Pastor (Mrs.) Yinka Adeyemi
Texts: Isaiah 61:1-7, Exodus 15:22-27
This message is a promise from God that “I want to give you beauty for your ashes”. Whatever your situation is, whether you are in the valley of dry bones, or it seems there is no solution in sight for your problems, or you are sick and down trodden, or you don’t even have any affliction, but you just desire a better life, no matter what your state is, God can still make it better. So whether you are afflicted or not, God is saying to you He will give you beauty for ashes. In Gen 1, the Bible says God created the heavens and the earth out of nothing, so be rest assured that today God is working to create a miracle out of your afflictions, He is working in your storm to produce peace, and is working in your ashes to give you beauty.
Isaiah 61:1-7, from this scripture, we know that Jesus came to do two things; the first ministry is that He came to save sinners, those who are lost, who are under the bondage of the devil. John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world that He gave ….” Jesus came so that men will not perish. In Luke 19:10, Jesus said the Son of man came to seek and save the lost. In Luke 4:18, Jesus quoted the same scripture (Isaiah 61), but quoted only the first half because as at that time there was no church, there were only sinners then to be saved. Now the second ministry of Jesus was to beautify the Church so that God would be glorified. Jesus desires to bless, increase and add to you and will never diminish or reduce you. The Church in this context is not the building, it is the believers in Christ. Jesus was anointed by the Holy Spirit to not only save sinners, but to also beautify your life. Eph 5:25, Jesus doesn’t only love sinners, he also loved the Church, and gave Himself for it that He may sanctify it, and cleanse it… that He might present it a glorious church… He came to cleanse you and everything that is dirt, He will take it away, so that He may present you to himself a glorious church.
He desires the best for you, and therefore invests His best in you. As parents we can go to any length to ensure we get the best for our children, so that we can be proud of them when they grow up-how much more God, He also wants to show you off to the world and tell the world He is proud of you. So no matter what you are going through right now, look to the end, it will reveal the glory of God. No matter how dark the night is, the dawning of a new day shall be glorious. When something is burnt into ashes, it seems there is no hope for it anymore, but God who specializes in impossibilities will surely turn that hopelessness into a thing of beauty. So don’t look down on yourself, don’t be discouraged, for that is exactly what the devil wants you to believe. If you give up, God is not going to be glorified, and Jesus won’t be able to fulfill His ministry in your life.
In Psalms 50:2, Zion is called the perfection of beauty, and Zion is symbolic of the church, which is you and I. Psalms 76:2 says Zion is the dwelling place of God. Joel 3:17 also says Zion is where God dwells. Jesus died for the world (sinners), but He lives for the Church. He has already died once and for all to save sinners but the reason He’s alive is because of you and I, so that the Church can be beautified. Hebrews 7:25, Jesus ever lives to make intercession for the Church.
Exodus 15:22-27 Bitter waters made sweet From this story we learn about a young nation that has just been freed from bondage, for 430 years they had been under slavery in the land of Egypt. They were under the oppression of their task masters, the Egyptians, who treated them cruelly. And the Bible says God delivered them with a strong and mighty hand. After they left Egypt, God had parted the Red sea and they had walked safely on dry ground, while the Egyptians pursuing them had perished in the same sea. Afterwards, they broke out in songs led by Mariam and Moses, singing about God’s mighty deliverance from their enemies. This story illustrates the life of a believer that has just been delivered from bondage, who has enjoyed the grace of God and outstanding victories.
At some point in our lives, we have all enjoyed victory over oppression, sickness, poverty and so on. After a few days, they walked into the wilderness. That didn’t sound good, from victory into trouble. In John 6, after Jesus miraculously fed the 5000 men excluding women and children, He entered the boat to cross over to the other side with His disciples, and there came a storm on the sea. That goes to tell us that after every victory, watch out! In John 6:36 Jesus states that in the world we shall have tribulations, but we should rejoice because He has overcome the world. Tribulation means frustrations, trouble, affliction, pain, but in all these we should not lose our joy, because He has overcome. Jesus never promised that life is going to be rosy or sweet, life comes will problems all the time-but He says be cheerful.
There are lessons we can learn from this story; lessons about God and lessons about man.
