"The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, 2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, 3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor."
In several instances in the Bible, ashes represent a time of grief, pain, repentance or distress. As we look in
When Mordecai learned all that had been done, Mordecai tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and he cried out with a loud and bitter cry.
And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them. 6 The word reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.
In Isaiah 61, Israelites were taken captive and were oppressed, people were confused and grieved. They thought God left them. Then the prophet Isaiah reminds them the suffering is due their sin but he also said that God’s anger is temporary and it won’t last. Our God is merciful and forgiving.
Isaiah 61:3 clearly promises us beauty for ashes, oil of joy instead of mourning, garment of praise instead of spirit of despair. So, let us all put our trust in God and seek Him with all our hearts.
Let’s hold onto God’s promises that He delivers us from all these ashes and gives beauty.