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Thursday, September 3, 2009
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"He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in" (Isaiah 40:22).
Do you have distant memories from your childhood and then a vivid reminder as you experience them again later in life? As a boy I would visit my grandparents in Southern Missouri during the summer. Of course I enjoyed playing outside during the hot days of July and August before it was time to go back to school.
One specific recollection I have is the scores of grasshoppers in the farm fields. It was a pleasurable boyhood adventure to catch as many as possible, but I sure didn't like the tobacco-like juice they'd spit out on my hands!
At the same time Brooksyne was also experiencing grasshoppers and informs me that catching grasshoppers isn't just a boy's thing! Having grown up on a small farm west of Tulsa, Oklahoma the August temperatures often soared over the 100 degree mark and their large yard simply turned into brown stubble which felt much like walking on pine needles. As children they went barefoot most of the summer so they frequently stepped on grasshoppers whose colors blended into the brown grass. To break the doldrums of hot summer days they'd compete to see who could catch the most grasshoppers. They'd each take a quart canning jar from their well house so they could easily count their big catch and award the winner. Every so often the temptation to catch one still comes calling for Brooksyne (like a few minutes ago while she picked some flowers, but the baby grasshopper was too quick.)
Brooksyne's childhood was a bit more country than mine since she didn't just visit the farm, but lived on one. As the old saying goes, "You can take them out of the country, but you can't take the country out of them." We feel very blessed to be living in the country again for the past eight years.
It's now some forty years later, and we enjoy walking along the farm trail between the corn fields across from our home (although they harvested the corn yesterday from the field pictured on the right). At this season grasshoppers are abundant, seemingly everywhere you look, hopping to and fro, from cornstalk to cornstalk. They "sing" as they scrape their rear legs against their wings. When we're on the farm trail the sights, bug sounds and torrid heat of the summer sure hasn't changed over the years.
The Bible says we are like grasshoppers. This powerful perspective is found in Isaiah 40, which contains one of the greatest expressions of the glory and majesty of God in the entire Bible.
"He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers." What candid bluntness regarding the relative temporary and frail condition of man! The grasshopper is just a tiny insect compared to me and has a lifespan of only 4-12 months. The ones that we saw as children are long gone and are nothing more than a brief memory. And with a longer, let alone, eternal perspective that's the same for us on our earthly journey!
Nature and history verifies this again and again. Are we any different today? I suspect each living generation believes there is a special significance to its own existence. But the Bible declares, "generations come and generations go" (Ecclesiastes 1:4). And so will ours.
The imagery of the grasshopper is contrasted to "He who sits enthroned above the circle of the earth." Another Scripture text asks in amazement, "What is man that thou art mindful of him?"
But praise be to God, the Almighty God is mindful of us. He loves and cares for each one, although, in comparison to Deity, we are like grasshoppers. He provided His Son, who came down to dwell among us. He gave His life for the fallen human race and then He rose from the dead and ever lives to make intercession for us. And one glorious day He is coming again!
I urge you to keep that perspective before you today as we go through life. Maybe you'll recall this message the next time you see a grasshopper!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father God, Your almighty power is balanced with Your tender compassion toward all of creation. It is because of Your abundant mercies that we are not consumed or utterly forsaken. You provide exceedingly more than the bare essentials for our earthly dwelling. Your abiding presence provides faithfulness, stability, and expectant hope for every challenge we face. Thank You for clothing us with dignity, providing us with salvation and for abiding with us day in and day out. Amen.
It's a beautiful morning here in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
and we want to share several photos.
The early morning fog was beautiful over the cornfield across from our home.
This large sunflower is as tall as I am! Brooksyne isn't the only gardener in our family. She has some helpers who plant sunflowers wherever they please. This happens to be growing in our vegetable garden along with several others, thanks to the birds' plantings.
Stephen has never requested a floral arrangement for his desk, but this morning he saw me plunge the Autumn Joy Sedum in the Route 66 bottle and asked that it be put on his desk. (I don't think it's the flower, but it's the route 66 that appealed to his eye. He'll enjoy the lower half of the arrangement while I'll enjoy the upper half.)
Our friend Peter DeHart won a 1st place award for this photo at the Elizabethtown Fair last week. Does anyone like to walk through one of these? Here's a daily encouragement message we shared last year based on a spider's web titled, "The Perishing Hope Of The Godless".
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
Click on the link to open and play.
(In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)
"One Day" Video We both love this old hymn by J. Wibur Chapman. The tune is a contemporized rendition by Jeff Johnson and is different than we normally sing, but thankfully the powerful lyrics are not altered.
"You Are God Alone" Video
"God And God Alone" Video Audio
"How Great Is Our God" Video with Spanish subtitles
We often look for and share resources that we feel would be helpful to others. We use a lot of printed resources but especially apppreciate material that is available on the web. RBC (the ministry that publishes the "Our daily Bread" devotional booklet) has developed an excellent online topical resource called Help For My Life with a variety of teachings arranged by topic. They are available as video, audio and transcript.
Isaiah 40 Read Listen
Study the grasshopper
Photos of beautiful grasshoppers
Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne.
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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