Have you watched the crowning at the end of beauty pageants? I love it when the winner is awarded and a crown is placed on her head as everyone watches in awe. The judges then put a sash on the winner, who walks majestically for all to see and celebrate the victory with her. It’s a day worth celebrating after weeks of preparation.

As I look at this portion of Scripture in that context, what I find intriguing is how a crown comes after grieving. One would wonder how this is so, but just like the pageants, a lot is involved and it comes at a great cost. In olden days, Jews in mourning put on sackcloth and poured ash on themselves. When faced with danger, when repenting after God’s judgment on the people, they would declare a fast and mourn in the presence of God.

I am encouraged when I read this Scripture because the season of grief births a season of rejoicing. God promised the Jews just as he promises us that a time for a divine exchange will arise. A crown of beauty instead of ashes, oil of gladness instead of mourning, and our sash would be a garment of praise in place of a spirit of despair. As we stand, God will display his work, oaks of righteousness, which are plantings of the Lord paraded for his glory. There is hope for you and I who believe in God. He has spoken — and our obligation is to believe and long for the fulfilment of his Word.

Heavenly Father, in whatever circumstance that I may find myself in, I will draw strength from your Word and look forward to a time when you will deliver me fully and glorify yourself through my life. Amen.

Throughout This Day: Are you going through a season of grief and experiencing great distress? There is hope in the Lord. Look to him today in prayer and allow him to take away that spirit of heaviness and exchange it with a garment of praise as you choose to worship him in his Spirit’s strength.

Tags: Advent 2020 Daily Devotional Isaiah 61
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