A Proverb in a Song: part 10

“Mankind in splendor will not last a night,

he is like the beasts, which are destroyed.”

(Psalm 49:13 {Psalm 49:12 in English Bibles})


Oh, what an important Biblical theme that we have stumbled across in this verse!  The things of this earth are passing away (1 John 2:17); the works of men are like grass and flowers of the field, quickly burned up in the summer sun (James 1:11), and indeed, even the most glorious things that men have placed their names will fall to the dust (1 Peter 1:24).  How true are the words of Isaiah that Peter is drawing from:

The grass withers and the flower falls,

But the word of God will stand up forever.

(Isaiah 40:8)

How quick we are to place our hopes in the things of this world.  How swiftly we are awed by the feats of man’s glory.  People build skyscrapers to demonstrate their engineering prowess, but what is a skyscraper compared to the great mountains of the earth.  People build complex computer chips to manage large amounts of information, but what are even the greatest computer chips in comparison to the human brain?  People build complex factories to manufacture items, but even the most complex factory is simple in comparison to a living cell?  Man designs submarines to explore the depths of the ocean, but what of those creatures that live in those depths in the first place?  The most magnificent creation that we can conjure is nothing in comparison to the creation of God.  He has made things such—in their complexity, majesty, and organization—that we could never dream of creating an equal.  And…let us never forget…God created ex-nihilo.  We are dependant on what God has already made to make whatever it is that we wish to make.  Oh, the arrogance of men who point to their own constructions and gloat.

Beloved, the psalmist is making this point very clear—if what we do is not done for the glory of God, it has no lasting value.  We all end up in the grave and our creations—though they may live generations beyond us—will pass away as well.  Though the ancient Mayan pyramids may still stand, no one knows the names of their architects.  Your immortality can only be granted by God; it will never come as a result of the works of your hand.  How vain it is to seek our glory elsewhere.

About preacherwin

A pastor, teacher, and a theologian concerned about the confused state of the church in America and elsewhere...Writing because the Christian should think Biblically.

Posted on May 24, 2008, in Expositions and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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