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September 25, 2016
“The Everlasting Covenant”
Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11
PDF Lesson Print Out is now Located at the Bottom of the Lesson. Please Scroll Down, Click and Enjoy! Blessings.
Please Note: All lesson verses and titles are based on International Sunday School Lesson/Uniform Series ©2013 by the Lesson Committee, but all content/commentary written within is original tounless properly quoted/cited. As always you are encouraged to do your own studies as well. Blessings!)
I know we’ve all seen the episode more than once in our life. At some point during a television show or movie somebody reaches into the refrigerator to grab milk. Upon trying to drink it or pour it into cereal big clumps of white goopy stinky stuff comes out. At this point it’s not exactly fit for consumption. It has gone past its expiration date and somebody failed to dispose of it properly.
That’s how things are in this life. There is an expiration date on everything. Food or life, you name it and everything has a point of coming to an end. Even the Bible tells us, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away,” (Matthew 24:35). Everything will serve its proper time and when time is up – no more. It will be gone, except for the Word of God; except for His covenant.
God’s promises, which are His covenants, let us know that God is still sovereign in spite of it all. God is still ruling from His throne though one may feel spent at the storms that are raging. God’s covenant lets us know that God still cares about us and He is still looking out for us, even when our own sinful nature gets in the way of His perfect plan.
The original audience to whom Isaiah spoke the words of today’s lesson were to be future captives (we explained this a few lessons back on how he prophesied over 100 years prior to the children of Israel going into captivity). At this point their iniquities have separated them from God (see Isaiah 59:1-2) and although God had to punish the people, He was not done with the His people. They still had hope for their future. God was still in a covenant with them, and unlike the fallible things of this world, His covenant would not spoil (compare Genesis 9:12).
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, would be the ultimate fulfiller of this Messianic message. This portion of Scripture some refer to as one of the Servant’s songs underlying the future ministry of Jesus Christ, in whom God’s everlasting covenant would be perfectly completed.
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;
To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.
And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.”
The prophet’s calling to comfort the captives would be Jesus’ life fulfilling mission on earth (and beyond) when He declared some 700 years later these very words about Himself (see Luke 4:14-21).
“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me.” When John baptized Jesus it was evident that this was the Son of God by a sign that was given him. John 1:32-34 says, “And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.”
Anything done for God must be done through the power of the Spirit. Jesus was the prophesied Servant of Isaiah 42:1 whom God declared, “I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment unto the Gentiles.” Zechariah 4:6 declares, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.” Jesus’ Messianic ministry on earth was infused with power from heaven. Acts 10:38 notes, “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.” With that power He was able to heal and show evidence that He was the Son of God indeed (see John 20:30-31).
Another note of point, Jesus did not “get” the Spirit at the time of His baptism. Jesus has always been fully God, meaning endowed with the Spirit, and fully man at the same time.
“The LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek.” God had good news for afflicted and broken souls everywhere. Jesus Christ, the Anointed One (the Messiah), would preach the ultimate message of deliverance through His death on the cross.
In the New Testament language of Luke 4:18 from which Jesus is quoting this portion of Isaiah, we see the use of the word “gospel” instead of “good tidings” which is still translated as “Good News;” and we see “poor” used instead of “meek” but still with the similar meaning.
As part of His ministry, Jesus would proclaim the Good News or the “gospel” to the poor. The poor were often overlooked and not afforded many opportunities in Jesus’ day, but here they would hear the “gospel.” Let’s take it a step further out of the realm of finances and apply this to the spiritually “poor.” Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,” (Matthew 5:3; see also Matthew 11:5).
“He hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted.” Another one of our favorite verses coming from the Bible comes from the mouth of Jesus Himself (see Luke 4:18). If we remember, Jesus taught in John 14:1, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.” Only He who is the mender of the broken heart can command faith to not be troubled by the circumstances that arise in this life. He knew what He was to face and yet still works to calm the wearied and worn.
How much more for us today? Psalm 34:18 tells us, “The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart . . .” Psalm 147:3 says, “He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.” Part of Servant’s ministry would be to comfort and heal the brokenness in people.
“To proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.” God is in the freeing business. Physically, spiritually, emotionally – God wants His people to be free in Him and the Servant, the Lord Jesus Christ, would be that chain breaker once and for all.
He would be the deliverer of all captives in every situation in life, particularly over sin. He will not just proclaim there is a way out to experience this open door of liberty; He will not just prophesy about it, but He will go to the cross and through the nails and piercing provide the freedom the hurting and bound soul need.
