The Permanent Word
The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.
~ Isaiah 40:8
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, Raamses, Genghis Kahn, Alexander the Great, the Caesars, and Suleyman 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 throughout the centuries.
A number of mighty men from Assyria and Babylon brought their military strength to bear upon the tiny nation of Israel during Isaiah’s lifetime. 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 on the Israelites with even greater force than they did. But in the midst of Israel’s most difficult days, Isaiah brought words of comfort to God’s people (Isaiah 40–66). The words made so familiar by Handel’s Messiah, “Comfort, comfort my people,” were God’s words through Isaiah to his people (Isaiah 40:1).
How could comfort be found in the middle of such national confusion? Because the men of power who were coming against Israel were “like grass”; for all their power and glory, from heaven’s perspective they were “like the flowers of the field” (Isaiah 40:6)—fragile, flimsy, easily crushed. Just as the hot August winds wither grass and flowers, so the breath of God withers even the most powerful person.
But is it only the brutal, the evil, who are like grass? No! Isaiah says that “all men are like grass”: the good, the evil, the profound, the simple, the brilliant, and the base.
Human glory is temporary and fleeting. But there is something that outlasts humanity: the words that God speaks. Our confidence is in the strength of God’s word. Are you prepared to hear His word to you?
Father, thank you for Your everlasting word, which determines what has lasting value. Amen.
~ Ken Boa
Dr. Boa is devoted to a ministry of relational evangelism and discipleship, teaching, writing, and speaking. He holds a B.S. in astronomy from Case Institute of Technology, a Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary, a Ph.D. from New York University, and a D.Phil. from the University of Oxford in England.