Sunday, January 29, 2023

ONE IF BY BONDAGE, TWO IF BY BLOOD - Isaiah 61 Devotional #25

"... The LORD has anointed Me ... To console those who mourn in Zion ... And [I] will make with them an everlasting covenant."
– Isaiah 61:1b-8d
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"Paul Revere, Jr. Spoon Sets World Record in $2.4 Million Fine Silver Auction!" screamed the headline for a May 28, 2021 press release. Which continued with this opening paragraph:

"Adrenaline remained high throughout Heritage Auctions' eight-hour Fine Silver & Objects of Vertu Auction May 20, as one great collection followed the last. The room was electrified from the onset of the sale as an auction record was set for a single American silver spoon by America's most famous silversmith, Paul Revere, Jr. ... with the auction flying past its high estimate to reach $2,433,894."
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Impressive!  But what do we really know about Paul Revere?  

Most of us envision this hero of the Revolution, immortalized in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's ballad "Paul Revere's Ride," galloping through New England towns at midnight shouting his cry of alarmsomething like: "The British are coming! The British are coming!"  
Actually, he didn't shout at all.  Though his mission was indeed to alert the townspeople, the ride itself was intentionally silent, since the countryside was crawling with Redcoats.  

But Paul Revere was undeniably larger than life.  Perhaps even prophetic, like the "Men of Issachar" mentioned in I Chronicles 12:32, who "understood the times and knew what Israel should do."  Born on New Year's Day 1735, Revere took an active role at age 40 in the birth of a new nationjoining the Sons of Liberty, participating in the Boston Tea Party and, of course, undertaking his famous Midnight Ride.
On the other hand, those of us who are Antiques Roadshow junkies will be more familiar with his extraordinary Colonial-period silver work such as the spoon mentioned abovefine articles that are still with us today, consistently netting six and seven figures at black-tie auction houses.  

What we may not know is that Paul Revere largely abandoned his silversmithing after the war in order to do ... so much more!  He established an iron and brass foundry which supplied, among other things, material for building the U.S.S. Constitution ("Old Ironsides").  He opened a hugely successful copper rolling mill. (Think ... Revere Ware!)

OK, but what does this all have to do with our Isaiah 61 devotional series?

We have previously been examining the quadrilateral verse 8 from all angles: "[1] For I, the Lord, love justice; [2] I hate robbery for burnt offering; [3] I will direct their work in truth...." We've had a glimpse at the infinite depths of our Father's love, Who hates sin and injustice, and Who summons his "Blessed Mourners"deep calling to deepto carry on His Isaiah 61 commission in SPIRIT and TRUTH.  But for this divine plan to become reality requires a NEW CONTRACT with mankind.  Which brings us to the fourth and final facet: "And [I] will make with them an everlasting covenant."  

Back to Paul Revere for a moment.  Notice that headline, which begins with "Paul Revere, Jr."  

Paul Revere, Jr."our" Paul Reverewas born in 1735 to a Frenchman, Apollos Rivoire, who changed his name to Paul Revere upon immigrating to America.  Paul Revere Sr.himself a fine goldsmith and silversmithproceeded to indenture his son at the age of 13 as an apprentice in his own Boston shop.  Then, in 1754, as the young man was almost finished his apprenticeship, the father passed away, which suddenly elevated Paul Revere, Jr. to the position of de facto head of the family and legal owner of the family silversmith business.

The change was subtle, and yet profound.  Think about it.  As a 13-year-old, and even (toward the end) a 19-year-old apprentice in his father's business, Paul Jr. was quite likely an exceptional craftsman, but a wage-earning employee nonetheless.  His apprenticeship contract (indenture) gave him no right to make business decisions; it instilled in him no feeling of partnership, vision, or passion for the business.

But with the father's passing, all of that changed.  There would have been a will and testament that superseded, and rendered obsolete, the apprenticeship indenture, and which now established Paul Revere, Jr. as the new owner, the HEIR.  Now he could DO THINGS.  Now he would WANT TO DO THINGS.
Before, though he was a son, the working relationship was one of BONDAGE: employer and employee.  Now it was one of BLOOD: family, responsibility, and LOVE.  He went on to accomplish even greater things than making fine silver spoons and tea sets; he started some of the greatest American metallurgical enterprises.  Why?  Because now his HEART was in it!

"Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all, but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father!" Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ."
(Galatians 4:1-7 NKJV)

That says it all, HALLELUJAH!  

But to further impress on our hearts the glorious truth of His EVERLASTING COVENANT, which is so transcendently superior to the Old Covenant that it renders it obsolete, our Lord further articulates it for us in the book of Hebrews:

"For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second.  Because finding fault with them, He says: 'Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah--not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord. 
"For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.  None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, "Know the Lord," for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them.  For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.'  In that He says, 'A new covenant,' He has made the first obsolete.  Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away."
(Hebrews 8:7-13, NKJV)

Why not pray ...  

"Dear Father,
THANK you for calling me, deep unto deep, to join your Isaiah 61 'Blessed Mourners.'  Help me comprehend the length and width and height and depth of your new and EVERLASTING COVENANT.  Write your law upon my heart and baptize me afresh daily in your Holy Spirit until I live, breathe, and radiate your love to everyone you send my way.
In Jesus' name. Amen."

Originally published as a “Bradstix” devotional on the National Minute of Prayer Facebook page 1/29/2023.

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