…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.
Have you ever collected anything? Or known someone who did? It became their pride and joy. Each one accounted for, kept perfectly clean, restored to its original beauty, and often on display for all to see. It’s something dearly loved and you desire to share it.
I see a lot of the same thing when I read this verse. Oh, God doesn’t collect us like some sort of hobby; frankly, we’re far too valuable for that. Like a collection, we belong to him, but rather than an inanimate object to stick on a shelf, we are his children. Of far more worth than any other possession he has. (And he owns the entire world, so let that sink in a moment.)
What I love so much about this verse is how God cares for us. He doesn’t leave us with the dust of life, the grime of our days. No, he places beauty over our hurts, and gives us joy in our sadness so that we can once again sing. Then he sets us out for all to see, because he takes such joy in us.
It’s like a parent showing off his child. And God is the biggest show-off when it comes to his children. There is nothing he wouldn’t do for us. His love knows no bounds. We are a display of his splendor, bursting with beauty for all to see.
Because where he finds his greatest joy is in you.
Lord today wash over me with a new crown. Let all the ashes of my days be swept away. Fill me with joy and singing. Let me become a walking display of your splendor for all to see, and reveal to me a heavenly glimpse of your abounding delight and love for me. Amen.