Summary: In the midst of withering in this life God gives us permanence in the Word made flesh.
December 4, 2011 Isaiah 40:6-8
A voice says, “Cry out.” And I said, “What shall I cry?” “All men are like grass, and all their loveliness is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the LORD blows on them. Surely the people are grass. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever.”
“What shall I cry?” God didn’t tell him to say, “Tell the people how to meet their full potential. Tell them how they can do whatever they set their minds to. Tell them they are created in the image of God! They’ll love that. They’ll eat that up!” God said, “Here’s what I want you to cry – ‘All men are like grass, withering grass.”
Isaiah was sent to an arrogant people; people that thought God was on their side; that they could never fall. You see, God had sent the Assyrians to wipe out the northern Kingdom, and the Southern Kingdom was about to be wiped out too. Instead, King Hezekiah prayed to the Lord and He gave them a mighty deliverance as 185,000 men were put to death overnight in their sleep. You would think the people would repent at such a close brush with death. Instead, they thought they were invincible. They thought God would never abandon them no matter what they did.
We live in a similar age of arrogance; especially when it comes to science and medicine. Some think that with the ability to read DNA that we will be able to predict and prevent almost all diseases and sicknesses. They are arrogantly wrong. There’s another kind of more subtle arrogance out there; the arrogance of self sufficiency. It is constantly reflected in people who stubbornly try to live life and get by in life while ignoring God and neither listening nor praying to Him; they live as if there were no final Judgment. We also have such evil tendencies. Isaiah’s message to us today is “All men are grass.” God told him to “cry it out.” Don’t keep it to yourself. Don’t be shy about it. Don’t just whisper it. Tell it to yourself. Then let everyone know.
“All Men Are Like Grass.” Cry it Out!
I. It is a hot and withering wind to blow
It can be a very devastating thing when you are confronted with the brevity of life. Sometimes young kids can come down with deadly diseases at an early age. Their classmates and friends die in car crashes, and they are shocked. Nobody ever thought it would happen to them. Just recently one of Hannah’s classmates was having her tonsils removed and something went wrong. The child had to go into ICU and almost died. That’s what happened to Hezekiah right prior to our text. He was told by prophesy that a sickness he had was going to end in death. He said,
“In the prime of my life must I go through the gates of death and be robbed of the rest of my years?” I said, “I will not again see the LORD, the LORD, in the land of the living; no longer will I look on mankind, or be with those who now dwell in this world. Like a shepherd’s tent my house has been pulled down and taken from me. Like a weaver I have rolled up my life, and he has cut me off from the loom; day and night you made an end of me. I waited patiently till dawn, but like a lion he broke all my bones; day and night you made an end of me. I cried like a swift or thrush, I moaned like a mourning dove. My eyes grew weak as I looked to the heavens. I am troubled; O Lord, come to my aid!”