(The Abundant Life Series – Batch 3)
I was reading a portion of scripture from the Bible this morning and the following phrase came to mind: Born in FRAILTY, died in FOOLISHNESS and FUTILITY.
I pray to God that this will not be an accurate depiction of what ought to be on your tombstone, when your time on this earth is ended.
I was reminded from the scripture, that when a person is born into this world, he comes completely empty, frail, vulnerable and completely dependent on others for his survival. If he is not washed, clothed, fed and held in warm embrace, if he is not taken care of and is left to fend for himself, he will die.
Man therefore enters this world completely dependent on the selflessness of others to continue to thrive, yet, between that point and the point of adulthood, for many (although thankfully not all), something strange happens. He goes from complete vulnerability and dependence, where he needs to be taken care of to survive, to the next extreme of self-sufficiency, where he thinks he needs no one to get by. From babe to adulthood, he swells in the esteem of himself and in his pride, he considers himself to be smart enough, bright enough, rich enough, talented enough, beautiful enough, popular enough and influential or connected enough, to take care of himself and to run his own life, without needing anybody’s help, anybody’s counsel and without anybody telling him what to do or not to do.
The thing is, he rejects even the counsel of God. In his pride, he completely dismisses the existence of the very God that created him when he did not even know himself, convincing himself, a mere mortal, that he is the highest authority, that beside him there is none else and that, due to his power, money, background, looks, political influence, status, affiliation, education, intelligence, articulation or earthly ‘success’, that he himself is like a god and will never be moved.
Like the Israelites when they turned their back on God after they had had humble beginnings and he in his love, had placed them in a pleasant land, puffed up and in their pride, such a person and others like him, say in their hearts to God and demonstrate in the way they live their lives, “We are lords: we will come no more unto thee…” (Jeremiah 2:31). Despite the Lord pleading with them while they still have breath, even as he did with the Israelites in love, “Wilt thou not from this time cry unto me, My father, thou art the guide of my youth?”, they scorn such advances, pour contempt on his desire for reconciliation and want nothing to do with him, their Creator.
To deny the God who created you by your lips or your actions and instead, to live unto yourself and as you see fit is wicked. Psalm 10:2-6 speaks of such a person, where it states:
- “The wicked in his PRIDE doth persecute the poor: let them be taken in the devices that they have imagined. For the wicked BOASTETH of his heart’s desire, and blesseth the covetous, whom the Lord abhorreth. The wicked, through the PRIDE OF HIS COUNTENANCE, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts. His ways are always grievous; thy judgments are far above out of his sight: as for all his enemies, he PUFFETH at them. He hath said in his heart, I SHALL NOT BE MOVED: FOR I SHALL NEVER BE IN ADVERSITY.”
It is clear that he thinks this way, as he lives his life in this manner, without any regard for God.
Only a fool thinks the way that this man thinks and sadly, many think like him. There are therefore many foolish people walking around in the world today, deluded by their own sense of grandeur and ‘success’, operating in a fictitious bubble where self is on the throne, where self is all self needs, where self is all there is and all that matters.
In Jeremiah 1:5 and as is the case with all humanity, God told Jeremiah: “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee”. Yet, these foolish people live their lives as if they were not created by God, as if they are not accountable to him and as if their earthly thrones, empires, profiles, businesses, influence and popularity status, which they’ve worked so hard to create and fought so much to preserve, will last forever.
Psalm 49:6-8 and10-14, gives us further insight into their thought processes. It states:
- “They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches; None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him: (For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever:)…For he seeth that wise men die, likewise the fool and the brutish person perish, and leave their wealth to others. Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue for ever, and their dwelling places to all generations; they call their lands after their own names.
- Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish. This their way is their FOLLY: yet their posterity approve their sayings…Like sheep they are laid in the grave; death shall feed on them; and the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; and their beauty shall consume in the grave from their dwelling.”
Proverbs 18:1 tells us that “Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom.” Yet in contrast, verse 2 tells us of the self-sufficient fool, who has no time for God and wants no relationship with him through his Son. It says of him, “A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself.” He is all about serving self and providing for self, putting self on the map and gaining recognition and popularity for self. He is about running after pleasure, entertainment, riches and advancement and all the earthly things that self craves.
In the Bible, Jesus gave a parable of such a man. He was rich, considered himself to be successful in life but had no time for God and cared only about himself. He was a fool and so his end was dismal. The very same day that he came up with his plan on how to selfishly serve himself better with all the riches that he had acquired and without any regard to serving the God that created him, was the very day that God removed him from the land of the living.
- “The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.
- But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
Proverbs 9:10 makes it clear that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. Yet many rich, wealthy, influential, so-called ‘successful’ and high profile people, have demonstrated by their lives that they are nothing but fools. For, they have amassed much and attracted much praise and fanfare from man but they want nothing to do with the God that created them, the very God upon whom they rely every minute of every day for continued breath and the very God who keeps their soul in the land of the living.
Psalm 14:1 states that “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.” Hence, although “The name of the Lord is a strong tower…”, so much so that “…the righteous runneth into it, and is safe”, the fool puts his confidence in his acquisitions or in who he knows or is affiliated to or in his own intelligence or how high up the corporate or political or social ladder he has climbed or how highly people regard him or all the ‘good’ that he has done, having deluded himself into believing that he will be okay because of these things.
Of the rich man and the typical way that most rich men think, the Word of God states that “The rich man’s wealth is his strong city, and as an high wall in his own conceit.” (Proverbs 18:10-11). No wonder. Verse 12 continues of his eventual outcome, that “Before destruction the heart of man is haughty…” and this is the ultimate end of the person who lives his whole life as a fool because he lives it unto himself. As a mere human being that has elevated himself in his self-importance and pride, he refuses to submit himself to the Lordship of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, the only one that has the power to save him from eternal damnation in hell.
