Friday, October 23, 2009

Eternal things

This fall’s weather seems to have a twisted sense of humor. Where I live, we had record-breaking warm temperatures one week, up to 34° C, but less than two weeks later parts of our province dropped to - 28° C. The green leaves froze on the trees and even though we are back to norms of about 10° during the day, those leaves have not turned gold. If they were green when the cold snap came, they remain that way, freeze-dried on the branches.

God’s author’s of Scripture use nature’s phenomena to illustrate spiritual realities. James writes of trials that God uses to show us the most important things in life. For instance, trusting God will last, but trusting money will not. For one thing, money does not last. For another, neither do we. 

For no sooner has the sun risen with a burning heat than it withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beautiful appearance perishes. So the rich man also will fade away in his pursuits. (James 1:11)
When I die, all the stuff that I have might be left behind, or it could as Jesus said, be subject to moth or rust or thieves and vanish before I die. Either way, our relationship will end. My dependency on my computer will no longer have any value. The comforts of home and the usefulness of my stuff will be meaningless. James wants me to remember that, and instead rely on that which has eternal value. 

Here is a short list of some things that do not wither or fade away.
•    God Himself. The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. (Deuteronomy 33:27)
•    God’s Word. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever. (Isaiah 40:8)
•    God’s rule. The Lord shall reign forever and ever. (Exodus 15:18)
•    Sustenance in God’s Kingdom. Along the bank of the river, on this side and that, will grow all kinds of trees used for food; their leaves will not wither, and their fruit will not fail. They will bear fruit every month, because their water flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for medicine. (Ezekiel 47:12)
•    Souls that trust Jesus. Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. (John 6:47)
•    Souls that do not trust Jesus. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power. (2 Thessalonians 1:9)
•    God’s work. I know that whatever God does, it shall be forever. Nothing can be added to it, and nothing taken from it. God does it, that men should fear before Him. (Ecclesiastes 3:14)
•    God’s mercy. Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. (Psalm 136:1)

There are more verses and many repeat these same things. The last one also uses the images of nature. Today, this is the one I will think of as I look out my window at the freeze-dried trees that were stopped cold in their tracks. Although that will also happen to me someday, it will not be the end because I am a servant of Jesus and because He is the author of Life. Revelation 22:1-5 says,

And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.

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