“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.” — Isaiah 61:3.
Here we have first beauty, and then unction. The Orientals used rich perfumed oils on their persons — used them largely and lavishly in times of great joy. Now, the Holy Spirit comes upon those who believe in Jesus, and gives them an anointing of perfume, most precious, more sweet and costly than the herd of Araby. An unction, such as royalty has never received, sheds its costly moisture over all the redeemed when the Spirit of the Lord rests upon them. “We have an unction from the Holy One,” saith the apostle. “Thou anointest my head with oil, my cup runneth over.”
Oh, how favored are those who have the Spirit of God upon them! You remember that the oil which was poured on Aaron’s head went down to the skirts of his garment, so that the same oil was on his skirts that had been on his head. It is the same Spirit that rests on the believer as that which rests on Jesus Christ, and he that is joined unto Christ is one Spirit. What favor is here! Instead of mourning, the Christian shall receive the Holy Spirit, the Comforter who shall take of the things of Christ, and reveal them unto him, and make him not merely glad, but honored and esteemed.
From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled "Beauty For Ashes." Image by James Whitesmith under Creative Commons License.