The Permanent Word
Without pausing to debate the degree of their goodness, we can agree that some very powerful leaders and rulers have cast their shadow across the pages of time. Sennacherib, Nebuchadnezzar, Darius, Ramases, Genghis Khan, Alexander the Great, the Caesars, and Suleiman the Magnificent fill the annals of history with their mighty exploits. Science, art, literature, medicine, politics—all of the realms of reason and passion have been explored and their ceilings raised by the combined human efforts of men and women through the centuries.
A number of mighty men from Assyria and Babylon brought their military strength to bear upon the tiny nation of Israel during the lifetime of the prophet Isaiah. These powerful Mesopotamian countries were mammoth compared to tiny Israel. Had it not been for God’s intervention and providential timing, they would have swept down from Galilee to Jerusalem with even greater force than they did. But in the midst of the difficult days of Israel’s travail, Isaiah brought words of comfort to Israel (Isaiah 40-66). The words made so familiar by Handel’s Messiah, “Comfort, comfort my people” were God’s words through Isaiah to Israel (Isaiah 40:1). And how could there be comfort in the middle of such national confusion? Because the men of power who were coming against Israel were “like grass” (Isaiah 40:6). As the breath of God withers grass, so the breath of God withers man.
But is it only the brutal, the evil, who are grass? No, all men are like grass, Isaiah says. The good, the evil, the profound, the simple, the brilliant, and the base. No man or woman can stand before God in supposed glory; man’s only glory is temporary and fleeting. But there is something that outlasts man, and that is the words that God speaks to man. Whatever God says to man—whether “Come . . . take your inheritance” or “Depart from me” (Matthew 25:34, 41)—is what will last. Our confidence is not in our accomplishments nor our fear in the lack of them. Our confidence is in the strength of His word. Are you prepared to hear His word to you?
God’s Promise to You: “My word is what determines what has lasting value.”
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