We live in a world where things don't last forever. Change is the one certain thing. One day turns into another. We age. We die. Things rust, rot, and ruin. As hard as we try to make things stay the same, they don't. However, in the midst of all of this there is One who is above and beyond our finite realm - the Infinite and Immutable God.
In Isaiah 51 we see that while worldly things eventually wear out and fade, heavenly things do not. Particularly addressed in these verses are God's righteousness and His salvation. What a great comfort! The eternal things are the unchanging things - that's what really matters. "Just as the [gospel] shall spread through all the nations of the earth, so it shall last through all the ages of the world" and throughout all eternity!
The sky will one day "vanish like smoke", the earth will "wear out like a garment", all of its inhabitants will one day "die in like manner." Those are just the facts - and we see the truth of those facts playing out before our very eyes each day. There are other facts too, though. "The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our Lord shall stand forever." The things of God are eternal, everlasting, unfading, unchanging, certain, steadfast and sure. What things am I relying on for my comfort? In what things do I find my identity? Where is the root of my happiness, peace, and joy? "Those whose happiness is bound up in Christ's righteousness and salvation will have the comfort of it when time and days shall be no more." (Matthew Henry)
Our Eternal God, in these verses, reminds us of His eternal gifts to us - righteousness and salvation. They are ours forever. They can't be stolen, swiped, or soiled. In light of that reality, He calls us to stand strong and not be fearful of the "reproach of man" nor be "dismayed at their revilings."
How easily we are discouraged. How quickly, like Peter, we lose sight of Christ and begin to sink in the waters of the world. This should not be!! Christian, we must take our eyes off of the water and place them on the Word. We must plug our ears from the reproaches of mad men and tune them to the glorious promises of our God. We must not wallow around in the dismal dirt of our adversary's revilings but must rest in the revelation of the Omnipotent King - our Father and Friend!
The "moth will eat them like a garment, and the grub will eat them like wool. But [His] righteousness shall be forever, and [His] salvation to all generations." The insults and mockery that are often hurled at our faith are nothing more than the flapping of moth eaten garments and grub groveled wool. Do not pay them any attention. They will be silenced and we need not fear them. Instead, fear the LORD for that fear leads to wisdom and life!
- "The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the defense of my life: whom shall I dread?" (Ps 27:1)
- "Praise the LORD! How blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delights in His commandments.... For he will never be shaken; the righteous will be remembered forever. He will not fear evil tidings, his heart will be steadfast, trusting in the LORD. His heart is upheld, he will not fear, until he looks with satisfaction on his adversaries." (Ps 112 selected)
- "The LORD is for me, I will not fear; what can man do to me?" (Ps 118:6)