Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Shadow

And Job pleaded with his Creator, “Remember that you have made me like clay; and will you return me to the dust?” Job 10:9.   And David assures us, “For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust,” Psalm 103:14.  “Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature,” Genesis 2:7. “When I look at the heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” Psalm 8:3-4.  In comparison to many of the greater creation wonders, we are so small and powerless set before their majesty.    When God chooses to interrupt the dialogue in the book of Job, He first reminds them of their deficiencies in knowledge, “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?  Tell me, if you have understanding.  Who determined its measurements – surely you know!  Or who stretched the line upon it?  On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” Job 38:4-7.  Furthermore, their deficiencies in power.  “Is it by your understanding that the hawk soars and spreads his wings toward the south?  Is it at your command that the eagle mounts up and makes his nest on high?”  Job 39:26-27.  At best, apart from God, we are beautified dust.  “All go to one place. All are from the dust, and to dust all return,” Ecclesiastes 3:20.

It is difficult to propose that our characteristically weak natures are also the crown of creation.  “Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor,” Psalm 8:5.  It does not register logically that God would ordain the physically and emotionally frail human over every living thing.  “You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet,” Psalm 8:6.

“As a lily among brambles, so is my love among the young women,” Song of Songs 2:2.  The Lady from Shullam is immortalized in the metaphors of fragile, white petals.  Her delicate flesh is settled among thorns.  Humanities frame is likened again unto flowers in Isaiah 40:6-8, “All flesh is grass, and its beauty (or constancy) is like the flower of the field.  The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the Lord blows on it; surely the people are grass.  The grass withers, the flower fades…”  The strength and longevity of humanity in comparison to Deity is less than the force of withering grass and fading flowers.  In a plea for help from his Maker, Job cried out, “Remember that my life is a breath,” chapter 7, verse 7.  David agrees in Psalm 144:3-4, “O Lord, what is man that you regard him, or the son of man that you think of him?  Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.”  A shadow.  A vapor.  All of the metaphors recreate our image as being fragile, fading, and weak.  Everyday, as humans, we must trust Divinity and dust to sustain us. …

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