By Toyin Bakare
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor, he has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted……. Isaiah 61 :1
The Yoruba tribe in Nigeria have a cultural phenomenon called oriki, or praise poetry. According to the Yoruba Historian Samuel Johnson, “the oriki is an attributive descriptive, one that expresses” the attributes of a family, what they are to become, and it includes recitals of the present and future accomplishments of the family. The oriki is a term of endearment and praise intended to revel over and have a stimulating effect on the bearer.
My Father wrote the most recent oriki for our family, it includes aspects of God’s nature and His truths about us. Whenever I heard the oriki being sung, it overwhelmed me, and I would well up in tears. Sometimes family members sang it when younger relatives like me were naughty at home or school. Oh, the tears used to flow like a river for we felt loved and encouraged to remember who we are in the face of our wrong choices.
God initiated the concept of oriki – We are reminded in Zephaniah 3:17 that He is Our God, He loves us and sings over us with LOUD singing. In 1 Peter 2:9, another oriki is declared over us "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light."
Isaiah 61 is a rallying oriki of our loving God, revelling over us, His children, constantly encouraging and reminding us of who He is, who we are and what He has given to us to do.
To follow our Jesus’ example in Luke 4 as he declared parts of Isaiah 61 about Himself, we too are called to boldly recite God’s word over us. This is our family’s praise poetry. We are part of those that “greatly rejoice in the Lord”, who are clothed with garments of salvation, proclaimers of the year of the Lord’s favour, repairers of ruined cities, the offspring the Lord has blessed” I trust the words of our God will make us well up with love and even happy tears. This is our reality, we are who He says we are, enabled and empowered by His Holy Spirit to live our lives dependent on Him
I am enjoying and I’m grateful for the devotionals written so far. On day 3, Paul Mould wrote about the Holy Spirit, “Recently I have started to address Him with terms of praise and endearment like “Wonderful Holy Spirit”, “Amazing Holy Spirit”, and Precious Holy Spirit” rather than just Holy Spirit, and I have been surprised how warmly He responds to my affections”
Like Paul’s example, let us keep pouring our praise and endearments on our God. He is good and worthy of the highest praise or oriki!
Meditate on Isaiah 61 and let His words fill you, overwhelm you and strengthen you
Pour out new songs in praise and thanksgiving and address our God with words of endearment
“….so, the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to sprout up before all the nations” Isaiah 61:11