To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.
One meaning of the word ashes, as used here, is worthlessness. Ashes are the worthless substance left after something has been consumed and destroyed by fire. You can not use the ashes of what was destroyed to rebuild that thing. Yet the Bible promises that He will give us beauty for ashes. Beauty is the same word used to describe a priest’s turban or tiara. It is my worthlessness that I trade for the beauty of Christ’s blessings and glory upon my head.
The hot trials of life often reduce us to a feeling of utter worthlessness. Rejection by a spouse or child, loss of a job, bad choices and mistakes I’ve made can all leave me feeling worthless. Physical, emotional, mental and even spiritual abuse can destroy our self-worth and leave us feeling worthless. It is this kind of person that the Lord promises to give beauty for ashes. His blessing and glory upon my head in exchange for my feelings of worthlessness.
This is what happened to Job. Everything he had was reduced to ashes. Yet in the end he was restored and given exactly twice the amount of everything he lost. If you read the book of Job it is quite obvious that Job suffered great feelings of worthlessness. Yet in spite of how worthless he thought he had become, he was blessed with double substance as he emerged from the situation.
As I allow the Prince of Peace to reign in my heart and I discover the peace that passeth all understanding, I will be given beauty for my ashes.