King David wrote some beautiful words in the book of Psalms in the Bible. He said many things we all need to hear and think about. He was a man close to the heart of God, and inspired by the Holy Spirit when he penned these amazing words on the brevity of life:
“As for man, his days are like grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes. When the wind has passed over it, it is no more, and its place acknowledges it no longer.” Psalm 103:15,16
The Bible speaks in metaphors because metaphors are one of the strongest methods of teaching. People tend to remember things better when they associate one thing or idea with another. Here, the writer King David uses another powerful metaphor when he compares our human life, which we hold so dear and consider of great value, with weeds. That’s right, weeds.
Weeds spring up and blossom in a flash, but sometimes last only a few days or weeks. And then, they are gone.
Have you ever picked some lovely flowers of the field, and taken them home to put in a jar? They can be stunningly beautiful, exquisite in appearance. You put them into a container with water in hopes of enjoying their glory for a while: rustic, unspoiled nature in your own kitchen or dining room. I am sure you have found, as everyone does, that the lovely appearance of these flowers does not last very long at all. In fact, you are lucky if they look half as good two days after you picked them. The unfortunate reality is, that which springs up quickly also dies quickly.
This is what the writer is getting at in this poignant verse. Though human life seems to be so very important, so very meaningful, and most of what we do in life we hope lasts a long, long time… human life is painfully transient. It passes away, just like the flower of the field.
Take a moment and do a little thought experiment. Go online and look up some older celebrities, people that were big news just a few years ago. Go back ten years (or even less) and you will find it astonishing how much these people change with time. Once beautiful and envied, now fat and ugly. Once MVP’s at the top of their game, now on crutches. Once everything, now nothing.
It is chilling.
But it’s not only celebrities. It’s everyone. Everybody talks and acts like whatever awesome things they have going will last forever, or at least a very long time. Not many like to think about the brevity of life. But it most surely is a sure thing.
Supermodels might flourish… for a little while. Star athletes might flourish… for a little while. You might flourish… for a little while. But the hard truth is this: your physical, mental, financial, and social life is on a time clock. And when the clock runs down, you don’t get to reset it.
Fortunately, the Bible is a book of hope, not discouragement! While God’s Word lays out some hard realities of life, it also provides some blessed realities of life. Yes, God is a God who loves His people and forever and always gives us His reassuring words of hope. And here they are:
“But the lovingkindness of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children, to those who keep His covenant and remember His precepts to do them.” Psalm 103:17,18
God’s promise to us is unchanging. His lovingkindness covers us without fail, and it lasts for all time and forever!
When we take a good hard look at the brevity of life, when we see how it all passes away so quickly, the strong becomes weak, the beautiful becomes ugly, the healthy becomes sick…. it is heartbreaking. Mankind’s life might not offer much to get excited about.
But God’s love… that is quite a different story. David reminds us of what is truly lasting, and it turns out to be the best possible thing to last forever: God’s eternal love toward His people.