Stop trusting in mere humans, who have but a breath in their nostrils. Why hold them in esteem? Isaiah 2:22
The book of Isaiah is one of my favorites in the Bible, and I love the last half of the book especially, where the prophet employs glorious imagery as God promises to bring his people back to himself. The words from those chapters come easily to me: the Lord has chosen us and not rejected us; the waters will not sweep over us; the Maker is our husband.
But before the prophet was given these promises, the Lord first addressed the human arrogance and sin. As we see in this week’s reading, God named the Israelites’ sin of trusting in themselves. And he revealed the folly in doing so – they “have but a breath in their nostrils.” We may not live as if our lives are fleeting, believing instead that we are invincible as we move from one important activity to another. But if we stand back and consider the sweep of time, we see that our lives here on earth are just a blip.
That might sound depressing. I don’t mean it to be, for as we know from Scripture, the two things to remain are the word of God and his redeemed people who will live with him forever. So while we do have breath, may we trust not in ourselves or others, but in God. We can consciously turn to him for the big questions and the small. What shall I do next? What should our church’s mission be? How can I love my neighbor? As we turn our faces to the Lord, we can see in our mind’s eye him showering us with his wisdom, as if gold dust floating down to us in the sky.
Reflection: “There are no ‘ordinary’ people. You have never talked to a mere mortal… It is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit – immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.” CS Lewis, The Weight of Glory