“To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.” This has been come to be known in association as the Year of Jubilee. It was a time of great rejoicing. It was a time when all debts were cancelled and people and lands were restored back to their original owners. For us, it stands as a symbol of what Jesus would complete on the cross. For all those who believe on Him and accept Him as their personal Savior; to them that receive and accept His atoning sacrifice was for them, Jubilee occurs. All debts of sin are then cancelled as they are washed in the blood of the Lamb. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord,” (Romans 6:23).
In that coming day, not only God’s redeemed people Israel, but all who are in Christ Jesus would surely know what it is to rejoice in that ultimate fulfilling of the Year of Jubilee.
After reading this portion, Jesus stopped quoting from Isaiah on this subject. The rest that follows will not be fulfilled until He returns a second time.
“And the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn.” This portion of Isaiah’s prophesies would not be fulfilled by Jesus until His second coming. This is a foundational truth. Jesus will come back again and “The LORD of hosts will have a day of reckoning Against everyone who is proud and lofty And against everyone who is lifted up, That he may be abased,” (Isaiah 2:12; NASB). 2 Thessalonians speaks of the “vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ,” (1:8).
That day is coming faster and faster as time moves on. The Bible warns, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first . . . Wherefore comfort one another with these words,” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18).
And, comfort is what Isaiah prophesies to be a marker of the ministry of the Messiah. When Jesus comes back everyone will know that the true King as arrived! Some will dread His arrival (as noted above) and some will find hope when He erases the pain of mourning.
“To give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.” When Job mourned his children and the tragic situations that had overtaken his life, he was found sitting among the ashes (see Job 2:8). When the widow of Nain was making her way to bury her son, there was no reason for joy. Weeping nights were her companion until Jesus stepped up and gave her a reason for joy, saying to her, “Weep not,” and to him that was dead “Young man, I say unto thee, Arise,” (see Luke 7:11-16). Only the prophesied Servant can take every ounce of the “heaviness” of this world and give us a reason to “praise!”
He takes away all the bad, all the tragic, and all the crying and replaces it with the good! All the devastating effects of sin and mess on this world, He carried it away and gives us joy instead! He takes all the wrongs in life and can make them into something beautiful! All through Jesus!
“That they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.” I often share with you some of my favorites from Psalms and here is another one. “The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those who are planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God,” (92:12-13; NKJV, see also Psalm 1:3).
Although the trees captured in this imagery in Isaiah can be compared more to the solid, mighty oak the idea is still the same: planted people flourish and God has a promise for His people that His name might be glorified: “They shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing, To declare that the LORD is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him,” (Psalm 92:14-15; NKJV).
“And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.” There will be a measure of restoration of cities when the Jews return from Babylonian captivity (Isaiah’s original audience), but as with all others mentions of this Servant, the fullness of this prophesy is not yet come (compare Isaiah 58:12; see also Amos 9:11-15; Acts 15:15-17 which is seen as being fulfilled in Jesus Christ).
“For I the LORD love judgment, I hate robbery for burnt offering; and I will direct their work in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.
And their seed shall be known among the Gentiles, and their offspring among the people: all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the LORD hath blessed.
I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with jewels.
For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.”
If you read Isaiah 61:5-7 (not in today’s text) there you will see more blessings poured out in the life of God’s restored people, Israel. Isaiah 61:7, right before our next portion of verses, states, “For your shame ye shall have double; and for confusion they shall rejoice in their portion: therefore in their land they shall possess the double: everlasting joy shall be unto them,” (emphasis mine). God is seen as turning their situation around and blessing them with “double.”
Between that stated “everlasting joy” of verse 7 and the “everlasting covenant” of verse 8, God uses “I” in reference to Himself four times to let they and us know that He is not only the author of said promises, but in that He lets us know what He likes, what He doesn’t like, and how He operates in the life of His people.
“For I the LORD loveth judgment.” God is faithful and the fulfiller of all that is right and just (because He is just) and desires people to follow the same course. He has always loved and supported those who operate fairly toward one another as He does toward each of us. Proverbs says, “To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice,” (21:3). This is the life that pleases God the most, and a life that pleases Him will be covered under that everlasting covenant. For God’s end, God will faithfully perform His promises to His redeemed people. They can count on that.
Opposite of that, our lesson tells us, “I hate robbery for burnt offering.” All the workers of iniquity (the reference for burnt offering here); all those who relish in sin and whose works oppose the just life God loves, will not be found covered under the everlasting covenant. God hates that stuff! Every man will answer for his own sin. Those who fought against God’s people unjustly will be repaid their “just desserts.”
