“You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy”. (Psalm 30:11)
In the old Testament sackcloth and ashes were used as an outward sign of one’s inward condition. It was a symbol of mourning and repentance. Such a symbolic act made the condition of one’s heart visible and demonstrated the sincerity of sorrow, grief and repentance. It was not the act itself, but the humility of the act that moved God to intervene in reconciliation.
Three things come to mind when I think of my own sackcloth and ashes.
• My joy in reconciliation and remaining prayerful, in the act and remembrance, of my own humility.
• The question Jesus spoke to Simon Peter three times ~ “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
( John 21: 15-17)
~ Feed my lambs
~Tend my sheep
~Feed my sheep
• The old testament story of Mordecai, in sackcloth and ashes, as he lamented the fate of his brother. His passionate demonstration of brotherly love.(Esther 4:1)
The joy of reconciliation is at the heart of the gospel message. “…in Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself…and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:19) And because reconciliation is at the heart of the gospel, it is also at the heart of each believer of that Gospel.
Mathew Henry expresses this beautifully….
The renewed man acts upon new principles, by new rules, with new ends, and in new company. The believer is created anew; his heart is not merely set right, but a new heart is given him. He is the workmanship of God, created in Christ Jesus unto good works. Though the same as a man, he is changed in his character and conduct. These words must and do mean more than an outward reformation. The man who formerly saw no beauty in the Savior that he should desire him, now loves him above all things. The heart of the unregenerate is filled with enmity against God, and God is justly offended with him. Yet there may be reconciliation. Our offended God has reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ. By the inspiration of God, the Scriptures were written, which are the word of reconciliation; showing that peace has been made by the cross, and how we may be interested therein. Though God cannot lose by the quarrel, nor gain by the peace, yet he beseeches sinners to lay aside their enmity, and accept the salvation he offers. Christ knew no sin. He was made Sin; not a sinner, but Sin, a Sin-offering, a Sacrifice for sin. The end and design of all this was, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him, might be justified freely by the grace of God through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.
Can any(one) lose, labour, or suffer too much for Him, who gave his beloved Son to be the Sacrifice for their sins, that they might be made the righteousness of God in him?
Mathew Henry: Commentary (2 Corinthians 5:16-21)
Blessed Savior, keep my remembrance clear and humbled, keep me forever grateful for the fullness of my joy, keep me devoted and demonstrated in your word, and prayerfully in sackcloth and ashes for the reconciliation of those who do not know you ~ keep the Gospel in my heart and on my lips. ~Amen :Y