Tuesday, July 23, 2019

the display of His Splendor

artwork by Krista Hamrick

As I pondered this beautiful artwork by Krista Hamrick I felt led to do a word study based on Isaiah 61:3:

NIV: They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.

ESV: that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.

The Message: Rename them “Oaks of Righteousness” planted by God to display His glory.

NET: They will be called oaks of righteousness, trees planted by the Lord to reveal His splendor.

NLV: Then they will be called oaks that are right with God, planted by the Lord, that He may be honored.

Oaks of righteousness: The Hebrew word for “righteousness” is “tsedhāqāh” reflecting “honesty, integrity, liberation. It is righteous conduct that issues from a new heart.”

Righteousness tsedhāqāh conveys the idea of that which is straight and so one who is upright or righteous is one who walks a straight path. The root thought is that which conforms to an ethical or moral standard. The first use of tsedhāqāh in Genesis 15:6 is informative as it describes the righteousness that God decreed of Abram when he believed in the Lord and His promises. So the righteousness described here in Isaiah 61:3 is supernaturally (Spirit) enabled righteous thoughts, words, and deeds before God and before men. Tsedhāqāh can be used of all God's works in human history, all his victories on behalf of his people. Salvation is often paralleled with God's righteousness.

David calls upon God to deliver him in his righteousness. It was this kind of use of righteousness that captured Martin Luther's attention and led to his great breakthrough realization of the doctrine of salvation by grace. In his human thinking, Luther could not connect God's righteous expectations, over which he felt condemnation, with God's salvation. Living up to God's standard is not possible in ourselves. Finally, the truth came alive in Luther that God's righteousness not only means judgment on sin, but his gracious gift of the solution to the sin problem to all who repent of their sin and receive the gospel by faith. What human ability cannot do, God provides to those who turn to Him and acknowledge their need—both right standing and enablement to live in it. Isaiah pictured righteousness as God adorning us with a rich robe in his love for us (Isa. 61:10). The most familiar verse concerning righteousness, and the one quoted by Paul in Galatians 3:6, is Genesis 15:6, "[Abram] believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him as righteousness." By faith, Abraham had a right relationship with God; he fulfilled the Lord's expectations of his life. Christ came to set the captives free so “they may be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.”

Celebrate the fruit of righteousness that reaps honesty, integrity, and liberation in us. No matter what our strongholds have been, God can plant us deeply in His love, grow us by the water of His Word, and call us “oaks of righteousness.” We can be called persons of honesty, integrity, and liberation. From the definition, these results come only to those who have allowed God to create in each of them a new and clean heart. Strongholds can include self-righteousness, arrogance, and a judgmental spirit.

Display of His splendor:  The Hebrew word is the same for both the words “display” and “splendor,” it is “pa’ar,” which means “to embellish, beautify, adorn; to glorify; be glorified; to bring honor, give honor; to boast.” To display God’s splendor is to radiate His beauty. We are called to be the radiance of God’s beauty on this earth. To be a display of God’s splendor is to be someone God can boast about! The more we gaze on the beauty of the Lord as we seek Him in His temple, the more our lives absorb and radiate His splendor. A living and visible portrait of the beauty of God.

We fulfill the high calling to display His splendor when we reach up and fully receive the benefits He bowed low to give us. 

The first benefit of our covenant relationship with God is to know God and Believe Him (Isaiah 43:9). If you bask in knowing God and dare to believe Him, someone close by has seen truth through your witness whether or not you are aware of the effectiveness of your testimony. Without a doubt, the more you know God, the more you want to know God. The more time you spend with Him, the more you will yearn for Him. No one has to force a person who is intimately acquainted with God to be a living witness. Pray for a yearning for God that draws you over and over into His presence. A yearning that makes only a few days without time in prayer and His Word seem like an eternity. Pray for a heart that wants Him more than anything else He could give. Ask God to give you a heart to love Him and know Him more than anything in life. More than anything on earth, pray to know Him. It is not enough for you to know Him and believe Him, you will want everyone else to know Him, too! What He has made known to you, you will want to make re-known to everyone else. Pray for a heart that makes His Name and renown the desire of your heart! Pray to roll away the obstacle of unbelief which is revealed in our doubt, fear, worry, and discouragement.

