...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. (Isaiah 61:3)
In Verse 3, ONE WORD gets repeated three times… It’s the word “INSTEAD.”
…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes…
The key word is “INSTEAD.” God gives BEAUTY instead of ashes…
“Ashes” were a symbol sorrow, grief, failure or despair, but according to Isaiah one of the ministries of the Messiah would be to take our sorrow, grief, failure and despair and exchange it with a CROWN OF BEAUTY…
“…a crown of beauty instead of ashes…”
We give Him the ashes of our fear or anxiety, and He gives us a crown of HOPE.
We give Him the ashes of our anger and hate, and He gives us a crown of LOVE and PEACE.
We give Him the ashes of our regret, and He gives us a crown of NEW PROMISE and NEW POSSIBILTIES.
We give Him the ashes of our defeat and He gives us a crown of VICTORY. That’s good news!!!
We give Him the ashes of our sin, selfishness and loneliness, and He gives us a crown of SALVATION and SONSHIP!
This is the miracle of DIVINE EXCHANGE.
…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning…
MOURNING actually refers to “mourning for the dead.” It’s the black limo, the black suit, the black dress — the whole nine yards — all symbols of LOSS and PAIN.
But Jesus sees our loss.
Meets us right where we are.
Takes our pain.
Removes our funeral clothes.
ANOINTS our heads with the “oil of gladness,” and says, “Because of my RESURRECTION and VICTORY; death, sorrow and loss will never write the last word in your story. I’ll write the final word and your story doesn’t end in a funeral. Your story ends with a WEDDING… Your story ends with JOY!”
…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.
The word despair sometimes gets translated “heaviness.” It means dark, dim, colorless and weak. It’s a word used to describe a burning wick that’s about to go out.
Does that describe you?
Are you feeling heavy?
Dim or weak?
Do you feel as if you’re ‘running on fumes?’
God’s remedy for our heaviness is WORSHIP! When the Bible speaks of a “garment of praise” it’s a Hebrew word that means to be wrapped in worship or to be wrapped in praise!
Some of us allow despair, heaviness and our weakness to dictate to us our emotional state! God says, “Take off that spirit of heaviness… somebody put it on you… in fact, you may have put it on yourself, but if somebody put it on you, I can take it off! Take it off! Replace it with praise! Replace it with worship! Get wrapped in praise! Get wrapped in worship! Get focused on the power, glory, greatness and goodness of your awesome God!”
WORSHIP is one of the primary and most powerful weapons we have for dispelling despair, hopelessness, darkness and depression.
Check out the way Psalm 8:2 reads in The Passion Translation:
You have built a stronghold by the songs of babies. Strength rises up with the chorus of singing children. This kind of praise has the power to shut Satan’s mouth. Childlike worship will silence the madness of those who oppose you. —Psalm 8:2 TPT
THIS KIND OF PRAISE HAS THE POWER TO SHUT SATAN’S MOUTH.
Wow! Wow! Wow! Our praise and worship SHUTS SATAN’S MOUTH! It silences the madness of those who oppose us!
Check out the last part of Verse 3.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
In other words, “The people that God is creating, won’t be a weak and emaciated ‘junk’ tree that’s easily toppled, that bends and breaks. God is creating oaks! He is creating people who are grand, strong, fruitful and resilient!
They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.
God wants to DISPLAY HIS SPLENDOR THROUGH YOU! We REFLECT what we SEE! We BECOME whatever we BEHOLD. When we are all God wants us to be WE REFLECT THE GLORY and PRESENCE of GOD!
When we become saturated with God’s presence, God continues the mission and assignment He has for us. Check out Verse 4:
They will rebuild the ancient ruins, repairing cities destroyed long ago. They will revive them, though they have been deserted for many generations. —Isaiah 61:4
Take note of the words “rebuild,” “repair,” and “revive.” The ministry of Jesus is all about RESTORATION, REVIVAL and RENEWAL.
Isaiah said, “When Jesus comes… We’ll be so FUNDAMENTALLY TRANSFORMED and CHANGED that people once known as poor, brokenhearted, captives, addicts, rejects, outcasts, hopeless, you name it…actually become CREATIVE RESTORERS who join God in His activity of BRINGING HOPE, LIGHT, GRACE, BEAUTY, WONDER, FORGIVENESS and FREEDOM to this messed up broken world.
So, it’s time to take action!
· Expect God to show up and show out!
· Make the presence of God your priority!
· Live with an open heart and outstretched hands!
Lift up your eyes and see, for everyone is coming home! Your sons come from afar; your little daughters will be carried home. Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy… —Isaiah 60:4-5
This is God’s heart!
People matter to God.
God’s heart has always been on growing His forever family (vs. 4-5, 21-22).
Every number has a name.
Every name has a story.
Every story matters to God!