“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” (Isaiah 61: 3).
Ashes: often associated with sacrifices, mourning, and fasting. Grief, humiliation, and repentance were expressed by placing ashes on the head or by sitting in ashes. Dirt, sackcloth, fasting, the tearing of clothing, and ashes visibly demonstrated the person’s emotions. Ashes also symbolized the results of divine destruction.
Israel as a nation had long expected the ultimate Redeemer who would rescue them from their misery, bondage and more importantly, spiritual bankruptcy. The passage quoted above specifically captures the good news of salvation which only the person of Jesus Christ brings to all who earnestly seek Him. Jesus equally quoted this particular scripture in Luke 4: 18, 19. The ministry of Jesus brought salvation’s comfort to the spiritually oppressed, the down-trodden, the same ministry is being carried out today by the church. “But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions” (Obadiah v. 17).
Zion represents or refers to the city of God (Isa. 1: 27; 28: 16; 33: 5). Perhaps you have been having challenges, you are faced with myriads of troubles; you seem to have lost hope having tried to come out of them but to no avail. Jesus is the answer, He is ever faithful, he loves all equally and always desires to give life even in abundance to all who come to Him in faith.
Only Jesus can give us beauty instead of ashes, joy instead of mourning, garment of praise instead of the spirit of heaviness, but these can only come when we choose to acknowledge Him as our Lord and personal saviour, we need to walk with Him on daily basis, we need to have fellowship with Him always so that as we behold His beauty, He will also beautify us. (Ps. 27: 4; Isaiah 52: 7).
As we make every conscious effort to serve the Lord in truth and in spirit, may He remove every reproach from our lives, may He make every crooked place straight, may He bless the works of our hands, may He grant us favour, joy, peace and most importantly, put upon us Christ as a garment.
Have a fruitful, gracious and glorious week. Shalom.