“You turned my wailing into dancing, you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever.” Psalm 30: 11-12
Sackcloth, not a word we use in today’s culture, but we see it frequently in scripture, both in the Old and New Testaments. What is sackcloth? Just what it sounds like, cloth to make sacks. My imagination takes me to rough burlap bags. So did the people of biblical times wear burlap bags? Not exactly. According to Illustrated Manners and Customs of the Bible by Packer and Tenney, sackcloth was dark in color with a coarse texture and made from goat’s hair. In times of extreme sorrow, the Israelites wore this rough material next to their skin. Sackcloth was a symbol of mourning and was also a sign of repentance.
Let that sink in, an outward sign of repentance, of turning away from sin and toward God, of being sorry for sin. The sorrowful Israelite would tear his clothing then clothe himself in sackcloth, place ashes on his head and then sit in the ashes. Total sorrow. Mourning of sin.
When we acknowledge our sin and realize how it grieves our heavenly Father there should be mourning. It should be like putting on spiritual sackcloth. The memory of that sin feeling rough, prickly, painful. Shame and guilt troubling the sorrowful soul. But when we cry out to God for forgiveness, He graciously forgives. The atoning sacrifice of Christ Jesus makes it possible for Him to turn our wailing into dancing. He removes the spiritual sackcloth and clothes us with joy.
Jesus died for your sin and mine. Accept Him as your Lord and Savior and receive His gift of eternal life.
“ ‘Even now,’ declares the Lord, ‘return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.’ Rend you heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and He relents from sending calamity. Who knows? He may turn and have pity and leave behind a blessing.” Joel 2:12-14
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
Susan Sims Meyer
Thoughts and paintings from my personal quiet time and Bible study