I have found myself having a few conversations this week about the significance of the Oak Trees spoken about in Isaiah 61. This is a well-known passage and the mandate to which Jesus refers in his proclamation in the temple as he begins His ministry on earth.
It goes like this …
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendour.
This is a mandate for us too!
Sometimes we ask questions like …What should I be doing for God? How does God want to use my gifts? Am I enough?
Jesus embraced fully His mandate for His ministry for the time He walked this earth before he died and was resurrected ultimately to join His Father in Heaven. He knew who He was and was secure in His identity and ultimately the cost that this meant.
We too have limited time on earth to live authentic lives anointed by God to bless those who we ‘do life’ with, that they could know beauty instead of ashes, joy instead of mourning, praise instead of despair and that we and they might also be like the Oaks of righteousness set apart for Gods Splendour. Oaks that provide shade and shelter, reflecting the beauty and strength and life found in relationship with God!
We can only be like the Oaks referred to in this passage by knowing our identity in God. When we walk secure in who we were created to be, we can know God’s anointing to be one of His proclaimers of faith, someone who brings mercy and comfort in practical and spoken ways to those who are grieving, in physical or emotional pain, or in captivity and ultimately, the best version of ourselves!
This is a mandate for us as individuals and also for us as church .. We can start by accepting who we are made to be and all the potential God sees in us, individually and as church, to, with His help, fulfil all of that!!
“God cannot anoint an unauthentic version of yourself” Christine Caine