Beauty, Joy and a garment of Praise
Isaiah 61 is a powerful word for us and a great reminder of the calling that Christ had come to fulfil. It’s also the type of calling we have on our lives, as followers of Jesus. I was struck by verse three this morning.
To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”
Three bad things replaced by three good. If you’ve experienced ashes, mourning and depression, then I’m sure you would happily trade those three for beauty, joy and praise.
There is nothing nice or joyful about ashes. It’s the stuff that’s left behind after the fire has gone. We see in the bible, when people were going through difficult times, facing loss, depression and mourning, they would put on sackcloth and ashes as a sign of true repentance or sincerity of grief when mourning. When Jonah spoke to the people of Nineveh, the whole town put on sackcloth and ashes in the hope of Gods mercy. (Jonah 3:5-7).
For those who mourn, God offers the oil of joy. The oil soothes troubled waters and signifies Holy Spirits anointing on our lives.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such, there is no law. Galatians 5:22,23.
These are the nine outward pieces of evidence that Holy Spirit is living inside of you and that you have received His infilling and power. Joy is number two on that list and we can only experience the true joy of the lord when Holy Spirit lives in us.
This leads to praise for the one who gave us those blessings. I know that when depression hits us and we sit in ashes, it’s hard to lift our voice in praise.
Isaiah 61 is a wonderful picture of our loving Heavenly Father, stooping down into the dust and ashes of our despair and gently lifting us out. Then dusting us down and removing any trace of the ashes of shame and mourning. Instead, He takes away our ugliness and crowns us with beauty. He replaces our sad state of mourning by anointing us with the oil of joy. The oil of joy will make our face shine again. Still more, He takes away the dull sackcloth and our mood of depression and replaces it with a new bright garment of praise.
Luke 4 records Jesus going into the temple and reading from the first part of Isaiah 61. After which, He then sat down and every eye was on him when He said “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
If you’re feeling the ugliness of guilt, shame, loss or mourning.
If your joy is hard to find through sadness.
If depression has taken hold.
There is good news!
Fix your eyes on Jesus today, because He is the fulfilment of the promise in Isaiah 61.
He will take away your ashes, mourning and depression and will give you beauty, joy and a garment of praise, in return.
Trust in God and you will no longer feel weak and feeble, but instead, you will be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord for His glory.
Be incredibly blessed as you walk this out today!