Lessons about God
1. He is aware of my needs. You may not be recognized in your family, work place, school or even in Church, but be sure that God knows your name. Your needs don’t take Him by surprise, He’s never caught unawares by your problems, because even before you had that problem, He had already made provisions for the solution to that problem. Philippians 4:19 says God will supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. He’s aware, that is why He can supply, if He wasn’t aware, he wouldn’t know what to do. So you don’t have to cry anymore, because He will supply what you are lacking, He’s able to do immeasurably more than all you ask or imagine Ephesians 3:20.
2. He is able to meet your need.
3. He has already provided for that need. Can you for a second imagine Adam in the Garden of Eden? God had already made adequate provision of everything he would need before creating him. By the time Adam was created, there was light, food, animals, water, a beautiful garden and he lacked nothing. God didn’t make man in the first day, and started wondering how to meet his needs. He, in His wisdom created Adam on the sixth day, after He had made abundant provisions for his needs. So God has already abundantly supplied your needs even before you realized there was a need in that area of your life. He has made a way out of that trouble, even before you got into the trouble, and how is that possible, you may ask? It is because God is the Beginning and the End, He already knows the end of a matter even before its beginning, before you get into that affliction, He has provided a way out of it. We try our best even as parents to meet the needs of our children, but we fail in many ways, but God never fails. He doesn’t panic like we do when we fall into trouble, because He knows His plans for us through that trouble and pain is to glorify Him ultimately; and He has made ample provisions for meeting us at the point of our need. You can never face any need in this life that God has not already made provisions to meet. Matthew 6:32, so do not worry for your Father in heaven is aware of your need.
4. He wants to be glorified out of my affliction. Psalm 50:10-15, God delivers you so that you can glorify Him.
Lessons about Life
1. The reality of life. Life is full of ups and downs, every great man in the Bible suffered all sorts of pains and afflictions, even though they eventually got victory over their trials. Being a child of God does not isolate you from trouble. In Isaiah 61, we understand that you can be in Zion and be mourning, and that was why Jesus came to give beauty for your ashes. In Matthew 7:14 we understand that the road that leads to eternal life is narrow and difficult; God never promised the road through life would be easy. Psalms 34:17 says when you cry God will hear you and deliver you out of all your troubles.
2. To teach you to depend on God as your only source. Hebrews 12:10. We train our children so they can learn to live well and give good account of their lives, likewise God allows us go through afflictions to teach us to depend on Him alone. Job 14:14, stay focused on God alone, wait on Him and He shall grant you the desires of your heart.
3. Reaction to life’s problems. There are two ways to react to a problem- a natural way and a spiritual way. The natural way causes bitterness and resentment in your life which would further plunge you in darkness, Hebrews 12:15-17. Exodus 15:24 the people murmured against Moses when they encountered a problem in the wilderness. The spiritual reaction looks beyond the circumstance and focuses on God. The Israelites grumbled unto Moses (natural reaction), but Moses cried unto God (spiritual reaction). I want to encourage you to toe the spiritual line; Psalms 121 says your help comes from the Lord. You must learn to cry out to God in that problem, and deliverance will come.
4. God’s remedy to life’s problems. His remedy came through the prayer of one man, Moses. The second remedy was a tree He opened the eyes of Moses to see. It was a peculiar tree, it was the remedy to their bitter waters in the wilderness, and it is still the remedy to life’s problems and sicknesses today. This tree is symbolic of the cross of Jesus Christ, where He suffered pain and death, Ephesians 3:13, 1 Peter 2:21, Rev 22:1-3.
The cross of Jesus
1. Is the place of sacrifice; God’s remedy therefore is that cross. The place of the cross is the place of suffering, Hebrews 7:23, Jesus suffered shame, pain and rejection on the cross and learnt obedience by the things He suffered. You must learn that following Jesus is not convenient.
2. The cross is a place of examination, where you examine yourself, 2 Corinthians 13:5, judge yourself and you will not be judged. Check yourself whether you are still in the faith, not by your own standards, but by the standard of the Word of God.
3. The cross is also the place of submission. If you want to exchange your ashes for the beauty of God, you have to be totally submitted to the will of God. Yield your will completely to Him. When last did you ask God what His will is concerning every aspect of your life? The way of the Lord is the way of the minority, not majority. Never venture into anything God is not involved in, 1 Cor 15:21.
4. It’s the place of total obedience to God. When you do His will , He will bless you. His will is what is best for you.