The Fading and the Abiding
Isaiah 40:6-8
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. "ALL FLESH IS GRASS." The prophet describes man by this name of "flesh," as that which strikingly sets forth his general state and ordinary habits. What is man? Is not the care of the flesh his grand concern? — the pampering the body, the gratifying its senses, or fulfilling the lusts thereof? Here and there, indeed, we meet with one who has broken its trammels;, whose soul, rising up on the wings of faith and love, seeks for happiness in God; but when we look at the world at large, we are compelled to say that it is a world whose aims, pleasures, pursuits, are earthly. Yet how vain are these pursuits! "All flesh is grass"; that is, like the grass it is liable to various casualties. If it abides to its utmost duration it soon withers and is gone. The blade when it has only just sprung above the ground may be trodden under foot, may be parched by the heat, cut off by the cold, or withered by the blight; may be plucked by the hand, or mowed down by the scythe; thus is it with man. No sooner does he appear in the world than some little casualty may at once deprive him of life. This is the state of all — "for all flesh is as grass, and all the goodliness thereof as the flower of the field": "the wind passeth over it and it is gone, and the place thereof shall know it no more!" But is there no difference? Surely there are some distinctions. Yes, there are, and as Archbishop Leighton observes, this difference is beautifully expressed by the inspired writer — "the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field." When we enter a field, it is not so much the common blade which attracts the eye. It is the flower — those various beautiful ornaments with which the creative power of God has adorned the face of the earth. So there are various external embellishments which distinguish some from the ordinary race of men. Every soul, indeed, is of inestimable value. Still, it must be confessed that there are properties which some possess which are more attractive — youth, beauty, honours, talent. But what are they all? But the flower of the grass. They partake of the fading nature of the plants from which they spring.

II. THE WORD OF GOD IS AS ABIDING AS HIMSELF; and this notwithstanding all the attempts that have been made, by wicked men instigated by evil spirits, to destroy it. This has been their constant aim, for the Word of God has been their constant dread.

1. It abides in its doctrines. These are not evanescent theories, like some of the dicta of the philosophers; they are eternal truths.

2. Its promises endure. Its sanctions also stand for ever; namely, the rewards and punishments which are there made known. Let those who are now surrounded with many temporal blessings regard them as flowers, which the goodness of God provides to sweeten their present path; still set not your hearts upon them; they are but short-lived gifts, fading flowers. There is but one flower that will never fade, "The Rose of Sharon."

(J. H. Stewart, M. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: 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:

WEB: The voice of one saying, "Cry!" One said, "What shall I cry?" "All flesh is like grass, and all its glory is like the flower of the field.

The Earthly Transitory: the Heavenly Enduring
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