The last part of Isaiah is glorious. The focus is on God’s Holy Servant, the Messiah. And the subject matter has more to do with restoration and reconciliation than repentance and restitution. More to do with the hope of the future than the sins of the past. Focused on what awaits and forgetting what lies behind.
The opening words of Isaiah 61 are Messiah’s words, Jesus claiming them for Himself on that Sabbath in the synagogue when He read from the scroll of the prophet:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” ~ Jesus
(Luke 4:18-19 ESV)
And the prophet goes on to reveal more of the blessings associated with the year of the Lord’s favor through the Messiah. He speaks of the rebuilding and repair of the glorious city of God, and of the reclaiming and renown of the glorious people of God. Of beautiful head-dresses replacing ashes of repentance; of an anointing with an oil of gladness which washes away the soaking by tears they had known for so long; of garments of praise displacing their spirit of heaviness.
And amidst the “thus saith of the LORD”, Isaiah himself has to break in with his own commentary as he sees this vision of the future, speaking on behalf of all who would know the blessing of the Lord’s favor through the work of the Lord’s Servant. And as I chew on this spontaneous eruption of praise, I notice it springs forth from being clothed and covered.
I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation; He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
(Isaiah 61:10 ESV)
I will sing for joy in GOD, explode in praise from deep in my soul (MSG). I am overwhelmed with joy (NLT) . . . as I look at myself in the mirror of God’s promises and take in the raiment tailored just for me.
Clothed with the garments of salvation. Covered with the robe of righteousness. As a bridegroom all decked out for that glorious day. Or, as a bride adorned so as to enhance her natural features with resplendent beauty. Clothed and covered. Such am I through the love of the Father, the finished work of the Son, and the power of the Spirit.
Arrayed in salvation. My sins atoned for on the cross. The debt paid in full. The wrath justly deserved for my rebellion poured out on the Lamb of God. Christ’s, “Father forgive them” applied to this sinner who didn’t know what he was doing. The stain removed. The rags put away once for all. And in their place, by His grace, the garments of salvation. I am clothed.
What’s more I am enveloped with the robe of righteousness. My sins gone, His holiness imputed. My mantle, the spotless nature of the Christ. Able to stand confidently before the throne of the Father, fully justified, as I’m presented before Him in the Son. Dressed in layers as the garment of salvation is enhanced with the undeserving robe of righteousness. I am covered.
To be clothed would be enough to greatly rejoice in Jehovah. But to be covered too? Well, that blows the top off as we exult in our God.
Clothed and covered. That’s this guy. You as well?
Then let us sing for joy . . . explode in praise . . . and be overwhelmed by such undeserved blessing.
Such is the reality of His abundant grace.
Such should be our response for His ever-deserving glory.