Why Doesn't God Do Something?
A daily devotion for February 29th
The Year of the Lord’s Favor
61 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 brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
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 splendor.
4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins
and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
that have been devastated for generations.
5 Strangers will shepherd your flocks;
foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.
6 And you will be called priests of the Lord,
you will be named ministers of our God.
You will feed on the wealth of nations,
and in their riches you will boast.
7 Instead of your shame
you will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
you will rejoice in your inheritance.
And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,
and everlasting joy will be yours.
8 “For I, the Lord, love justice;
I hate robbery and wrongdoing.
In my faithfulness I will reward my people
and make an everlasting covenant with them.
9 Their descendants will be known among the nations
and their offspring among the peoples.
All who see them will acknowledge
that they are a people the Lord has blessed.”
10 I delight greatly in the Lord;
my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
11 For as the soil makes the sprout come up
and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness
and praise spring up before all nations.
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 brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor and the day of vengeance of our God... (Isaiah 61:1-2)
Luke's gospel records that Jesus went into the synagogue at Nazareth on one occasion, as was his custom, and asked for the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled it until he found the place where these words are written. Turning to this very spot, he read this passage about the Spirit coming upon him, anointing him, and that he was called to preach the gospel, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives, etc. He stopped reading in the middle of a sentence, after the comma following the words,
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor. Then he closed the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, sat down, and said,
This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your hearing.
Note carefully where he stopped reading. He did not go on to read,
and the day of vengeance of our God, because when he first came he introduced
the day of God's favor, the day when God withholds his judgment.
This is the answer to the question people are asking,
Why doesn't God do something? The answer is, because he is giving people everywhere a chance! When he starts judging, he will judge the whole world—everybody in it, without exception. Only those who have already bowed to his will will escape the penalty of that judgment. Then he will begin
the day of vengeance of our God, the phrase Jesus did not read that day in the synagogue. This comma has been called
the longest comma in history.
The year of the Lord's favor now covers almost two thousand years of time, but it will be followed by
the day of vengeance of our God.
Notice the contrast between
the year of his grace, and
the day of vengeance. God does not like vengeance. He does not delight in judgment. Isaiah calls it
his strange work. But it must be done eventually, though it will be kept as brief as possible. This is what prophecy records as
the time of the end.
Thank you, Father, for this honest and searching book. How beautifully it describes the program of history, much of which still lies unfulfilled; yet how marvelously I see you there, and begin to understand the majesty and the mercy of your Being. Help me to adjust my life accordingly, to come humbly and contritely before you to obtain the mercy I so desperately need.
Life Application: What is the astounding message Jesus preached, and to whom was He preaching 'the year of the Lord's favor'? Are we participating in His message of grace, peace and release from darkness? Do we leave the judgment of evil to God's sovereign plan and timing?
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Daily Devotion © 2014 by Ray Stedman Ministries. For permission to use this content, please review www.RayStedman.org/permissions. Subject to permission policy, all rights reserved.