“Surely Every Man Is Vanity”
Psalms 39:10, “Remove thy stroke away from me: I am consumed by the blow of thine hand. When thou with rebukes dost correct man for iniquity, thou makest his beauty to consume away like a moth: surely every man is vanity. Selah.” One of the dominate philosophies in the world is the teaching of humanism which says that man is naturally good and which emphasizes the greatness of man: his abilities, his strengths, his accomplishments. The problem with this false teaching is that it denies the truth that man is a sinner. Yes man has strengths, yes man has abilities, and yes man has beauty. But the Bible says in Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” The strengths, abilities, and even beauty of man is something that God created and gave to man. Therefore who should be praised is God not man.
Here in Psalms chapter 39 what is emphasized about man is not man’s strengths, abilities, intelligence or accomplishments but what is emphasized is the temporariness of human life. Every one grows old. And everyone dies. Now why does this happen? Why does man grow old and die? Man has a desire within himself to want to be young, and beautiful, and strong, and to live forever. Because of sin men grow old and die. Romans 5:12-15 says, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.”
In talking about the temporariness of human life the Bible says here in Psalms 39:11, “thou makest his beauty to consume away like a moth.” A moth is a creature which lives for about 2 weeks. 2 weeks is not a long life span. The life span of man is compared to the life span of a moth. 100 years is not a long time compared to eternity. Thousands of years, hundreds of thousands of years is not a long time compared to eternity.
Here in Psalms 39 the Bible emphasizes the temporariness of human life because God is trying to get men to think about their eternal destiny. The temporariness of human life is not a judgment from God nor is it even a punishment for sin but it is a consequence for sin, a rebuke for sin. If man lived for ever, in this world which is corrupted by sin, how horrible that would be for those who have repented of their sins and turned to Christ. How horrible a destiny it would be for those still lost in sin to stay lost in sin because of a lack of a fear of not having to die and face the judgment of God. Many times it is the fear of death and the judgment which comes after death which leads men to turn to Christ. Oh how important it is to think about the truth that one day you will die. Hebrews 9:27 says, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” Psalms 37:28 says, “For the LORD loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off.”
God loves judgment. Judgment means punishment for sin. Judgment also means discerning between right and wrong and doing what is right. Judgment means handing out reward for a person’s actions. Judgment also means mercy for those who repent of their sins and turn to Christ. It is the wisdom and the judgment of God to make physical life temporary as a consequence to sin so that men might repent of their sins and turn to Jesus for salvation. Psalms 39:11 says, “When thou with rebukes dost correct man for iniquity, thou makest his beauty to consume away like a moth: surely every man is vanity. Selah.” The word rebuke used here is a word that means to correct, to argue, to chastise. The word rebuke used here literally means, “To be in the sunshine.” God uses the truth to rebuke men of their sins. The light of the word of God allows a man to see the consequences for sin and his own sinfulness. This in turn, by the grace of God, might lead a man to repent of his sins and turn to Christ for salvation.
The word of God says that physical life is temporary. All men die. Life is short. A short work will the LORD make upon the earth. Is life short? Do men die? Yes. The Word of God is true. And the things it teaches are true. Just this one teaching which is emphasized here in Psalms 39 shows how true the Bible is. It is appointed unto men once to die but after this the judgment. In thinking about this truth there are only two responses a human being can give. The first response is to ignore the truth of the judgment of God and the consequences for sin and the temporariness of human life. But the other response, the right response is given in the last verses of Psalms chapter 39:12-13 which says, “Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear unto my cry; hold not thy peace at my tears: for I am a stranger with thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were. O spare me, that I may recover strength, before I go hence, and be no more.”
The right response is to realize that human life is temporary on this earth and after this life ends all must stand before the judgment of Christ. The right response is to pray to Christ for salvation, to pray to Christ to forgive you of your sins and to save you so that you can have enteral life, so that when you die and stand before the judgment seat of Christ you will stand in the righteousness of Christ and not your righteousness which is as filthy rags.
Psalms 39:12-13 says, “Hear my
prayer, O LORD, and give ear unto my cry; hold not thy peace at my tears: for I
am a stranger with thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were. O spare me,
that I may recover strength, before I go hence, and be no more.” In thinking
about the temporariness of human life what a person should think about, especially
a Christian, is: you only live once so live for Christ. That is what these
verses in Psalms 39:12-13 say when they say, “I am a stranger with thee,
and a sojourner, as all my fathers were. O spare me, that I may recover
strength, before I go hence, and be no more.” The words stranger and sojourner in
the Old Testament equivalent to saying the Church. The
Psalms 39:12-13 says, “I am a stranger with thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were. O spare me, that I may recover strength, before I go hence, and be no more.” 1 John 3:17 says, “And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.” To turn to Christ, to repent of sins and accept the gift of Christ’s judgment on the cross, to give up the things of the world and seek to live by faith in the promises of God in the Bible is the greatest opportunity of life. If you have never turned form your sins to Jesus Christ of Nazareth then do so today. Christ died, was buried, and rose again the 3rd day. Whosoever shall call upon the name of the LORD shall be saved. Man at his best state is vanity. But the righteousness of God endures forever.
Copyright; 2012 by Charles
F. (Rick) Creech
All Rights Reserved