The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of…
The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever. (Isaiah 40:8)
What is the nature of the Bible and how should we relate to it? Should we take its words seriously? Can we rely on them? Or are they just interesting artifacts from ancient times that say something about those times, but say nothing to us?
After all, we live in a world of change. Nothing stays the same. The only constant seems to be that there is nothing constant. Things come and things go. Isaiah spoke, but Isaiah was a mere man. Men say all sorts of things. Why take Isaiah’s word more seriously than any other man’s?
Indeed, Isaiah seems to have undermined his own message. He likened people to grass and said, “All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the LORD blows on it” (Isaiah 40:6-7). Does this not apply to Isaiah himself? Are not his words the mere words of a withering blade of grass? People come and people go and their words come to naught. Why should anything be different in his case?
Isaiah, however, does not draw this conclusion. Although he was a withering blade of grass and a fading flower of the field like everyone else, he proclaimed his message not as his own but as the fixed and firm word of God Himself. Isaiah knew he would fade away, but he also knew that his words would stand forever because they came from a place above and beyond his transient existence.
In this ever changing world we live in people desperately search for words that will stand fixed and firm; they frantically search for words that speak unchanging truth about our world. Those of us granted the eyes to see and the ears to hear believe that Isaiah’s words, along with all the words of the Bible, broke into this temporal world of ours from heaven above and gave us the eternal words we need. These words have the same status as Jesus’ words, of which He said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away” (Matthew 24:35).
And we know that this is the case by the faith that rises up within us when we hear them, for “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).