Anybody know what a “ram of righteousness” is? Well, I wondered, too. In this last post on the subject of WHY I am thinking I became an artist, the verse in Isaiah 61:3 finishes with these words:
“that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.”
So in the process of asking myself why I do what I do, I now see that God tells us His “Why”. He desires that our healed lives bring Him glory.
Across Frozen Fields, 10×13 watercolor by Elise, March 2017, available
The word for “tree” here, in Hebrew, can also mean “ram”. What in the world is a “Ram of righteousness?!” My concordance goes on to explain it’s like a twisted rams horn, for a twisted horn is stronger than a straight one.
In battle, the strength of a ram’s horn is probably important for coming out on the other side in one piece and winning the battleground.
The Jerusalem Bible version says, “They are to be called ‘terebinths of integrity’, planted by Yahweh to glorify him.
A terebinth is an old word for an oak tree. Old oak trees are often twisted and battle-scarred, having weathered and stood through many, many storms.
The Snow Swing – 5×7, watercolor by Elise, 2017, the old oak tree outside my studio window, Private Collection
The word for “righteousness” here can mean integrity or prosperity.
So, I’m thinking someone who has suffered greatly, and then experienced healing from their losses, grief and despondency can come out of the fires shining like gold!
They can go from sorrowful weakness to great strength and “strong prosperity”!
Such a hope-filled passage!
I’m reminded of the “coup-fourré” card in the game, Milles Bornes. Where you are under great strain but suddenly, you have the protection you need and the tables are turned!
I am reminded of the testimonies of Joseph, Job, David, and many others.
This passage goes on to say in verse four, “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.”
Light Splayed Out watercolor by Elise, March 2017 Private Collection
Build, raise, repair. Verbs which connote taking action!
It takes skill, strength, vision, courage, resources and perhaps even funds to do these “reparations”.
And so, loss in life often leads to our gain. Sorrow to joy. Ugliness to great beauty.
Spring Thaw, 14×22 watercolor from March 2017 by Elise, available
I desire that the work of my hands and heart would inspire our present-day culture to go in the direction of repairing broken places, shattered hearts, and ruined lives. May it be so!
With love, your faith-full painting-friend,
|One Little Tree with Lowering Clouds, 1/2-sheet watercolor (15×22) by Elise, March 2017, available|
Isaiah 61:1-7 from The Message:
The Spirit of God, the Master, is on me
because God anointed me.
He sent me to preach good news to the poor,
heal the heartbroken,
Announce freedom to all captives,
pardon all prisoners.
God sent me to announce the year of his grace—
a celebration of God’s destruction of our enemies—
and to comfort all who mourn,
To care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion,
give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes,
Messages of joy instead of news of doom,
a praising heart instead of a languid spirit.
Rename them “Oaks of Righteousness”
planted by God to display his glory.
They’ll rebuild the old ruins,
raise a new city out of the wreckage.
They’ll start over on the ruined cities,
take the rubble left behind and make it new.
You’ll hire outsiders to herd your flocks
and foreigners to work your fields,
But you’ll have the title “Priests of God,”
honored as ministers of our God.
You’ll feast on the bounty of nations,
you’ll bask in their glory.
Because you got a double dose of trouble
and more than your share of contempt,
Your inheritance in the land will be doubled
and your joy go on forever.