Beauty for Ashes: We Have the Promised Hope
by Pastor Shana Wise
“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 brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; 2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn,
· Isaiah was a prophet sent by God to urge the children of Israel to turn back to worshipping God, remember where He brought them from, and declare the promised hope of the coming Messiah Jesus Christ.
· Hundreds of years before Jesus was born, God gave a promise to the world about the coming Messiah. Here in Isaiah 61, we hear the words that Jesus himself would echo hundreds of years later in Luke 4:18-19.
· Jesus was declaring why God sent him to the earth:
1. To heal the brokenhearted
2. To proclaim liberty (freedom) to the captives (whatever has you bound)
3. Opening the prison to those who are bound (set people free: spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically).
4. To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord (Salvation)
5. The Day of Vengeance of our God (To bring justice)
6. To comfort all who mourn (Holy Spirit. Promised blessing of eternal life. Peace)
· Are you feeling or experiencing broken-heartedness? Bound? In a prison? Needing Salvation? Wanting Justice? In Mourning? If so, then all of your wants and needs are found in the attributes of Christ.
But wait, there is more that Christ has for us……
3 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; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”
· “To console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes.” When we hear the word “Zion” we should equate it in the Spirit to righteousness, God’s chosen people, and believers in the true and living God. We should also consider the state of the people in the text who God was ministering to. The Israelites had a history of turning away from God and worshipping idol gods. During this time, the Israelites had previously experienced being sent into captivity by their oppressors because of their turning away from God. When God brought the Israelites back to their homeland, he sent prophets to remind them to turn back to God and worship him.
· Beauty for ashes represents restoration. God wants to restore through us having a relationship with Him. For the Israelites (before, during, and after captivity) their ashes were oppression from foreigners, broken homes and families, death of loved ones, hunger, brokenness, loneliness, and the list goes on. When God sees the “ashes of our lives”, he wants to exchange them for beauty. Meaning, in the spirit, He wants to restore us and make us whole. God always works from the inside out. His restoration comes by Spirit to spirit. He takes our fragile heart (that has been affected by sin) and turns it strong for Him.
· What are your “ashes of life”? What do you need God to restore in your life today?
More promises that God has for us……
4 And they shall rebuild the old ruins, They shall raise up the former desolations, And they shall repair the ruined cities, The desolations of many generations.5 Strangers shall stand and feed your flocks,
And the sons of the foreigner Shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers. 6 But you shall be named the priests of the Lord, They shall call you the servants of our God. You shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, And in their glory you shall boast. 7 Instead of your shame you shall have double honor,
And instead of confusion they shall rejoice in their portion. Therefore, in their land they shall possess double; Everlasting joy shall be theirs.
· God was detailing how he was going to restore the Israelites. God wants to restore the spiritual and the natural. He wanted the physically restore what they had lost which was their homes, cities, reverse the desolate generational curse (vs. 4). He also was restoring ownership of land and livelihood through the workforce of others, meaning they would no longer be slaves or indebted to others (foreigners, non-believers, pagans) (vs. 5). God will restore us to our righteous standing with him, and righteousness comes with benefits.
· List all the benefits (promises) in verse 6-7.
· What are you believing God for concerning your present state and your future? What areas of your life to you need to trust God in more?
Concluding Promises and Response from Isaiah 61…….
8 “For I, the Lord, love justice; I hate robbery for burnt offering; I will direct their work in truth,
And will make with them an everlasting covenant. 9 Their descendants shall be known among the Gentiles, And their offspring among the people. All who see them shall acknowledge them,
That they are the posterity whom the Lord has blessed.”
· What do you believe that God is saying in verse 8 concerning his children?
· What promises do you recognize in verse 9?
10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, My soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. 11 For as the earth brings forth its bud, As the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth, So the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.
· Write your thoughts about verses 10-11. What is the Spirit of God showing you concerning this passage?
About the Author
Dr. Shana Wise is an ordained Pastor and CEO of Wise Choice Ministries (est. 2016). She is the founder of The Well Christian Women’s Network formally known as Christian Women Preachers United. Dr. Wise is the author of women’s devotional, Acts of Intercession, and The Impact of Your Election (available on Amazon). She received a Doctor of Divinity degree in 2019 from St. Thomas Christian University. Her passion is to teach and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, equip others to apply the Word to their lives, and demonstrate the Word through the power of the Holy Spirit. She is a televangelist that appears on social media outlets and television. Shana is married to Ron Wise and is the mother of four children.