Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Dusty People

"By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of His mouth all their host." (Psalm 33:6)

"Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being."(Genesis 2:7)

The sun and moon and stars, the galaxies, nebulae, black holes and star clusters, all came into existence by a word from God. The fish and bacteria and animals and birds and insects came about by the breath of His mouth.

But then, God wanted to make mankind. It was in His mind to create a being in His own image, who could fellowship with Him and talk with Him and love Him and know Him. This was the creature who was to rule the earth and all the living creatures on it. He was to explore the vastness of the universe and marvel at the God who created it.

More than that, a Lamb had been slain before the foundation of the world. He was not slain for the birds or the fish or the dinosaurs or mammals, nor for the planets and stars. He, the centerpiece of all God's love and delight, had been slain for one creature only, the one which God had not yet made. How would God create this being, who was to possess unimaginable privileges and unmatched capacities among the created things?

Would there be a blinding flash of light which, fading away, would reveal the creature? Would He wave His hand in the thin air, and bring it forth with a great blast of trumpets? Would it emerge from a torrent of mighty water? No, instead He put His finger, figuratively speaking, into a patch of dry ground, wrested some of it from the wind that was even at that moment carrying it away, and formed that bit of dust into the being called Man.

That perspective lends a little more force to Paul's caution in Romans 12:3, "I say to every man among you, not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think." Psalm 103:14 reminds us, "Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him. For He Himself knows our frame, He is mindful that we are but dust." Perhaps it would be good for us to remember what the Lord never forgets--we have the distinction of being the only creature in the universe made of...dust.

For our physical bodies, the verdict is, "You are dust, and to dust you shall return." (Genesis 3:19). But in the spiritual realm, we read about things like going "from strength to strength" (Psalm 84:7), and being changed "from glory to glory." (2 Corinthians 3:18) It's pretty amazing what God has done with dust. It's even more mind-boggling to think about what He's done and is doing FOR the creatures who are made out of dust. But I wonder if the most incredible thing of all, is what God still plans to do with those bodies of dust, for people who are believers in Christ:

"...So also is the resurrection of the dead.
It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body;
it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory;
it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power;
it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body....

...For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality."
(1Co 15:42-53)

I'm awfully glad that God remembers I'm only made out of dust, and somehow there is compassion (literally, "feeling-with") in the heart of the Maker of the Universe, for a creature made out of dust. But I'm not going to be dust forever; there's a grand exchange coming!