"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,
because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent
Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, the
opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable
year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all
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 61:1-3 NKJV)
I know of clay being moulded into pottery and of many other substances that have the potential to be something else. Then I look at ashes and wonder what beauty can come from this. What potential do ashes have when it is the remains, the last bit of nothing, or even the very end of everything? Yet God's word shows us that He can turn our ashes into beauty.
Ashes are mostly the mineral residue that remains when something is burned. But you know ashes are also produced from burnt offerings that The Lord required in the days of old. It is the end of a sacrifice. In our present lives, ashes are the end of a test, it is the burnt out remains of the flesh that once controlled us. All that is left to see is nothing but a sweet, lingering aroma of sacrifice. The ashes at this point, dear friend, is the lingering aroma of obedience. Once our flesh was weak but now in its ash state it is burnt leaving only the spirit which is willing.
Ashes were also used in a form of mourning, and repentance. A time where one is feeling defeated, struck down but not finished. Mourning and repentance are a state that brings us to the point of newness and new beginnings. The ashes are the remains that still can be restored to beauty in Christ. There comes a time when we need to disappear so that our remains will only reflect Christ. A time when our image must be lost so that Christ's image must be glorified. After all that is why we are here, so that we will decrease and He will increase. Mourning and repentance bring us to the true worshippers we were intended to be. Ashes produce worship that becomes an incense in the Holy of Holies. The destruction of the flesh is the resurrection of the Spirit and those that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.
Ashes are also the promise of Victory. "But unto you that fear My Name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith The Lord of hosts" (Malachi 4:1-3 KJV) God's word spells out victory to those that fear His name for He will grant us the power to tread over the wicked and they will be as nothing but ashes under the soles of our feet. What can God do with us when we are run down, burnt out and even left as nothing? He can receive the aroma of our sacrifcial life, delight in the essence of a repentant heart, and still bring out His beauty so that we will live in victory.
Even at the last breath you have and even when your heart fainted within you, give Him your ashes and He will turn it into beauty. Prayer: Thought Father, in the matchless name of Jesus, take the ashes of my life and turn it into beauty. Take the ashes of my life and let it be a sweet aroma of worship to you. Take the ashes of my life and let the beauty of Christ be revealed in me. In Jesus name I ask, Amen