In Isaiah 61:3 we are introduced to a marvelous and benevolent exchange process. The word of God reads, “To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory.”
As many of you know, life is filled with choices. Sometimes the choices we make line up with God’s will, plan and purpose, but there are times when the choice(s) we made didn’t even come close to lining up with one letter of God’s word!
These prodigal driven choices creates “ashes” like grief in the deepest pockets of our souls, where no one but God can really see.
In the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32) we learn of a beautiful “comeback” story of a young man who went from riches to rags and then from rags back to riches.
In Luke 15:16-17 we find the the prodigal (lost) son ‘starving like Marvin’, but before he took a bite of the decadent fruit (pods) prepared for swine he decided to opt-out and to return home. Now, let’s not fit it twisted; it wasn’t his empty stomach that led him back to his father’s house, it is was repented heart.
Upon his return home, in exchange for his bad choices (ashes) his loving and forgiving father figuratively gave him a crown of beauty.
Brothers and sisters, there’s beauty and greatness behind every mark of darkness. Ashes eventually blow away, they don’t stay forever, but God’s greatness and glory shines forever through every broken place, bad choice and flaw we’ve struggled through.
Our only hope is in Jesus. He conquered death. He lives forever. He reigns in glory. And we have victory in Him.
If this message is speaking to the core of your spirit, today is the day you get up and head back home to our Father’s house where there is a crown of beauty awaiting—straight out of your ashes!!