In my mind, I know the fickleness of a mid-March warm spell. But I can’t help but feel rejuvenated. The snow has melted (for now), the air is fresh, birds are back in force, and the crocuses balance vibrant petals on their slender stalks.
As has often been the case in my lengthy stroll through Isaiah, God gives me a timely verse today:
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. (Isaiah 61:11)
This is the voice of the Anointed One, giving the second of two reasons why he delights greatly and rejoices in the Lord (vs.10). The first (also indicated by the word For) is that God has given him garments of salvation and arrayed him in a robe of his righteousness. This, my commentary tells me, is to be “commissioned and fitted to be Saviour.” (Motyer)
Jesus not only willingly accepts the task to save God’s people. He rejoices in it. He delights in the opportunity to right the wrong of sin and meet God’s righteous demand for payment.
As Hebrews 12: 2 explains: For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” To put it in today’s metaphor, he endured the harshness of winter for the joy of spring.
As I walk around my yard, the various buds and shoots are a welcome sight. I feel a small echo of the delight the Anointed One describes as the second reason for his rejoicing. To see what one has planted come alive is soul-satisfying.
Two things spring up in the verse above. Righteousness, a result of the saving work of God through his Son. And praise, the response of the saved ones. These both speak of transformed lives – and both bring delight to the Savior.
My delight today comes from the powerful promise: the Sovereign Lord will make. The older I get, the more I seem to wonder about how much I embody his righteousness and express his praise. In the words of the Anglican prayer of confession, I think about “what I have left undone.
I don’t discount my responsibility to respond and obey, but I’m greatly comforted by the concept that the soil makes the sprout come up. Ultimately, without the soil, the seed can never be transformed into a thriving plant. What righteousness springs up in my soul is wholly give to me by Christ.
Just before the quote above from Hebrews, the writer describes Jesus as “the author and finisher” or “the pioneer and perfecter” of our faith. Could we also say “the planter and picker”?
It’s an amazing thought that Jesus delights to see his righteousness sprout and bloom in our lives. Just as he planned.
Lord, use the delight we have in the emerging growth in our gardens remind us of the joy you feel in seeing your righteousness and praise blossom in our lives.
Reader: What’s your favorite early-spring sight?