CLOTHED and COVERED
”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 her jewels” – Isa. 61:10.
This scripture brought to my mind some of the fundamentals in attitude and foundational activity essential in preparation for that glorious royal wedding day. We realize that Isaiah’s prophecy was written to and about Israel, yet we appreciate the thoughts quickened to our hearts from the context of this verse. We read in verse nine of the “seed which the Lord hath blessed,” and in verse eleven, “For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden casuseth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all nations.” Praise God! we know from Scripture there is only one seed (a new creation in Christ Jesus) which the Lord hath blessed, and from which He causes righteousness and praise to spring forth. Therefore, this great rejoicing springing forth out of a joy filled soul is firmly established on this everlasting foundation: “He hath clothed me; He hath covered me.”
Isaiah compares this clothing and covering to “a bridegroom’s ornaments” (victor’s laurels) and “a bride’s adornment.” We delight in reading from God’s Word the description of the bridegroom and the bride being specifically dressed for that special occasion. Read Psalm 45 and consider the King’s (vs. 1-8) and Queen’s (vs. 10-17) adornment there. He must reign as King of kings and Lord of lords, and they that suffer with Him shall also reign with Him. Presently, all the providential experiences that God’s people are passing through in faith, are sent as preparation for sharing His glorious throne eternally! Jesus finished His course, fought His fight, and was victorious; yet He seems to await His ultimate and lasting triumph. He arises from the wedding and goes out to war when His bride is glorified with Him.
In the meanwhile this is our time for pressing, stressing, and dressing. Isaiah is expressing here what he is doing and will do because of what God has done, is doing, and will do in performance of His promises. Thus the attitude of appreciation produces the activity of praise. Some one may say, “Well, I’m just not emotional; I will worship God in my own way. I am more reserved.” Jesus came and was anointed to give all that will believe beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. Therefore, let not our souls always be mournful, but rather, like Isaiah, full of joy and overflowing. Then he tells why: for God this change hath made. If we can realize how God sees us and that He is the one that really counts, we then can better appreciate this clothing and covering. “For the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight; but all things are naked and open unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do” – Heb. 4:12-13.
Two questions asked and answered in scripture in the light of spiritual significance are important. Consider these: “Wherewithal shall we be clothed?” and “Who shall be able to stand?”
Rev. 6:15-17, “And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?”
Our Lord has penetrating eyes of the Spirit; he knows where we are and all about us. The rocks and mountains won’t be able to hide mankind from His face on that day. We read in Rom. 14:10 and II Cor. 5:10 that we all must appear before the judgment seat of Christ. When the Lord comes, He will “bring to light the hidden things of darkness and make manifest the counsels of the hearts” – I Cor. 4:5. Therefore, we greatly rejoice in the righteous Judge who has provided the covering we greatly need. He counsels Christendom in that Laodicean condition to make faith’s purchase of “white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear” – Rev. 3:17-18. Let us all who believe be joyful and ever greatly rejoice, that by God’s marvelous grace we are CLAIMED, COVERED, CLEANSED, and CLOTHED.
CLAIMED: The apostle Paul says we were sold under sin, but by the blood of Jesus Christ we were bought out of sin’s slave market. Eph. 1:6-7 & Col. 1:13-14: read and rejoice.
COVERED: Does it not rejoice our souls to think personally of what He has done about our sin and with the robe of His righteousness? When I turned to Him in faith, my sin to Jesus was imputed, and His righteousness to me was not only imputed, but also imparted. Oh yes, His righteousness by faith became mine - II Cor. 5:21. “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile” – Psa. 32:1,2. Read Rom. 4:3-7 & Prov. 28:13,14. If we try to cover our sins, God will uncover them in judgment. If we uncover them before God, He will cover them in grace. It is strange how we attempt with our bodily actions to cover our soul and spirit. But it doesn’t really work, especially before the One that really counts. In order for mankind to really appreciate and appropriate the covering that God provides, He at times has to uncover us to ourselves, and show us what He sees. There are also times, if necessary, that He may allow our spiritual nakedness to become public knowledge for our good.
Isaiah 64:6, says we are all unclean and our righteousnesses are as filthy rags and fade as a leaf and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. God had to teach this truth to Adam and Eve and will also to Israel nationally, as he does to us. All that any man can produce is totally inadequate and unsatisfactory before our Holy God. The apostle Paul said in Romans 10:1-4 that Israel tried to establish their own righteousness and did not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth.
We all must be made to realize that our holy, glorious wardrobe will be all and only of His design, entirely His product. We read in I Peter 4:8 that charity “shall cover a multitude of sins.” His love was behind what He has done about our sin. That same love is produced in us, and is manifest by us as we walk in love. James 5:20, “…he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way, shall hade a multitude of sins.”
CLEANSED: The Lord has to show up our filth, or we would never look to Him for a cleansing. Zechariah saw Joshua in vision stand before the angel of the Lord in filthy garments, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. He answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe with a change of raiment. Let them set a fair mitre (priestly crown) upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments – Zech. 3:1-5.
What an exchange! Doesn’t it make you rejoice to consider the cleansing, transforming provisions the Lord has made for us? Ah, yes, is making in us, if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness – I Jn. 1:7-9. It gives us joy to consider how Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish” – Eph. 5:25-27.
Clothed: “He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation.” What a precious preview was given in the garden of Eden as to what God was going to do about the nakedness of fallen humanity. Before the fall both the man and his wife were naked and were not ashamed, Gen. 2:25. After the fall of disobedience, their eyes were opened, and they knew they were naked. They sewed fig leaves together and made aprons, but when they heard the voice of the Lord God, they hid from the presence of the Lord God among the trees. The Lord God called unto Adam and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice and was afraid, because I was naked and I hid myself – Gen. 3:7-10. Their efforts to hide behind their manufactured aprons or among the trees were completely insufficient before God. There was nothing found there to rejoice in, boast about, or bring glory to God. Then we read what God has freely done for mankind since the fall. Gen. 3:21, “Unto Adam also and to His wife did the Lord God made coats of skins, and clothed them.”
Jesus took upon Himself my blame, humility and shame; not only that He might cover me with His righteousness, but also that He might robe me in His royalty. This is salvation unto the uttermost! Can we trust God for all the covering and clothing we will ever need: body, soul and spirit? (Do we, are we?)
“Why take ye thought (or anxious) for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin…even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these…if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?…take no though (or be anxious), saying what shall we eat: or…drink? Or, wherewithal shall we be clothed?…for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” -Mt. 6:28-33.
How wonderful that we can trust God for our eternal adornment as well as the temporal. It certainly is a sign of the times that so many are more occupied with the added things than the first things. The Lord does not teach us to neglect personal business, but He would comfort and deliver from anxieties that would occupy our attention predominately with the temporal rather than the eternal. II Cor. 5:1-4, “…if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.”
OH WHAT A CHANGE IS COMING. Then while covered with the robe of His righteousness and clothed with the garments of His salvation, our soul will be most joyful, and we shall ever greatly rejoice.