Thursday, March 31, 2016
the Word of the Lord stands forever
What really, really lasts?
In earthly terms, the simple answer is nothing.
Nothing in and of this world lasts.
What we strive so desperately to possess today... what we obsess to obtain... what we hope to accomplish in our careers, with our families, in our "moments"... yes, all of it will one day pass away. Our traditions will be lost. Our hopes will be forgotten. Everything we know will fade. Dust in the wind, if you will. All of us are dust in the wind.
For all men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever. (1 Peter 1:24-25)
I've been thinking about this reality for several difficult years. Moments when I've witnessed a man of extreme poverty stare tearfully into my eyes while holding his starving, sick child up and hoping for a miracle. Moments when someone who had ignorantly abused me most of my life suddenly passed away in humble frailty and silence. Moments when good friends that I care about continue to face life-threatening health concerns jeopardizing the possibility of every tomorrow. Yes, it's been a "mouth-shutting" few years of moments where my own whims and desires continue to prove petty - even ridiculous - in comparison to the needs of so many who live without: without encouragement... without love... without eternity... without holy health... without lasting hope.
Yes, all men are like grass. All our glory... all our moments, both cherished and disgraceful, are temporary, worthless vanity. "Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away." (Psalm 144:4) Yes, we will each indeed wither like the flowers picked from the field. Flowers that now sit in plain view in the vase on my coffee table. Every day another petal falls. Each second less of their earthly life remains, as does ours. And when our days are through, each of us will leave behind our belongings for others to use and ultimately dispose of or leave behind again. Belongings that will also one day be dust. Riches and treasures of this earth - gone. Whatever seems so earth shattering today, will mean nothing tomorrow. For nothing really lasts. We simply cannot last as we are. You see, our world is a dying land. Our lives are infected with the corrupted, the broken, the deteriorating effects of sin.
But (and this is the most important "but"...), the word of the Lord stands forever!
For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does. (Psalm 33:4)
What, you ask, is the Word of the Lord? What lasts? What remains? What matters so much that it... that HE is faithful and able to stand forever and ever? Tell me, what can really last and reach eternal grandeur and ultimate glory? Certainly not any of us. Certainly not the buzz of celebrities, or the opinions of politicians, or the wealth of the rich and famous, or the popularity of the renowned, or the strength of the mighty, or the intelligence of the brilliant.... no, all of us are dust in the wind. Thankfully, the good news is this: According to scripture, the Word of the Lord is Jesus! Yes, JESUS! And the kingdom of Jesus is eternal!!!
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1, 12-14)
He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. (Revelation 19:13)
No matter what part of scripture you read, I encourage you to see how frequently the Word of the Lord (Jesus) is indeed living, present, and active in the lives of dusty, broken men. Notice in the Old Testament alone how many times He makes himself available to us. (Here is just a sampling...)
The word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward." (Genesis 15:1) Then the word of the LORD came to Samuel... (1 Samuel 15:10) That night the word of the LORD came to Nathan... (2 Samuel 7:4) The word of the LORD came to Solomon... (1 Kings 6:11) Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah... (1 Kings 17:2) Before Isaiah had left the middle court, the word of the LORD came to him... (2 Kings 20:4) So David went up in obedience to the word that Gad had spoken in the name of the LORD... (1 Chronicles 21:19) The word came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah... (Jeremiah 25:1) The word of the LORD came to Ezekiel the priest... (Ezekiel 1:3) Daniel understood the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD... (Daniel 9:2) The word of the LORD that came to Hosea... (Hosea 1:1) The word of the LORD that came to Joel... (Joel 1:1) The word of the LORD came to Jonah... (Jonah 1:1) The word of the LORD that came to Zephaniah... (Zephaniah 1:1) The word of the LORD came to the prophet Haggai... (Haggai 2:1) The word of the LORD came to Israel through Malachi... (Malachi 1:1)...
Friends, it is a certainty that we need the Word of the Lord to survive and flourish! For without Jesus, nothing can last. Without knowing and abiding in Him, our lives amount to nothing. For we are, indeed, dust. But (and there's that wonderful "but" again...), thankfully, the throne of Jesus Christ stands forever! And through Him we are offered a new life to live as we take on His Name as our own! We are invited to be dust born again as new creatures in Christ! WOO HOO! Yes, through the living and enduring Word of God we have God's promise of encouragement, love, eternity, health, and hope... FOREVERMORE! Glory!
For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God. Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. (1 Peter 18:23)
Knowing this truth, shall we not begin this new day studying to know the Word of the Lord better? Shall we not live our lives seeking His Way, His Truth, His Life - being doers of what He has said and not just hearers? Shall we not focus all our time, energy, efforts, and goals on His glory and message rather than wasting these earthly moments away in selfish vanity? Jesus has paved the only way for our souls to become more than dusty remnants of death. He has shed His blood and shared His message to save us... TO SAVE YOU AND ME FOREVER! So, won't you place all your faith and trust in His full care today and forevermore? Abide in the Savior and do all you can to fully know and apply His Word! For only Jesus is eternal. Only in His kingdom can you also stand forever!
Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. (Romans 10:17)
Lord, we give you everything - our whole lives! Please reveal yourself regularly and infiltrate our heart, our soul, our mind, our strength with Your Word! May we know You intimately and give you full glory in every moment. Abide in us forevermore so that we may worship your holy presence always!
If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 4:11)
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