Psalm 90:5


And fade away suddenly as the grass. The strength of this poetical figure can only be fully recognized, by those who, know the. peculiarities of grass in the hot Eastern countries. "In the East one night's rain works a change as if by magic. The field at evening was brown, parched, and as a desert; in the morning it is green with the blades of grass. The scorching hot wind blows upon it, and again before evening it is withered."

I. A LESSON FROM THE FRAILTY OF THE GRASS, It is little more than a blade. Compare with plant, shrub, or tree. A delicate trembling thing. It comes too suddenly, and grows too quickly, to give us any impression of strength. So the apostle reminds us that "all flesh" is as frail as grass. We are here today, tremble today, and are gone tomorrow. "Surely every man's life is but a vanity."

II. A LESSON FROM THE PERILS OF THE GRASS. From insect, from flood, from drought, from wind, from the scythe of the mower. So are the perils that attend human life many and varied. Hereditary tendencies, diseases, results of vice, unhealthy situations and occupation, accidents. Well did the hymn writer say -

"Strange that a harp of thousand strings Should keep in tune so long." A considerable proportion of a population die in infancy or in youth; a vast proportion die of preventible disease; an alarming proportion die of Divine judgments on sinful indulgence; and a considerable proportion die through the uncertainty that attaches to the working of man-made machinery. "In the midst of life we are in death." "Be ye also ready; for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of man cometh."

III. A LESSON FROM THE BRIEF LIFE OF THE GRASS. Growing up in the morning, and withered by night, it has but its little day in which to do its work. There can be no wasting of the few moments, the "little while," which represent the human life of even the longest lived. The brevity of our life puts supreme importance into the passing moment. "Now is the accepted time."

IV. A LESSON FROM THE MISSION OF THE GRASS. Frail as it is, brief as is its life, the grass has its work; and it has but to be faithful to the measure of power it has, and the length of time it abides. It has a mission to the soil, to the atmosphere, to the cattle, and to man. So we have our mission; it is precise to our powers; it is limited to the time of our sojourn. And, however little, it fits into the great plan of God for the well being of the race. - R.T.







Thou carriest them away as with a flood.
The Israelites had not yet witnessed the swellings of Jordan, through which, by their Maker's presence and power, they were to pass dry-shod; but they had witnessed — and never could they forget, — the watery ramparts of the Red Sea, where, rejoicing in their God, they walked through the flood on foot, which the Egyptians essaying to do, were drowned. And while standing safe and victorious on the opposite shore, full of recollections of the country which they had left, they can contrast the regular, pacific, fertilizing flood of Egypt's river with the sudden and overwhelming inundation their eyes now behold, that awful flood which carries away their foes, when Pharaoh and his chosen captains, and their chariots and horsemen, and all their multitude are, in a moment, covered by the depths, and sink into the bottom like a stone; yea, the flood covers them, they sink as lead in the mighty waters.

1. The general idea intended to be conveyed by the phraseology before us is — destruction, fell, certain destruction, for such is the invariable consequence of a flood like that which is here supposed.

2. Such is the general idea intended by the phraseology before us; but connected with this, there are several special and subordinate ideas, which seem descriptive of some of the accompaniments of that visitation of Providence which is here referred to.(1) The destruction caused by a flood is sudden. And this is a circumstance which adds, in no small degree, to the terrors of such a scene.(2) The destruction which is caused by a flood is as indiscriminate as it is sudden. Wherever the flood spreads, it leaves some traces of its ravages. Like death, it has no respect of persons or property. It will enter kings' palaces as readily as the hovels of the poor; it will assail the crowded streets and densely-peopled lanes of a city equally with the lonely tenants of the sequestered vale. And it is no less indiscriminating as to the victims whom it engulphs. On it rushes with undistinguishing and resistless speed, passing by none upon its course, pitying none, sparing none.(3) There is this other peculiarity in the ravages of a flood, like that which is here supposed, viz. that in its progress it is irresistibly powerful. So long as the fury of the torrent lasts, human skill and human prudence are altogether futile.

3. Now, if you combine together these different ideas, viz. that a flood presents the imago of certain destruction — that in its approach it is sudden — in its ravages indiscriminate — in its progress irresistible, you will perceive with what propriety it is here employed as an emblem of death.

(N. Morren, M.A.)

Like grass which groweth up
1. It is in vain to seek for a paradise or a home in this poor, delusive world.

2. After all, we ought not to weep too much over the vanity of life. Human life answers the purpose for which it was given. What Christian would consent to take up with earth and be for ever exiled from heaven? It is an infinite privilege that a good man may die.

3. It ought not to be a ground of despondency to good men that they are growing old and beginning to decay, and drawing rapidly towards a termination of their course. Death will not swallow up all. "There is a land above the stars and joys above his power."

4. The delusive and fleeting nature of all terrestrial things, and the afflictions which are largely mingled with them, ought to make us long more earnestly after heaven. When we cannot find here a place on which to rest the sole of our foot, it ought to endear to us the thought of our eternal home.

5. The shortness of life and the unsatisfying and perplexing nature of all that it has to bestow, ought to stir us up to diligence in the proper business for which it was given us.

(E. D. Griffin, D.D.)

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