The Grass and the Word

Isaiah 40:6-8

“A voice commanded me to proclaim, but I asked, ‘What shall I proclaim?’ The answer came ‘All flesh is like plant life. It shall wither and be consumed as God breathes upon it. People are like the plants in their transitory nature. Although plants and humankind alike shall pass away, God’s Word shall endure forever’” (paraphrased).

In these verses, an anonymous dialogue takes place. The fact that the speakers in this text are not identified brings the message into bold perspective. Perhaps it is between Isaiah and an angel. Perhaps Isaiah is talking to himself, musing over this powerful truth. Who is speaking to whom we are not told (v. 6) and is really not important. The question poised by the voice is, “What shall I say?” The answer comes immediately: “All humankind is as perishable as grass.”

Contrasted with a human lifespan, plant life is relatively short. Like the grass, humans are weak, mortal and feeble. Humans, like grass, die when God “blows upon it.” Jehovah’s will controls the “winds” that control all life, whether it be plant, animal or human.

The New Testament affirms the truth of this passage (I Peter 1:24). The contrast is between the perishable nature of man and the imperishable nature of God’s Word. Plants and human beings alike will perish, but His Word never will. We are finite, but His Word is infinite. Bible truth that blessed Christians hundreds of years ago will bless us also.

The command to herald this message is directed to the prophet Isaiah. The voice says to proclaim something. Isaiah asks what is to be proclaimed. The answer is that “All flesh is like grass and flowers; here today, gone tomorrow.”

Isaiah has already stated that the drunks in Ephraim are like fading flowers (28:1). Whether Jews or Babylonians, all people are transitory in God’s sight. The Babylonian rule seemed horribly permanent, but Isaiah assures them of its ultimate demise. God’s Word and His authority will continue unchanged throughout the rise and fall of all nations who oppose Him. Isaiah affirms to the exiles that Jehovah’s promises will stand the test of time. Although the kingdoms of Babylon, Assyria, Egypt and Rome have all faded away, the Bible continues to endure.

Isaiah makes the contrast crystal clear. Like the grass, humankind is frail and weak in comparison to God’s eternal Word. Every gravestone is a silent testimony to this fact. Since life is so very frail, what can be absolutely relied upon? The Lord, like His Word, is strong and permanent. His nature, like His Word, cannot decay. Though life may seem to overwhelm us, His Word alone is reliable. “Heaven and earth may pass away, but my Word will never pass away” (Matthew 24:35).

Note that He is “our God,” the God of all who put faith in Who He is and what He says in His Word. “Our God” is a phrase used by those who have collectively put faith in the Messiah as their Savior.

Beautiful people, like pretty flowers, are subject to decay. To those who are not born again believers, all extreme makeovers and cosmetic surgeries will burn off in hell. But the Word of God promises to those who love Him a body that will never decompose. Nothing here on earth has any true permanence except the eternal Word of God. Read it today to prepare for tomorrow.

Maxim of the Moment

The bankrupt man is the man who has lost his enthusiasm. - H.W. Arnold