A voice says, “Cry!” And I said, “What shall I cry?” All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the LORD blows on it; surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever. (Isaiah 40:6-8)
As I’m writing this, it’s a dreary, damp, gusty afternoon. A chill is in the air, and the leaves on the trees are changing to shades of yellow. The cornfield beyond them continues to brown as it nears being ready to harvest. I love this time of year! I love taking drives to see the fall colors. I love that the hot, sticky days of summer are gone. I don’t mind that the season to follow brings all that white stuff and the promise of ice fishing…but let’s stick with fall for a few more weeks!
You know as well as I do that as beautiful as the foliage is, it’s a sign of the leaves dying and preparing to fall off the trees. Soon enough, it will still be fall, but it will be time to rake all the leaves up off the ground. The beautiful view as we look out and up will be filled with bare sticks and tree limbs for about the next five months.
This time of year always seems to bring me back to Isaiah 40—to this reminder that we and our glory, as the NIV puts it, are bound to wither and fade like grass and flowers. That’s kind of a bummer, isn’t it? Maybe we think about the fall colors or even the most vibrant flowers that have bloomed over the summer months and wish we could have those all the time! Part of me says, though, if that were the case, we’d just get used to them. They wouldn’t be so special for the short number of weeks that we get them each year. We know the comparison holds truth, though. As much as people talk about legacy and creating something that will last beyond our years, our lives are short! We are to live and enjoy what God gives and honor him with how we live our lives. We are to bear fruit for a time, but eventually we are gone from this earth. We’ll be forgotten.
Yet something remains in the passage, …The word of our God will stand forever.” What is that “word”? If we broaden out in Isaiah 40, we see this is a passage in which God is proclaiming comfort to his people. He’s proclaiming the coming of the Messiah, the hope of Israel! The almighty, everlasting God, who all humanity is to put their hope in and find strength and renewal will be revealed and remain! Living on the New Testament side of history, we know that the word of God standing forever is ultimately the gospel of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior who came and lived obediently, died and rose again for our atonement, forgiveness and salvation, and has ascended and reigns—and we await his return!
I know I just said if we had flowers blooming year-round and vibrant colors on trees throughout every season, they wouldn’t be so special, but this is different. Or at least, it should be! It can be easy after some time, having heard about what Jesus offers hundreds if not thousands of times, to just check that off in our lives and move on. Yet every one of us daily needs our Savior, we daily need the faithfulness of God, we always need his love. The word of the Lord is not a creature like the grass, the flowers, the leaves or like us. The word of the Lord comes from the everlasting God, the Creator and Redeemer, who promises to never leave his people and who is renewing all things! The LORD stands forever. Turn to him, continue to see him as special, and never forget his beauty!