The second benefit of our covenant relationship with God is to Glorify God (Isaiah 43:7) God’s glory is the way He makes Himself known or shows Himself mighty. When God seeks to glorify Himself through an individual, He proves who He is by causing the believer to be what is otherwise impossible and to do what is otherwise impossible. Pray each morning to have the Holy Spirit woo you once again to the place where you meet with God. The God of grace bows low and meets with us. In the simplicity of our prayer time, we can pray to be suddenly confronted by the majesty of our Redeemer, The One who is responsible for any good in us. Our past sins are forgiven and fresh mercies fall like manna from heaven. Once again, our heart is moved and we surrender all. Pray to roll away the obstacle of pride which is self-absorption, whether we are absorbed with how wonderful we are or how miserable we are, revealed in our self-focus, self-righteousness, self-sufficiency.

The third benefit of our covenant relationship with God is to find satisfaction in God (Isaiah 55:2) The satisfied soul is never a more beautiful display of God’s splendor than when willing to empty self for the lives of others. Pray to roll away the obstacle of idolatry which is putting any affection for anything else ahead of or instead of Jesus Christ. Pray Psalm 90:14 “Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.” Pastor John Piper has said, “God is most glorified in me when I am most satisfied in Him.”

The fourth benefit of our covenant relationship with God is to experience God’s peace (Isaiah 48:18 ) Peace is an eye-catching display of God’s splendor. The key to peace in each of our lives is to be submitted to God’s authority through obedience, a “long obedience in the same direction.” Joy will ultimately flow from obedience, and few things display God’s splendor any more appealingly than joy. Peace is the fruit of righteousness which, in essence, is obedience to God’s commands—the product of abiding in the vine. Joy will eventually flow from the fruit of peace produced by righteousness. Pray to roll away the obstacle of praylessness. Prayerless lives are powerless lives; prayerful lives are powerful lives. Peace is the fruit of authority—let the peace of Christ rule. Christ brings His peace where He is Prince—the Prince of Peace.

The fifth benefit of our covenant relationship with God is to enjoy God’s presence (Isaiah 43:2-3) What does scripture mean by the phrase “hope in the Lord’? The Hebrew word for “hope” (KJV, “wait upon”) is “qawah,” meaning “to bind together (by twisting)…to be gathered together, be joined, to meet; to be in wait for someone, to expect…to be confident, to be enduring.” If we want to keep a renewed strength to face our daily challenges or regain a strength that has faded, God’s Word tells us to draw so close to the presence of God we’re practically twisted to Him—to wrap ourselves so tightly around God that we end up automatically going where He’s going. Pray to roll away the obstacle of legalism with a heart which desires an intimate, personal relationship with my Lord Jesus Christ, not rules, regulations, and religion.

I discovered a wonderful acrostic memory tool for the word, “praise,
” which I have applied as a prayer format during my quiet time each morning and as I prayer-walk:
Praise
Repentance
Acknowledgement
Intercession
Supplication
Equipping

PRAISE: I begin my prayer time with praise. I repeat to God a few of the attributes the Scripture records for him. I sometimes repeat to Him the words to a hymn or worship chorus.  Philippians 4:6 says, “In everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” I incorporate thanksgiving into every aspect of my prayer time. As I praise Him, I thank Him for choosing to reveal Himself to me.

REPENTANCE: After I have spent several minutes in praise and worship, I enter a time of confession and repentance. I confess sins of the thought life such as wrong motives, negativism, a critical spirit, or even right words with a wrong heart. As I repent, I thank Him for His faithfulness to forgive my sins.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT: Having praised Him and been purified by Him, I am ready to submit to God’s authority. I acknowledge His right to rule and reign in my life every day. Then willingly and deliberately I submit myself to His Lordship—one day at a time. I deliberately surrender to His Lordship with my heart.  I acknowledge Him as Lord and thank Him for being so trustworthy with His authority.

INTERCESSION: I ask God to burden my heart with specific people He wants me to intercede for each day. As I intercede for others, I thank Him for being my Great High Priest and adding power to my petitions.

SUPPLICATION: I enter into a time of prayer for myself. God has called each of us to love Him, serve Him, and live holy lives. I can only know Him intimately when I bring Him my innermost thoughts, fears, hurts, gains, losses, and desires. I ask Him to give me a heart to love Him more and to fill any empty places in my heart with the safety of His love. In supplication for myself, I thank Him for knowing me intimately and desiring that I know Him.

