Garland Instead of Ashes (Isaiah 61:1-4; 8-11)
But Isaiah's not content to let things stay on a conceptual level, not satisfied to speak theoretically. No, he throws in objects—gets all practical, puts a face on these lofty sounding verbs—bring good news to the oppressed, bind up the brokenhearted, proclaim liberty to the captives, release to the prisoners, to comfort and provide for all those who mourn, to give this whole sorry lot a garland instead of ashes.
The good news Isaiah announces comes, in other words, not to those who've just had temporary setbacks, to those inconvenienced by ripples in the stock market. This good news is announced to those who've been on the bottom so long, it's hard for them to remember there's a top. This good news is delivered to those folks on the edge of despair, just short of giving up.