. . .to understand the frailties of this flesh.
I know, the title sounds like something else that happened a couple of months ago. However, that particular time of year is pretty unremarkable to me. Rather, it is this time of year, and the next two to three months that will so personally remind me of the truth of the following passage of Scripture:
The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever. (Isaiah 40:6-8)
Allergies. Yes indeed, allergies. And, bad enough where I cannot even concentrate to write. My allergies are utterly effective in reminding me of just how fragile we are as creatures. We really do have some very narrow limits in which we can live, and even narrower limits in which we can function effectively and accomplish things.
You know, we really do think we are something. We think we are strong, able to adapt, and highly intelligent creatures. However, we are really no more able to withstand the ravages of this world than the grass of the field and flowers of the meadow.
You don’t think so? Allow me to prove it to you.
What happens when, like the grass and flowers, we don’t get enough water? How long can you survive without water?
What about air? How long will you survive without air?
What about clothing and shelter? How long will you survive in 40 degree F. weather with just a light clothing? How long will you withstand 160 degree F. weather? (By the way, the grass survives 40 degree weather just fine)
What about food? How long will you survive without food?
What about companionship? How long before you cannot stand it, and have to have someone there to fellowship with?
In survival training they give a rule, it’s called the “Rule of Threes”
A person can live for:
Three minutes without air.
Three hours without shelter.
Three days without water.
Three weeks without food.
Three months without love.
With only minor variations, it is a pretty hard and fast rule. In short, we are fragile creatures. And here I have not even broached the subject of those little things called bacteria, viruses, and prions (which are rogue proteins that give us the spongiform diseases) which can all kill us, even though we cannot see them, or even detect an infection by them until well after we are infected.
The reality is that we forget just how fragile we really are, as we stay relatively secure and safe most of the time. When this occurs, we forget that we are subject to death at any given moment, and begin to believe we are stronger and smarter than we actually are. We forget from whence we breath air, eat food and drink water. We become just like Belshazzar:
But hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified: . . .(Daniel 5:23)
And we are further reminded in Job:
Yea, surely God will not do wickedly, neither will the Almighty pervert judgment. Who hath given him a charge over the earth? or who hath disposed the whole world? If he set his heart upon man, if he gather unto himself his spirit and his breath; All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust. (Job 34:12-15)
All of which is to remind us of that oh-so important truth we seem to never remember:
And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live. (Deuteronomy 8:2-3)
Which, though spoken to the children of Israel, is applicable to us all by the word of the LORD:
But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:4)
So, what is it that I should take from all this? A clear reminder of the truth spoken by the LORD. It is indeed true that all flesh is grass, and as the flower of the field — here today and gone tomorrow. But look at the last part of the passage from Isaiah:
but the word of our God shall stand for ever
man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.
If then, my nourishment is the word of the LORD, shall not I also live forever?
Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. (John 6:32-35)
Isn’t being beset by physical frailty an excellent reminder that our physical life and health is not what is important; and is to keep us humble so that we may ever remember from whence true life comes?
I should think so . . .