On yesterday’s bike ride with the Lord the weather was not that fine. It would be pretty cold and looked as if it might rain sooner or later. Also, I was extremely tired and felt rather low because of a certain dizziness and some physical pain, too. As I was struggling to get ahead against the strong wind, I suddenly saw some lovely spots of color in an altogether gray and green picture that nature presented. I could not help but stop my bike and gather the colorful bouquet of flowers you can see in the photo I posted above. 😉
As I would separate the flowers from one another and put them in two vases later, I was truly wondering why God made every effort to display nature’s beauty to us although it withers so quickly. Believe it or not, I am a crazy woman. I do love nature and on our two balconies in the midst of Fürth, I sow, plant, and repot whenever I find the time and rest to do so (about 60 pots already 🙂 …) Watching the plants grow often lifts my spirit up to God and I am overwhelmed by the individual beauty of countless various plants. Not to speak of those different insects and birds that love these flowers too. As strange as it might seem, whenever I see cucumber, tomatoes, paprika peppers, lettuce, strawberries, gooseberries and some other vegetables and fruit fully ripened, I need to take a break, feeling a certain kind of sadness, even a kind of reluctance to destroy that beauty by picking them up (both food and flowers). Lately, God made me see that these sad feelings have to do with death and our natural inability to look beyond the boundaries of what we can perceive with our five senses.
So, where is hope?
Here’s John Gill’s exposition on Isaiah 33:17, the Bible verse you can find beneath the first pic I posted above.
Thine eyes shall see the King in his beauty,…. Not merely Hezekiah in his royal robes, and with a cheerful countenance, having put off his sackcloth and his sadness, upon the breaking up of the siege; but a greater than he, even the King Messiah, in the glory of his person and office, especially as a King reigning gloriously before his ancients in Jerusalem: the apostles saw him in his glory, in the days of his flesh, corporeally and spiritually; believers now see him by faith, crowded with glory and honour, as well as see his beauty, fulness, and suitableness, as a Saviour; and, before long, their eyes shall see him personally in his own and his Father’s glory. This is to be understood of the eyes of good men, before described. The Targum is,
“thine eyes shall see the glory of the Majesty of the King of worlds in his praise;”
and Jarchi interprets it of the glory of the Majesty of God; so, according to both, a divine Person is meant, and indeed no other than Christ:
they shall behold the land that is very far off; not the land of hell, as the Targum, which paraphrases it thus;
“thou shalt behold and see those that go down into the land of hell;”
but rather the heavenly country, the better one, the land of uprightness, typified by the land of Canaan; and may be said to be “a land afar off”, with respect to the earth on which the saints now are, and with regard to the present sight of it, which is a distant one, and will be always afar off to wicked men; this now the saints have at times a view of by faith, which is very delightful, and greatly supports them under their present trials: though it may be that an enlargement of Christ’s kingdom all over the world, to the distant parts of it, may be here meant; which may be called, as the words may be rendered, “a land of distances”, or “of far distances” (d); that reaches far and near, from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth; which will be the case when the kingdoms of this world shall become Christ’s, and the kingdom, and the greatness of it under the whole heaven, shall be given to the saints of the most High; a glorious sight this will be. And this sense agrees with the context, and declares what will be after the destruction of antichrist.
(d) “terram distantiarum”, Vatablus, Montanus, Gataker.
May God give us eyes of the heart that are able to see by faith what is beyond death so that we can join Paul in this cry of joy,
“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Cor 15:55 ESV)