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Reflections by the Pond
July 7, 2014
As He was going out of the temple, one of His disciples said to Him, "Teacher, behold what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!"
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Oh, how impressed we are with the works of man. From the architectural triumphs of his larger cities to the sometimes-poetic design of individual dwellings; from his towering bulwarks that hold back the waters of mighty rivers to the lacework bridges that span them; from his inventive mechanical genius to his lyrical way with language—these and more express the capable brilliance of created flesh.
Man is no small thing; his Maker granted him dominance over every other created thing on this temporal plane, and He imbued him with a creative genius far surpassing that of any other living being.
The problem is that man has also been imbued with a belief that his genius is superior not just to that of the beasts of the field, but even to that of his Maker.
[King Nebuchadnezzar] reflected and said, "Is this not Babylon the great, which I myself have built as a royal residence by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty?"
That presumption in man today is the sad consequence of the first presumption in the first man. And ever since, man has been impressed with himself.
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And Jesus said to him, "Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left upon another which will not be torn down."
Jesus' response to His wide-eyed disciple is, along with a prophecy about the future destruction of Roman conquerors, a preamble to His extended discourse on the end times, in which He makes clear that man is certainly not the preeminent force of the universe. And thus his grand creations—even those as grand and immense as the Herodian temple of Jehovah—are but faint, fleeting shadows of the true glory of God the Father and the Son. Even something as worthwhile and holy as God's house on earth, erected in obedience to His own command, would collapse in dust when God the Father declares it time for the new earth.
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If even His own temple will be reduced to rubble, what is left? Is there anything on this earth at which we can marvel as something wonderful and grand? Yes.
Open my eyes, that I may behold
Wonderful things from Your law.
God's word is indeed marvelous. It is filled, cover to cover, with the very mind of God. More than that, the very fact that He has entrusted it to us is one of God's preeminent acts of grace.
But will it last? Will it live beyond the broken and shattered walls of the Jerusalem temple? Yes.
"Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away."
The very universe will be renewed; every star in the night sky will fall, time itself will be altered, the earth will be destroyed then remade, and a brand new Jerusalem will descend upon it from the sky. And other than the eternal souls of believers, the only thing that will be carried over from the old earth to the next is the word of God.
And that is something truly wonderful.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
But the word of our God stands forever.