Mankind has no excuses. “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God?” (Micah 6:8; emphasis mine). God has already showed that He is looking for a life that does right and loves like He loves: with justice. All others are subject to incur the wrath of God, especially the evil nations that have risen against His people.
“I will direct their work in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.” For the faithful and redeemed of God’s people, God’s reward is up ahead because, “he is faithful that promised,” (Hebrews 10:23; see also 1 Corinthians 1:9). They will be under an everlasting covenant! “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him . . .” (2 Chronicles 16:9). Psalms declares that the Lord will preserve the faithful (Psalm 31:23). They have a reward in glory! Jeremiah 32:40 says, “And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.”
For the faithful, God’s covenant, which is secured in Jesus Christ the Servant presented in Isaiah, has no expiration date! It’s an everlasting covenant!
“Their seed . . . and their offspring . . . the LORD hath blessed.” The redeemed remnant of God’s people Israel will be blessed and be recognized as being blessed by all. Many may stand in opposition of that nation today but Isaiah 65:23 tells us, “They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the LORD, and their offspring with them.”
Under that covering of recognized blessings will be the believing Gentiles who have been grafted into this family of faith (see Romans 11:11-24; see also God’s promise to Abraham in Genesis 12:3). Through the years God’s people will have suffered much (think of their captivity and more atrocities through the ages), but in end the faithful believers will be blessed ones!
Praise and joy shall be found on the lips of these blessed redeemed for God has taken away the shame of sin and has “clothed me with the garments of salvation” and “covered me with the robe of righteousness.” This is the same imagery we see in Revelation when we see the “wife” (representative of the church) who made herself ready for the marriage of the Lamb, “to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints,” (see Revelation 19:7-8). This also supports the remainder of Isaiah 61:10 describing the “bridegroom” and the “bride” who are adorned in the best heaven has to offer to celebrate that great coming day.
“For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth.” Seeds are planted with the purpose of seeing them “spring forth” and come to fruition; to see growth; produce; fulfillment. So too, will be the covenant between God and His people. It will be fulfilled!
When the fruition of the day is complete there will be praise from God’s people. “The Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.”
In Luke 4, after reading from portions of Isaiah we referenced earlier, Jesus closed the book and said, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears,” (Luke 4:21). Jesus Christ is the ultimate fulfiller of the everlasting covenant. If you remain in Jesus Christ, you remain under the covenant.
Challenging times may come, but as I stated from the Psalms earlier, “Those who are planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God,” (Psalm 92:13, NKJV). The redeemed will be secured under the everlasting covenant of God forever.
(Click here for PDF: The Everlasting Covenant Sunday School Lesson, or simply click the print button below. Enjoy!)
Below are activities to support this week’s lesson. Enjoy!
Isaiah 61 Memory Match Covenant Sayings Game: Isaiah 61 Memory Match Covenant Sayings (Simply print on cardstock (I used colored for fun), mix up, and have students find the match. This exercise will help them to remember some of the covenant promises we get with Jesus.
Draw the Scene: The Everlasting Covenant Draw the Scene
Memory Verse: The Everlasting Covenant Memory Verse
Below are Activities/Links/Resources to support this week’s lesson. Enjoy!
For Jesus’ part in Isaiah’s prophesy from Luke 4:
“Jesus Teaching in the Synagogue Coloring Page” (older kids)
“Luke 4 Coloring Page” (younger kids)
“God’s Promise Fulfilled” (All kinds of activities, printables and group activities. Enjoy!)
“Jesus Has A Special Place in God’s Plan” (You have to scroll down pages until you get to Jesus Has a Special Place in God’s Plan to reach the activities here. Enjoy!)
Jesus’ Second Coming Activities:
“As a Thief in the Night” Activities and Coloring from Calvary Curriculum
“Jesus’ Second Coming/Ascension” Coloring Page from Free Christian Coloring Pages
“Jesus’ Second Coming” Coloring Page from Abdaacts (suited more to older children)
“Jesus’ Second Coming” Coloring Page from Daniel Revelation Bible Studies
“The Second Coming” Activities and Coloring from Calvary Curriculum
“Jesus’ Return to Earth” Coloring from Christiananswers.net
“Create – A – Crown” Craft from Crayola.com
“The Day and Time Not Known” from Missionarlington.org
“When is Jesus Coming Back” from Missionarlington.org
“Jesus is Coming Again” Activities and Coloring from Sermons4kids
“Craft Ideas on the Second Coming” from Ehow.com
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