Beauty For Ashes, Joy For Mourning, Praise For Heaviness.
Sermon shared by Thomas Dibble
Summary: God will console those who mourn in Zion. There is enough of God to comfort all who mourn around the world. But his word specifically states those in Zion or those in God’s house are going to get God’s attention.
Audience: General adults
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The Bible speaks of the Holy Ghost as being the comforter. Aren’t you glad for the spirit of the Lord? He is the comforter.
In our scripture text it says that God would appoint, or as the NKJV says, God would console those who mourn in Zion. There is enough of God to comfort all who mourn around the world. But his word specifically states those in Zion or those in God’s house are going to get God’s attention.
God’s people who are in:
˙ Crisis situation
˙ Hard times
˙ Difficult circumstances
Will surely get his attention. And if there is anybody who I want to have their attention – it’s God. I want his eyes upon me. I want his ear tuned in to my cry. I want to be underneath the umbrella of his protection. I want to live in the secret place of the most high and abide under his feathers and under his wings.
The Bible says that he will give us beauty for ashes. In Bible times it was the custom for the people of that day to in great times of mourning and difficulty lay in ashes. Just think about that. You’ve got a problem in your life and you just sit down in a pile of ashes. There is nothing beautiful about ashes.
But the scripture says he is going to take your difficult, disgusting, depressing and horrible situation and give you beauty. He is going to pick you up out of the ash pile of life and make something beautiful out of you.
The Hebrew word for ashes is epher and the Hebrew word for beauty is pheer. Just move the e and you have a new word. And just as quickly as it takes for you to move one letter God is going to turn your sorrow into joy. He speaks and it is already done.
You may feel like your life is ugly and insignificant right now. But sometimes things that appear ugly just need the right climate to grow. There is a species of century plant called the “Maguey”. It grows for years with great course leaves as thick as two hands put together. It’s three inches thick and very long. It puts out sharp thorns and it’s just as ugly as can be. The longer it’s alive and the more it grows, it just gets uglier all the time. But suddenly it shoots up in just a couple of days and a great shaft tall and thick begins to grow. It decks it’s spreading head with thousands of flowers and becomes a beautiful plant.
The possibility of all that fragrant beauty was always in that detestable ugliness. Just as the fragrant beauty of your life is sometimes hidden underneath the calloused ritual. It is smothered by daily schedules and monotonous grind. Sometimes painful experiences cause beauty to come forth.
Isaiah said he will give you beauty for ashes. God knew you would be burnt by life’s experiences. But he also knew he could replace that burnt out mess with something beautiful.
Bill Gaither wrote the song that says:
Something beautiful something good
All my confusion Jesus understood
All I have to offer him is brokenness and strife
But he made something beautiful out of my life.
Whatever God’s hands touch becomes beautiful. All you need tonight is a touch from the master’s hand.
He hath made every thing beautiful in his time:
˙ When Job was burnt by life he burnt the devil because he fell down and praised God.
˙ Daniel, lions den – he prayed and thanked God
˙ Abraham, sacrifice his son – I and the lad will
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