Thursday, December 07, 2017

Depend on what lasts

Image: Pixabay
TODAY’S SPECIAL: Isaiah 40:1-17

TO CHEW ON: “All flesh is grass,
And all its loveliness is like the flower of the field,
The grass withers, the flower fades,
Because the breath of the LORD blows upon it;
Surely the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
But the word of our God stands forever.” - Isaiah 40:6-8

I mark the seasons with photographs. If you took a tour of my photo albums you would see burgeoning life creep into them perhaps as early as February with the first snowdrops and the thickening magnolia buds. By April I can hardly keep up with all the “flowers of the field” popping out in beauty around me. Then in September that record of flower life tapers off. The cold winds of December to January shut it down completely.

Wind testing life’s vigor is what Isaiah pictures in today’s reading. This wind is no weather gale, though, but the breath of God.

I usually think of the breath of God as life-giving (e.g. the creation of Adam:
“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being” - Genesis 2:7 (emphasis added).

Here God’s breath is a test, providing proof of man’s frailty:
The grass withers, the flower fades
Because the breath of the LORD blows
upon it" (emphasis added).

That breath proves the worthiness of another entity through—“the word of our God.” It stands forever. I take that “word” as the things God has decreed will happen, both the things He has revealed in His written word—the Bible—and the secret things known only to Him.

As withering, fading humans, we can lean our weakening selves on that certainty. I like how the writer of my Bible’s study notes o Isaiah expresses it:
“The Spirit-breath of the LORD blows in the life of man, amplifying the frailty of his humanity by picturing man as a fading flower and withering grass. This fading, withering man is both comforted and given strength by the Word of God and the Spirit-breath of God. Failing man must focus his faith on the unfailing Word of God and the unfaltering resources of the Spirit of God” - Nathaneal Van Cleave, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 918 (my emphasis).

PRAYER: Dear Father, help me to be realistic about my fragility and limited lifespan. Help me to shift my confidence away from the false security of people and all mankind has accomplished, to the lasting rock of Your Word. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...