Alas, the foolish man comes into this world with nothing, not even a thread on his back but then he acquires much, runs after much, chases after money, advancement, promotion, certain connections, relationships, pleasure and influence. He devotes no time to God or to find out about him or what he would have him to do. He lives only for himself, for his business, for his job, for his politics, his family, his money or whatever idol he is serving in his heart and then, he dies… exactly as he came.
If that is not futility and a complete and pathetic waste of one’s existence, then I don’t know what else is.
Ecclesiastes 5:13-16 is the portion of scripture I was reading this morning. It explains this concept of being born in frailty but then dying in foolishness and futility, really well. It reads:
- “There is a sore evil which I have seen under the sun, namely, riches kept for the owners thereof to their hurt. But those riches perish by evil travail: and he begetteth a son, and there is nothing in his hand. As he came forth of his mother’s womb, NAKED shall he return to go as he came, and shall take NOTHING of his labour, which he may carry away in his hand. And this also is a sore evil, that in all points as he came, so shall he go: and what profit hath he that hath laboured for the wind?”
If everything in this life that I could ever hope to achieve for myself is temporary, then, what is all this mad rush for self-advancement, self-comfort, self-promotion and the acquisition of wealth? What sense does it make? How will it benefit me, if I were to gain the whole world and then foolishly lose my own soul? (Mark 8:36).
When death lays its icy hand on mankind, as is inevitable for most, if not all of us, where will our pride, self-sufficiency, sense of importance and boasting be? Where will be the contempt that many hold in their hearts for God? Can this contempt save them? Where will our houses, lands, vehicles, businesses, that person we are idolizing and all of our other prized assets be? Can they come with us? Can they help us? And where will we be, if all our lives we have turned our backs on the Lord Jesus Christ and refused to submit to his Lordship?
Since the world began and man fell and sin entered, many have died in foolishness and futility. They have wasted the life that God gave them. For, they elevated themselves and their desires and life’s pleasures above God. They died as fools because they missed the point of their existence and in so doing, missed the mark. They never truly understood why they were created and quite frankly, did not want to know. Accordingly, they spent their lives in futility, running aimlessly after money, power, influence, a relationship, man’s accolades, recognition, prestige and all the other nonsense that the enemy of their soul convinced them was what they should be chasing.
Alas, Genesis 3:19 tells us that dust they were and unto dust they return, yet this is not the end! The Bible tells us that it is appointed unto men once to die BUT AFTER THIS THE JUDGMENT (Hebrews 9:27).
They were born in frailty and died in foolishness and futility because they rejected the Saviour, the one in whom all the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily (Colossians 2:9), the only one that could have given them meaning for their life and the only one that could have saved them. In eternity, when they open their eyes in hell, it is only then, that they realize what they have done to themselves. They have sabotaged themselves. For, in their rebellion and pride, on this side of the fence, they wanted nothing to do with the wonderful God that created them and his Son the Lord Jesus Christ. Now that they have died, they learn the stark truth: That the God who created them, wants nothing to do with them, on that side of the fence.
(Written on 22nd September, 2021, added to thereafter)
Shortly after finishing the above Article, a poem that I came across while in my teens, came to mind. I’ve always been a deep thinker and when I found this poem as a child, it impacted me so much, that I learned it by heart. I searched the net to find it so that I could place it here, as I consider it to be very relevant to the theme. I hope it makes you think, even as it made me do, back then. This is how it went:
- The old man sat down on the bench
- His grey hair told his age.
- The student who’d been there before,
- Sniffed once and turned a page.
- The old man gently touched his sleeve,
- “Excuse me son,” said he.
- The student turned his head surprised:
- What could the trouble be?
- “Why study so?”, the old man asked,
- “Will you tell this to me?”
- The youth replied, “So I may go, to University.”
- “And after you have studied there,”
- The old man asked, “Then what?“
- “Then I will find a well-paid job
- With the degree I’ve got.”
- The old man sighed, “What after that?”
- He asked with quivering voice.
- “Then I will set up homestead
- With the lady of my choice.”
- “And after this”, the old man probed,
- “What will life hold for thee?”
- “W-why then”, replied the shaken youth,
- “I’ll raise a family!”
- “And when they’ve all grown up and gone,
- What will be left for you?”
- “Then I’ll grow old, my wife and I,
- Yes, that is what we’ll do.”
- “I know all this,” the old man said,
- “This was my tale as well;
- But after you’ve grown old my son,
- What will you do, pray tell?”
- “Why then I’ll die,” the student quipped
- “When I’m threescore and ten.”
- “And after that,” the old man cried
- And after DEATH, what then?“
(Written on 22nd September, 2021)
Dear Reader, if you found the above Article and Addendum to be informative, interesting, edifying or beneficial, you may also be interested in reading the following:
- Note 81 – ‘What Is The Gospel Of God?’
- Note 89 – ‘If You Were Offered The Opportunity To Live Forever, Would You Take It?’
- Note 92 – ‘The God Who Created Us Is A Great God’
- Note 95 – ‘Are You Too Puffed Up, Full Of Yourself Or Prideful?’
- Note 286 – ‘The Stronghold Of Self’
- Note 288 – ‘Sure Signs Of Pride In The Church’
Additionally, under the ‘BIBLE-BELIEVING Daughters’ Page:
- Note 24 – ‘The Blessing Of Brokenness’
- Note 30 – ‘Look At What ‘I’ Have Done?
- Note 181 – ‘The Folly Of Pride’