Beauty For Ashes

27 March 2021

Eddie Rowlands

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,
Because the Lord has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the broken-hearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,
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…”
– Isaiah 61:1-3.

When Jesus read from Isaiah 61 in the Synagogue at Nazareth, (Luke 4 v18-19) he only read part of it. I don’t know why that was, but what I do know is that in Christ, all the promises of God are “Yes,” and we can say “Amen” to all of them – 2 Corinthians 1 v20. Praise Him! He did ‘preach good tidings’ and by His Spirit in us He still does. All of us who know Christ as Lord and Saviour were ‘captives’ but now are ‘free’. Jesus Himself said “Who the Son sets free, is free indeed” – John 8 v36.

What an encouraging word this was to God’s people in Isaiah’s day. It was a word of comfort, hope, and promise, of restoration and revival. What an impact it had on the people who were present in that Synagogue when Jesus closed the book and made the startling declaration that “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing”.

The other day I was blessed by a small book written by our brother Sam Silcock; a 31-day Devotional titled “Beauty in the Chaos”*. In it, Sam tells how even in the most trying times God showed him there is so much to be grateful for. It was the theme of Sam’s book that led me to the passage in Isaiah 61, particularly the promise that to those who mourn he gives “Beauty for ashes…”

Yes! Think of it; the same one that Isaiah speaks of in chapter 53 as the “Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” is the same one spoken of here. He has “borne our griefs and carried our sorrows”. The very scripture that Jesus said was fulfilled in their hearing, is fulfilled in us! He takes away the ash from our lives and replaces it with beauty. We can say with David: “Bless the Lord O my soul… who crowns you with loving-kindness and tender mercies” – Psalm 103. Amen!

Be blessed and give thanks. Whatever ash has been in your life; today, through Christ it has gone and you are a “crown of beauty” in God’s hand.


*You can get Sam’s Book “Beauty in the Chaos – 31 Uplifting Devotions to Sweeten the Soul” on Amazon.

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