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:…
I. THE WEAK AND PERISHABLE NATURE OF THINGS OF EARTH. The word translated "goodliness" signifies excellency. Every sort of excellency. Is it external? Beauty of person, strength of frame, the influence which rank, title, wealth, power, family bestow? It is but as grass, the withering flower. Is it internal? The highest order of intellect, the finest imagination, the soundest judgment, most retentive memory? But the word is wider still. It takes in all moral excellency, truth, justice, benevolence, morality, and all the external decencies of that sort of religion which often is taken for the true religion of the heart, yet is not such. It embraces that in which we are so prone to confide, human power, our own wisdom; all are as grass, as separated from the Word of God, and the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit. The wind of deep inward temptation, of sore trial, does but pass over it, and it is gone. If man deal with us, we find it sometimes a very solemn thing, how much more when God deals with us. When He comes in the convincing power of His Spirit, in the solemn hour of death, and in the thoughts of immediate appearance before Him, ah! how wither then the flowers that have seemed the fairest. But in the midst of all that fades and perishes and is not, there is, blessed be God, that which standeth for ever.
II. THE ABIDING CHARACTER OF "THE WORD OF OUR GOD." This is true in whatever sense we take it. Is it the decree of God? (Isaiah 46:10.) Is it His written and revealing Word? (Isaiah 55:9, 10.) Is it His law? (Matthew 5:18.) But by "the Word" here, is especially and pre-eminently meant the Gospel (1 Peter 1:23-25). The Gospel stands upon the immutable perfections of God. There is not an attribute that does not uphold it. "The Word of our God shall stand for ever." It shall stand amidst all the instability of the creature, amidst all the faithlessness of man, amidst all the unfaithfulness and unbelief of our own hearts. Is the grass to be despised, the flower to be scorned? Be thankful for them while you have them, admire that God who is in them, their chief Beauty, their only real Beauty. Be thankful, seek the right use of them by seeking to glorify God in them. Is it strength of body? strength of intellect? Use them for Him, and in His service. But remember, they fade as you behold, and wither as you use them. Hold them as perishable memorials of the imperishable God. How real are the blessings of the Gospel when realised in the soul! The righteousness of Christ. It stands, it is everlasting (Daniel 9:24). Consolation is everlasting (2 Thessalonians 2:16). Light, everlasting (Isaiah 60:19). Love, everlasting (Jeremiah 31:3). Life, eternal (Romans 6:23). The blessings in the Gospel are durable riches, because the Gospel endureth. Why is it that there is so much instability among many that yet are true believers? They are not rooted and grounded in Christ.
(J. H. Brans, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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: