealed the true means of fulfilling God's heart for the oppressed when he took the scroll in the synagogue in Nazareth that was handed to Him to read. He found Isaiah 61. We see in Luke 4 that He began to read to the people a passage that they all knew and had longed to see fulfilled in their nation, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor, He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord." After He read all of Isaiah 61 he sat down in the seat of the teacher and declared, "This prophecy/promise of God for which you have been waiting, is NOW FULFILLED in your hearing!"

The ministry of Jesus is explained by Isaiah 61. And Isaiah 61 was the answer to God's call to the people in Isaiah 58! Isaiah 58-61 were all tied together. The answer to setting people free from yokes that had come through Satan's kingdom of darkness was the anointing of the Spirit of God upon a people who would carry the heart of God within them by His Spirit resting on them. Freedom and liberty, release of captives and those in bondage would be the very nature of those who were in Christ and filled with the Spirit.

And this is why Jesus told His disciples in John 14:12, "Whoever has faith in Me, the works I do, He shall also do, and even greater works than these." They would also receive this same Spirit that was on Jesus as a Son. And wherever they went this anointing would break out through them to set captives free. And we see a description of the early church in Acts 4:34, "For there was not a needy person among them... and the people held them in high esteem...but even carried their sick out into the streets to be healed" by the church. Wow! That is called releasing freedom and hope to a city and nation!

As we look into 2018, can we seek the Lord for more of His Spirit to be upon us? Can we be determined to carry the anointing of God and gain His heart for releasing captives and breaking yokes? Can we expect that we will see resources in our hands multiplied to feed thousands? Let's do this!

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