EQUIPPING: I conclude my prayer time by asking Him to equip me in every way for a victorious day. I ask Him to give me eyes that “see” Him and ears sensitized to “hear” Him. I ask Him to give me a heart to respond when He opens a door of opportunity, and to empower me to witness as He leads. As I ask for equipping, I thank Him for never calling on me to do anything He will not readily equip me to accomplish.

During my study of scripture, I came to a place in my life where I wanted, more than anything else, to love God more. I began to pray, Lord, I want to delight in you! God is so inconceivably good. He’s not looking for perfection. He already saw it in Christ. He’s looking for affection. That’s why every lasting change will invariably be a change of heart. He’ll even supply the heart, if we’ll ask Him.

Lord Jesus, give me a heart which longs to be a planting of the Lord for the display of Your splendor. Give me a heart which yearns for Your Presence, a yearning for You that draws me over and over into Your Presence, a yearning that makes only a few days without time in prayer and Your Word seem like an eternity. Give me a heart which is motivated first and foremost by a desire for You, not for what You can do for me, but a yearning for Your Presence. Give me a heart that wants You more than anything else You could give, to love You and know You more than anything in life. Give me a heart that takes what You have made known to me and makes You re-known to everyone else, a heart that makes Your name and renown the desire of my heart. Give me a heart to feel Your Holy Spirit woo me once again to the place where I meet You. In the simplicity of my prayer time, give me a heart to be suddenly confronted by the majesty of my Redeemer—the One Who is responsible for any good in me. Lord, each morning, give me a heart that seeks Your forgiveness for past sins, and welcomes Your fresh mercies which fall like manna from Heaven, and once again move my heart. I surrender all. Morning after morning. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

Look Up—meditate on Isaiah 61:3 … pray to see what it reveals about the character of God.

Look In—as you meditate on Isaiah 61:3 … pray to see how you might apply it to your life. Be propelled to ask galvanizing questions about your discoveries: "Because God is_________, I will_____________."

Look Out—as you meditate on Isaiah 61:3  …pray to see how you might apply it to your relationships with others. Let the nature of God impact on every relationship, for your good, and for His glory.

* If you liked this post, you’ll love this book – Name Above All Names Devotional: Focusing on 26 Alphabetical Names of Christ


16 comments:

  1. The artwork is beautiful and it's good to read your reflections on this verse, Love the PRAISE acronym too!

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    1. Lesley, thanks so much for stopping by! Many blessings to you ❤️

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  2. Beth,
    It's been awhile since I've had time to stop by your place. I am ALWAYS blessed when I do. I love the way you expound upon a verse and look at the original Greek or Hebrew wording. So many good takeaways, but I am reminded that the only way I can be righteous or have righteous thoughts and actions is to be supernaturally enabled. If I am in the vine, He enables me; apart from Him I can do nothing. So glad I stopped by!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

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    1. Bev, it is so good to hear from you! Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving such encouraging comments. Many blessings to you!

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  3. Beautiful verse and beautifully illustrated!! I need to get back into coloring the Bible Verses. It’s very soothing.

    Thank you for all the time you put into the meaning of these words!

    Blessings!
    Laurie

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    1. Laurie, it is a joy for me to share with others what our Lord and Savior Jesus has used to encourage me. Many blessings to you ❤️

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  4. I love that verse! Thank you for sharing so much related information! I need to go back and take another look. There is so much to chew on! I love digging deep into God's Word! It is so satisfying and rich!

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    1. Cheryl, I so agree with you about how satisfying it is to dive deep into God's Word--He meets us there, doesn't He? Thanks so much for stopping by. Many blessings to you!

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  5. There is SO much to aspire to in the truth of this verse.

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    1. Thank you, Michele. God's Word truly is alive and active, isn't it? Many blessings to you, friend!

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  6. wow to be planted so that we can show off God's splendor!

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    1. Hi Sue! Thanks so much for stopping by. Many blessings to you!

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  7. Such a wonderful post Beth, how wonderful for us to radiate His love.

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by...many blessings to you!

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  8. Oh, I gleaned so much encouragement and edification here today! I LOVE your acrostic memory tool and how you spend that time each day doing all of those things. I know your intercessions have included my family and me so many times, and I will never forget the times you have emailed such powerfully anointed prayers over us. I will never be able to thank you enough, dear friend. Much love and gratitude to God and to you today!

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    1. Cheryl, it is such a blessing to share our hearts with precious sisters in Christ, like you. Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving such a kind and encouraging comment. Many blessings to you and your sweet family!

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