It Never Withers
The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.
A few people thrive on change, but for most of us, change threatens us because it shakes the little sense of security we have. Our lives are full of stresses and expectations, and we try hard to stay one step ahead. We cherish the one restaurant we know will give us a great meal, the one vacation spot that always allows us to relax for a while, and the one friend who understands even when we’re confused.
But there’s another source of stability that’s far more important: God’s Word. Throughout the Bible, God tells us that everything around us can change- even the heavens and earth can pass away(Matthew 24:35)- but Gods Word remains rock solid and dependable. What exactly does that mean, and how does it become a rock of stability in our lives?
The Bible doesn’t tell us everything about every problem and opportunity, but it gives clear teaching about the nature of God and clear principles about life. From these, we realize we can trust God through any and every circumstance, and we find direction for handling open doors, closed doors and no doors at all. Culture changes( do you remember bell-bottoms?), age and mobility alter every aspect of our lives except one: the Word of God , which stands forever.
The Bible fits man to life and prepares him for death.
Have you ever wondered how a book written at least a couple thousand years ago and some of it over three thousand years ago is still relevant in our progressing modern world that looks nothing like it did even a hundred years ago? Perhaps it’s because the Author truly understood human nature and though technology and knowledge may have improved or increased, we as people are still the same humans and how we operate hasn’t changed since Adam. Things that bring out the worst in humans such as envy, jealously, hatred, lust and desire for power and prestige still exist a millennium later. The things that being out the best in humanity are still things such as love, peace, and joy. People still need help to navigate life. They still need a higher source of love, power and help.
Some said the only constant thing about change is change itself and in an ever-changing world, we need something constant, something that is a solid anchor, something to hold on to in the ever-shifting environment. Isaiah tells us the the life of a human is like grass that withers and flowers that fade. Wouldn’t it be nice to have the wisdom and knowledge at this stage in life when you were a teen? Do you think that might influence you to make different decisions? Can you remember all the fads, the must-haves in bygone days? How many of them are still surviving? Oh to be sure there are attempts to retro things but the retro is still not exactly like the original. Things like fashion, house decor and automobiles seem to try to cycle through some of the same types of styles but the new version is still quite different than the original. Those of us who have passed the half-century mark have begun to realize the brevity of life. We’ve noticed that everything changes including our minds and bodies and certainly our norms. We need something that will last beyond this lifetime, something we can pin our hopes and dreams on. And the writer of Proverbs gives us that solid unchanging rock upon which to anchor: the Word of God. It’s the only instruction guide that continues to be effective in addressing the real issues of life. At the heart of every issue of life is the condition of our soul. All the worst behaviors of humans have at their root a sin issue and unless that issue is addressed at its core- the transformation of their soul, they will continue to emerge in some form. No amount of education, economic position or social place can control these impulses. We read that those with incredible levels of education still engage in destructive lifestyles and behaviors and the same with all levels of wealth or social status. Those who have much are just as unhappy as those with little. Those who have great learning still make the same kinds of destructive decisions. Those with elevated social position struggle with the same base struggles; with envy, jealously, and the like. But when we come to the unchanging source of truly living- the Word of God-and begin to apply its principles we find we have a stable foundation upon which to withstand every storm that life brings.
Most of us who live on the east coast don’t know about the experience of earthquakes that can shake the foundations of everything. In the 1906 earthquake of San Francisco, people went to bed the night before making plans and dreaming of their futures only to wake the next morning to discover that overnight their world had turned upside down. What they believed was solid security turned almost immediately an unstable world. Their homes gone, their jobs gone, their social activities vanished and for some their loved ones no longer in the picture. Everything that they could depend on was gone almost instantly. Thankfully most of us never experience such magnitude of devastation, but we do experience the instability of life. Before the pandemic many of us took lots of things for granted. Our lives were normal and secure and almost overnight, it all changed. For almost two years now we have woke everyday to more change, more conflicting information, and more disruptions in our lives. How do we cope with such things? Proverbs reminds us that everything in life is grass and flowers. Everything withers and faces but those who put their trust in the Word of God have found an unchanging, solid, sure foundation.
Jesus told us that if we build our lives on grass and flowers we may not survive but if we dig down and build our lives on Christ the Rock, no storm can uproot us. Anchor down, ride out the storm and hang on.
Dr. John Thompson