Thursday, February 15

Thursday, February 15

Scripture: Scripture: Genesis 3:17-19

17 And to the man he said,

“Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree
    whose fruit I commanded you not to eat,
the ground is cursed because of you.
    All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it.
18 It will grow thorns and thistles for you,
    though you will eat of its grains.
19 By the sweat of your brow
    will you have food to eat
until you return to the ground
    from which you were made.
For you were made from dust,
    and to dust you will return.”

Some thoughts:

     Just before the passage you just read, we have these beautiful words of creation, “Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person.” (Gen. 2:7)

     We wrote about dust yesterday, but there is more. Really?There is a bit of irony here. In Psalm 72:9 concerning king Solomon we read the phrase, “The desert tribes will bow before him and his enemies will lick the dust.” This phrase from the King James Bible later morphed into “bite the dust.” Dust is a fascinating word that is associated with loss or death, like being defeated and falling to earth, getting a mouth full of dust. Dust is nothing more than tiny particles of earth or waste matter lying on the ground that is blown by the wind. We even “dust” to get rid of dust!

      In the Garden of Eden, God formed human beings from the dust of the earth. Talk about our humble beginning! Adam and Eve literally “bit the dust” and death entered all of humanity. As a result, these bodies of ours will in fact return to dust (to ash) again as we are reminded each Ash Wednesday, “from dust you came, to dust you will return.” For many people in the world, in their mind, that’s the sad end of their story. You are born, grow up, have as many good experiences as possible and die. But wait! God did something about our “dust!” God took on human flesh; he took on our dust and became one of us. The Son of God, the Creator of dust, identified fully and completely in every way to make possible the great reverse of rebellious sons and daughters. Though a human being in every possible way, his “dust” did not decay to ash. His humanity defeated the dust of death.

      The good news of the gospel is that those who put their trust in Jesus, will get a renewed body, not a “dusting up” of the old one. The mortal earthly body of dust, flesh and blood gets a “new” body that will never die. The mortal body takes on immortality. “Just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly [dusty] man, so shall we bear the likeness of the [dust-free] man [Jesus] from heaven.” (I Corinthians 15:42-54) Dust cannot inherit the kingdom of God. We will all be changed in the twinkling of an eye. “Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (I Corinthians 15:57)

     The sign of the cross made in ashes on the forehead proclaims that death is defeated forever. Our “dust” will be recreated by the One who created us in the first place . . . and He does really good work! You will never bite the dust again!

Music: “What Wondrous Love is This?” Concordia Choir

Prayer: Glorious God, give me grace to amend my life, and to have an eye to my end without begrudging death, which to those who die in you, good Lord, is the gate of a wealthy life.  And give me, good Lord, a humble, lowly, quiet, peaceable, patient, charitable, kind, tender, and pitiful mind, in all my works and all my words and all my thoughts, to have a taste of your holy, blessed Spirit. Give me, good Lord, a longing to be with you, not to avoid the calamities of this world, nor so much to attain the joys of heaven, as simply for love of you. And give me, good Lord, your love and favor, which my love of you, however great it might be, could not deserve were it not for your great goodness. These things that I pray for, give me your grace to labor for. Amen.  –Thomas More, 1478-1535