Scripture for Today: Isaiah 61:3 “…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…”
This incredible “super bloom” in Southern California is breathtaking! The once barren hillsides and scrub lands are bursting with color and people are descending in droves to experience the beauty. After all the rain we have had, it is a welcome sight. But in some areas there is an additional reason for this super bloom. The wildflowers are especially spectacular in areas affected by the Woolsey fire where 97,000 acres were burned. It is truly a “miracle of nature” to see the blackened ash-covered ground recover itself in vibrant color!
Today’s verse is a declaration of what God would do for the Israelites through His prophet, Isaiah. He was to replace the ashes on their heads with a crown of beauty. Those ashes were a sign of sorrow and repentance for sin, along with the sackcloth worn. That itchy rough garment of despair over sin would be replaced with a garment of praise. Joy would replace mourning. God’s forgiveness changes everything!
I do not always feel much sorrow over my own sin. But when I do, it can feel like a crushing weight. Thankfully, He promises to be near the one who is brokenhearted over sin (Psalm 34:18). His forgiveness turns my ashes into a crown of beauty! When I humble myself and go to Him in confession, the black ugliness of sin disappears. Despair over my past mistakes and failures is transformed into beautiful colorful praise for the new start He gives me! He is faithful and just to forgive every single time!
Thank you Lord, for turning my ashes into beauty!