“to herald good tidings to the meek”
These words should immediately bring to mind the language of the angels in proclaiming the good news before the shepherds (Luke 2:10). Indeed it was the role of the angels to proclaim the birth of the one who would bring such good news and glad tidings to the world—who would emboss onto the history of mankind the great hope and promise of redemption that would be brought by this Jesus. In Christ, men and women no longer need to live in darkness and fear, but could dwell forever in Christ’s marvelous light. Indeed, there are no better tidings than the reality that God has come into the world to dwell with men, to bear the sins of those whose faith is in him, and to face the mighty wrath of God on behalf of his own. The one who needed no redeeming came to earth, took on flesh to identify with us as his people, and did the mighty work of redemption on behalf of we who needed redeeming, yet could not even begin to do that work on our own.
And it is important to see the way in which this message of good tidings is proclaimed to those who are meek. It’s root is the word rv;B’ (bashar), which means, “to bear good news.” Yet this verb is found in what is called the Piel stem in the Hebrew language. The Piel stem is used in Hebrew to point to a repeated action. In other words, the idea of the good news borne or heralded by Christ is not just a one-time deal, but it is good news that is repeatedly proclaimed in the hearts and in the lives of God’s people. How true this is indeed! The good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is news that bears repeating in the lives of those who know him and before the waiting ears of those who do not. How often God’s people need to be reminded of the wonderful good news of the hope that is found in a relationship with Jesus Christ.
But look at to whom this proclamation is directed. It is directed to the meek or to the poor, depending on your translation. The term that Isaiah uses here is wn”[‘ (anaw), which is related to the word ynI[‘ (ani). Literally, wn”[‘ (anaw) refers to one who is bowed down or dejected, one who has been humiliated and broken under the oppression of outside forces. Its cousin, ynI[‘ (ani), picks up the idea of one who has become poor and afflicted as a result of oppression. It is not to the proud or to the powerful that this message is proclaimed, but to the poor, to those who have suffered under the oppression of the world and under the oppression of sin and who understand that there is no place to look for a redeemer other than to God. This language is reminiscent of the Israelites in Egypt, crying out for God to deliver them from Pharaoh’s hand (Exodus 2:23). And indeed, it is this idea that Jesus picks up on in his Sermon on the Mount when he says, “blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 5:3).
The proud, the arrogant, the haughty, those trusting in their own strength or righteousness, these are not the marks of those being drawn to God faith (James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5). Indeed, the first step in coming to faith is genuine, heart-felt repentance, and in repentance there is no room for the pride of men. Loved ones, do not picture yourself approaching God with trumpets blaring and shouts of acclamation; do not picture yourself because you have earned an audience with the Almighty King. Understand that we come before him on our knees, pleading forgiveness and mercy, and in His undying grace, to all who come into His presence through faith in his Son, Jesus Christ, to them—to us—he has given us eternal life, no longer seeing us as rebels, but adopting us as sons and daughters. Loved ones, oh, what a day of rejoicing that will be!
“See the kind of love that the father has given to us, in order that we might be called children of God; and we are. Because of this, the world does not know us: because it did not know him.” (1 John 3:1)
“And as it says in Hosea:
I will call those who are not my people, ‘my people.’
And she who is not beloved, ‘beloved.’
And it will be in the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called, “Sons of the Living God.”