5 Strangers will stand and pasture your flocks, And foreigners will be your farmers and your vinedressers.
6 But you will be called the priests of the Lord;
You will be spoken of as ministers of our God.
You will eat the wealth of nations,
And in their riches you will boast.
7 Instead of your shame you will have a double portion,
And instead of humiliation they will shout for joy over their portion.
Therefore they will possess a double portion in their land,
Everlasting joy will be theirs.
8 For I, the Lord, love justice,
I hate robbery in the burnt offering;
And I will faithfully give them their recompense
And make an everlasting covenant with them.
9 Then their offspring will be known among the nations,
And their descendants in the midst of the peoples.
All who see them will recognize them
Because they are the offspring whom the Lord has blessed.
10 I will rejoice greatly in the Lord,
My soul will exult in my God;
For He has clothed me with garments of salvation,
He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness,
As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland,
And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
11 For as the earth brings forth its sprouts,
And as a garden causes the things sown in it to spring up,
So the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise
To spring up before all the nations.
Isaiah 61 emphasizes God’s redemption and restoration of His exiled people and the city of Jerusalem.
The chapter reveals that one day God would send His anointed Messenger of good news to establish a new covenant community. That community, in turn, would take up the priestly mission of glorifying God before all the nations of the world.
Here the prophet broke into a hymn of exuberant praise to the Lord. He did so in response to the revelation of the coming Messiah-Servant (61:1-3), the promise that both Jerusalem and the covenant community would be rebuilt and renewed (61:4-7), and the Lord’s declaration of faithfulness to His people (61:8-9).
Just as Isaiah foresaw the glorious return of the exiles to a rebuilt Jerusalem and a renewed covenant community, his vision foreshadows the building up of the church as the body of Christ in the here and now (see Eph. 4:15-24) as well as the “new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband” (Rev. 21:2) in the eternal life to come.
- In the Old Testament, God promised that His covenant people would be “ministers of God” (see Isaiah 61:6). In what ways do Christians serve today as ministers?
- How important is it to you that God loves justice (61:8)? How can you, as a follower of Jesus, show that you love justice, too?
Thank Him for calling and equipping believers to be His gospel messengers at this time in history. Commit to obey Christ’s commission to tell the lost about the gospel wherever He leads.