“…to give them beauty for ashes,” – Isaiah 61:3
If you’re anything like me, you’re familiar with the saying beauty for ashes. Until recently, I had no idea of the biblical significance of the quote. Below is the full text of Isaiah 61:3 (KJV):
“To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.”
According to the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, the use of ashes to “indicate mourning, deep repentance or humility — goes back over three thousand years and involved many cultures”, including the Hebrew culture. In other words, this saying has more to do with having a repentant heart so that you will be in the position to receive the blessings of God.
To receive, you must be open. Mourning allows us to feel and then release the pain so God can heal us. It opens us to receive beauty, joy and a spirit of praise instead of the slow death sin and unrepentance causes.
In the end, our repentance not only makes us available to receive the blessings of the Lord but it glorifies God in the new life present in you.
Real beauty is a blessing from God and a gift to the people around you.