The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.Isaiah 40:8(NASB)
Comparisons, contrasts, metaphors, and similes are all used by God to get a point across to His listeners or to teach those, who are justified by faith, an important biblical fact. However, when the Lord God reiterates a truth, it is because He wants to emphasise a matter and we would do well to listen to the Word of the Lord and to read, mark, learn, inwardly digest, and take to heart all that He has to teach us and to apply it in our life.
It was the Spirit of God that moved over the face of the earth, in the beginning, to bring light and life to a darkened world. God's Holy Spirit breathed life into the empty shell of Adam, causing man to become a living soul, who was made in the image and likeness of God. And just as the Spirit of God caused the breath of life to trigger the creation into being and breathes new life into the one who is born from above, He is also the One Who causes flowers to fade and the grass to wither with a single blast of His nostrils.
It was also the Holy Spirit of God who moved holy men of God to pen the Old Testament Scripture and cause the New Testament prophets and apostles to write the gospels and epistles, which are so necessary for our learning, if we are to grow in grace, mature in the faith and live a life that is honouring to the Lord, in thought, word and deed. Yes, the Holy Spirit uses willing people, different forms of grammar, repetition, and typology to get our attention - and we would do well to take heed.
For 39 chapters Isaiah had been warning the people of Israel of forthcoming judgement and the need to repent of their sins, to turn back to God, and to hearken to His Word of truth. Judah would soon have to face years of captivity in Babylon as well as a long-term global dispersion because of their disobedience.
But Israel would not harken to the Word of the Lord, and the prophet Isaiah used withering grasses and the fading flowers of the field to illustrate the transient nature of mans’ life, in an attempt to encourage Israel to repent of their sin, leave their apostate ways and turn back to the Lord.
Isaiah used the familiar grasses and flowers that grew everywhere to show the contrast between with the permanence and stability of God’s eternal Word, with the fleeting nature of wayside grasses and fading flowers, "for the grass withers and the flowers fades; but the word of our God stands forever."
The stark comparison of the fleeting life of a frail little flower with the transient passage of human existence is intensified by the striking contrast of the permanently established and eternally enduring Word of God. How feeble and frail is the transitory, impermanence of all humanity and yet how steadfast and secure is the Word of the Lord – for God has even placed His Word above His holy Name.
All human life is like grass, which appears as nothing more than evaporating vapour, which lasts for a little while but quickly vanishes away. Man’s glory is likened to both the grass of the field, which dries up in the noon-day sun and the short-lived flowers, which droop and drop and wither away when the breath of the Lord blows over them. The transitory nature of fallen man whose days are but as grass, is starkly contrasted with the permanence of the everlasting Word of our God, which stands forever and ever.
The Word of the Lord not only refers to the God-breathed scriptures but also to the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ – the incarnate Word of the Father – the eternal Son of God, for He is the only eternally abiding reality in this world - and in the world to come, life everlasting. Let us read, mark, learn, inwardly digest and take to heart all that He is and all that He has to say - and let us apply all that he teaches us, into our lives.
Loving Father, thank You for Your Living Word and Your Written Word. I pray I would love Your Word more every day, and that I would understand the blessing of hiding Your Word in my heart. Thank You for Your everlasting grace and mercy toward foolish, frail humanity, and thank You that Your Word stands forever. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.