The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me...
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;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified."
Isaiah 61:1,2c,3 (New King James Version)
Below is an excerpt from a sermon delivered by
C. H. SPURGEON. I wanted to share it with you this morning. It blessed me and I hope it will bless you too. He died in 1892 but his sermons live on.
"Observe, in the text, the change Christ promises to work for his mourners. First, here is beauty given for ashes. In the Hebrew there is a ring in the words which cannot be conveyed in the English. The ashes that men put upon their head in the East in the time of sorrow made a grim tiara for the brow of the mourner; the Lord promises to put all these ashes away, and to substitute for them a glorious head dress—a diadem of beauty. Or, if we run away from the word, and take the inner sense, we may look at it thus:—mourning makes the face wan and emaciated, and so takes away the beauty; but Jesus promises that he will so come and reveal joy to the sorrowing soul, that the face shall fill up again: the eyes that were dull and cloudy shall sparkle again, and the countenance, yea, and the whole person shall be once more radiant with the beauty which sorrow had so grievously marred.
I thank God I have sometimes seen this change take place in precious saints who have been cast down in soul. There has even seemed to be a visible beauty put upon them when they have found peace in Jesus Christ, and this beauty is far more lovely and striking, because it is evidently a beauty of the mind, a spiritual lustre, far superior to the surface comeliness of the flesh. When the Lord shines full upon his servants' faces, he makes them fair as the moon, when at her full she reflects the light of the sun.
A gracious and unchanging God sheds on his people a gracious and unfading loveliness. O mourning soul, thou hast made thine eyes red with weeping, and thy cheeks are marred with furrows, down which the scalding tears have burned their way; but the Lord that healeth thee, the Lord Almighty who wipeth all tears from human eyes, shall visit thee yet; and, if thou now believes "in Jesus, he shall visit thee now, and chase these cloudy griefs away, and thy face shall be bright and clear again, fair as the morning, and sparkling as the dew. Thou shalt rejoice in the God of thy salvation, even in God, thy exceeding joy. Is not this a dainty promise for mourning souls?"