Posted by: Sherry Goodwin | July 20, 2009


   IV.  Grass, in its withered state, is an emblem of two things: 
   1.  Of the sorrow and faintness of an afflicted heart.  This is most pathetically and touchingly set forth in Psalm 102.  That psalm is called “A prayer of the afflicted, when he is overwhelmed, and poureth out his complaint before the Lord.”  After a lengthened description of his sorrowful state, and the use of many similes to illustrate it, among which is that of withered grass, the Psalmist closes the whole by repeating that one similitude, “My soul is withered like grass.”  (Compare Psalm 102:1-12.)  How many a sorrowful spirit realises all that is here described!  And how often have individuals, now present, had to say in secret, “My heart is smitten, and withered like grass.”  Their comforts seem dried up; and that, which was once flourishing within them, appears sapless and parched.  “Withered grass” is the very thing which represents the state in which they feel themselves to be.  And no marvel, for it was the state of him who was the afflicted One, and whom Psalm 102 prophetically described.  For us and for our consolation, was the tender heart of the Saviour “smitten and withered like grass.”  The sharp blast of Almighty wrath fell upon him, and he was dried up like a potsherd, and withered like a tuft of tender grass which the lightning has scorched.
   His spiritually minded people must expect similar tribulation.  He often tries them as himself was tried, to constrain them to see that they have nothing in themselves, and that all grace, comfort, and help, must be sought from him.  Other persons cannot understand these things.  “They are foolishness unto them.”  But they are truthful realities, and wise experiences with those who are destined to survive all witherings, and to flourish for ever in the field above.
   2.  Grass in its withered state is an emblem also of the frailty of human life, and the suddeness with which it is liable to be cut off.  “The voice said, Cry.  And he said, What shall I cry?  All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness there of is as the flower of the field.”   “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth; but the word of our God shall stand forever.”  (Isaiah 40:6,8.)  The picture here drawn is vivid and complete.  Look on the pleasant meadow.  See the health, strength, and beauty of its crop, as the wind gently waves its surface.  But think how the next frost can nip it, or the next blast level it, or how certainly, if it reaches to ripeness, the mower will one day cut it down.  And then bring away your eye from that scene, and let it gaze on the great company of mankind, on this city, this parish, this congregation, on yourselves.   Like grass we perish, for “surely the people is grass.”  Yes, let no one take refuge in generalities, but let each one say to himself or herself, “I am but as a blade of grass, and shall and must as certainly die, as all grass withereth, and every flower fadeth.”
   They and they alone, who have wisdom and faith to say this, and to act consistently therewith, will be prepared for the comfort of a closing thought or two.

   1.  Though the grass withereth, “the word of the Lord endureth for ever.”  This was Isaiah’s consolation.  St. Peter took it up, and by inspiration added to it, saying, “And this is the word, which by the gospel is preached unto you.”  Not one syllable of all that God stands pledged to perform shall fail or perish.  His gospel is yours for ever.
   2.  That which resembles grass, in the visible church, may be withered and cut down, but the living grass of the living church, “shall never perish.”  “And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth:  and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.  And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree, but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.”  (Revelation 9:3,4.)
   In coming times, the Son of man will clear out of his field only that which offends.  The false professor, as well as the profligate,–all who bear not the stamp of godliness, will be clean cut down.  But, the godly, the green, the living grass of the true field, shall not be hurt:  they shall abide for ever.
   3.  The wonders of the world’s first week will never cease to be admired by those whom God creates anew in Christ Jesus.
   And, if grass be a wonder, how wonderful must that parent mind be, which saw, from the beginning, all that it was to teach us until the end!  Then let us say, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honour, and power; for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”  (Revelation 4:11.)

William Henry Havergal from Sermons, Chiefly on Historical Subjects from the Old and New Testaments:  Volume I

Frances Ridley Havergal from Memorials, Letters and Biographical Works


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