Saturday, June 14, 2008

Fragile flower or firm sacrifice?

Flowers. We are mesmerised by their beauty, entranced by the colours, captivated by their design. We have them adorn the surrounding of our homes. We await their blooms in anticipation. We display them to delight our eyes. We give them away as a sign of our love.

I am therefore surprised at the bible's treatment and usage of the flower in general as a metaphor for nothingness.*

Job 14:1-2
Man born of woman is of few days and full of trouble.
He springs up like a flower and withers away;
like a fleeting shadow, he does not endure.

Psalm 103:15-16
As for man, his days are like grass,
   he flourishes like a flower of the field;
the wind blows over it and it is gone,
   and its place remembers it no more.

Isaiah 28:1
Woe to that wreath,
   the pride of Ephraim's drunkards,
to the fading flower, his glorious beauty,
   set on the head of a fertile valley--
to that city, the pride of those laid low by wine!

Isaiah 28:3-4
That wreath, the pride of Ephraim's drunkards,
   will be trampled underfoot.
That fading flower, his glorious beauty,
   set on the head of a fertile valley,
will be like a fig ripe before harvest--
   as soon as someone sees it
   and takes it in his hand, he swallows it.

James 1:10
But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower.

Beautiful things are good to behold but that is all.

We are called instead to be to God the aroma of Christ, a fragrant offering - not as fragile flowers to behold, but firm sacrifices to be offered to God - Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-- this is your spiritual act of worship. (Romans 12:1)

Photo © 2008 Pearlie Ng

* Specific flowers like the roses and lilies do seem to be used differently though as a name and metaphor.


  1. Bingo.

    Great observation.

    My view now (I always have a disclaimer saying "now" or "currently" because God often has a way of correctly my views as I journey) is that God loves us and in His love, he is not so much concerned about our appearance but more of what is "inside".

    When we get to our final dwelling place, the physical, visual beauty of a flower, which is temporal, will pale in comparison with the eternal presence of our God.

    Great observation and it again reminds me to focus on the eternal and spiritual and not physical and transient.

  2. Thanks Danesh for sharing your thoughts :)

    So true about your disclaimer. It reminds me at one time when the few of us were talking about the phase of time and thought where the person we were discussing were schooled under, how sort of "wrong" it was. But I brought up the possibility that it may happen that a few years down the line, the same will be said of us by another group of people. So it is good to be mindful.

    Your comment reminds me of David - and a good reminder because in this world now, so few look into the inside anymore.

  3. Never thought of this before - thanks!