1 Peter 1:24, 25 Identity: Grass

“All people are like grass,
    and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
25     but the word of the Lord endures forever.”[a]

And this is the word that was preached to you.

Grass

The grass of a Mediterranean climate sprouts up in a warm, wet winter, but then it burns away in a hot, dry summer.  People are beautiful, they are made in the image of God.  Look in the eyes of a wizened 80-year-old and you see something that demands respect.  However, people who reach 80 live with a strong sense of their mortality, unless they are fools.  Existentialists are aware of death, but they choose to make sense of life in the face of the absurd idea that all life ends in death.  Nihilists take a darker view, since life ends in death it is utterly meaningless, it is ‘sound and fury signifying nothing.’  The Book of Ecclesiastes seems nihilist at first glance (https://theplymothian.me/2011/09/02/ecclesiastes-intro/) .  ‘”Meaningless, meaningless, everything is meaningless,” writes the author of Ecclesiastes.  However, when we push further we see that meaningless means ‘vaporous’.  Vapour, steam, or mist is around just for a short while and then disappears.  Grass grows for a season and then it dies away.  People have relatively short lives when compared to the age of the earth and the eternity of God.

In contrast with our meaningless existence there is gravity and substance in the things that endure.  A transient person needs rooting in an eternal principle.  we find vain attempts at this when an atheist says, “Life is the chemical reaction that occurs in the brain.  When we die all life ceases.  We may be remembered by loved ones that we leave behind, but that is the end of the life we live.”  Notice how the atheist wants to be remembered by loved ones.  The memory of the community gives weight to their existence that they do not have.  However, if we embody the living word then we have an existence that is meaningful beyond our present life. We become part of the redemption plan which is the gospel.  People are happier and more fulfilled when living for something beyond themselves.  They are able to see beyond the limitations of being grass.

Prayer

Death will come to me sooner than I think.  Help me to be ready for the passing years to be done, for my beauty to have withered.  Help me to trust in the eternal word and step into eternity full of faith and hope.

Questions

  1. How is a person like grass?
  2. How are the eternal and temporal contrasted?
  3. What is the ‘word’ in this passage?
  4. What have older people told you about life?
  5. How are you able to learn from the idea that you are grass, but that you trust in the word?
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About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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3 Responses to 1 Peter 1:24, 25 Identity: Grass

  1. 33324bg says:

    Earlier this week, I listened to the song, “O God, our Help in Ages Past.” Here are the lyrics below.I think they apply well. :

    1. O God, our help in ages past,
    our hope for years to come,
    our shelter from the stormy blast,
    and our eternal home.

    2. Under the shadow of thy throne,
    still may we dwell secure;
    sufficient is thine arm alone,
    and our defense is sure.

    3. Before the hills in order stood,
    or earth received her frame,
    from everlasting, thou art God,
    to endless years the same.

    4. A thousand ages, in thy sight,
    are like an evening gone;
    short as the watch that ends the night,
    before the rising sun.

    5. Time, like an ever rolling stream,
    bears all who breathe away;
    they fly forgotten, as a dream
    dies at the opening day.

    6. O God, our help in ages past,
    our hope for years to come;
    be thou our guide while life shall last,
    and our eternal home.

  2. Christina Zezulak says:

    The verse shows why this part of Isaiah is being quoted in 1 Peter. Peter is explaining how we have been born again with an imperishable seed, through the living and abiding word of God (v. 24). So unlike being of the perishable, the temporary, our hope is imperishable and eternal! Without God, we are like grass. We will wither away, like a vapor. We are like a flower. When we look at flowers or receive them from a loved one, we love to look at them, smell them, and admire them. Yet, their lifespan is short. They do not last, barely a couple of days! Some people receive glory on earth for their successes, contributions, and so on, but it is like a vapor, especially when comparing it to human history. Trusting in His word is all that we have for eternal impact. Praise be to God that our lives will not be in vain but for His glory!

  3. Eric Wildermuth says:

    All people are temporal in their earthly existence; their spirit will continue and receive a new body, but earthly existence will wither and fade. The body becomes decrepit and loses the vivaciousness of life–it fades away.
    My mentor, who is 65 and my grandparents, as well as parents, have passed on invaluable information about how to treat other people, live for God, see the world, and think about what happens in it. One of phrases/slogans(?) that has stuck with me since 8th grade writing/English class is: “people learn from experience, but wise people learn from the experience of others.” My teacher would repeat this often as we read stories where people failed to heed warnings and experience. Many times, when tempted with thoughts of taking a few steps away from God or experimenting with some sin, the Holy Spirit has brought this thought to mind along with scripture and helped me through temptation.
    Thinking of myself as grass and trusting in the word gives me a proper outlook on life. I can’t think of myself too highly or apart from The Word made flesh. Seeing myself in Him, I am reminded who I am apart from Him and who I am with Him. This makes all the difference with eternity in mind.

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