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The insistent voice of the Holy Spirit reminds mortal man frequently in the Scriptures of the brevity of his life. By the repeated use of similes, the Spirit of the Lord impresses on us that our days are limited and passing swiftly.

For instance, He likens life to a weaver's shuttle (Job 7:6), the device that darts back and forth in the loom almost faster than the eye can follow.

Job speaks of life as wind (Job 7:7), here one minute and gone the next, never to return. The psalmist echoes the sentiment, speaking of "a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again" (Psalms 78:39).

Bildad unnecessarily reminds Job that "our days on earth are a shadow" (Job 8:9), a picture that is repeated in Psalms 102:11, "My days are like a shadow that declineth." A shadow is ephemeral - lasting a very short time.

Job compares his life to a leaf (Job 13:25), fragile, frail and fading; and to dry stubble, driven away by the winds. Isaiah appeals to the Lord's pity by reminding Him that "we all do fade as a leaf" (Isaiah 64:6).

David describes his days as a handbreadth (Psalms 39:5), as narrow as the width of his hand. Viewing life as a journey, it would be about four inches long.

Moses, the man of God, depicts life as a sleep (Psalms 90:5), in which time passes without our being conscious of it.

In the same place, Moses speaks of people and their lives as grass: "In the morning they are like grass which groweth up. In the morning it flourisheth, and groweth up; in the evening it is cut down and withereth" (Psalms 90:5-6). Centuries later David used the same figure in describing our transiency: "As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more" (Psalms 103:15-16). As Spurgeon said, the grass is "sown, grown, blown, mown, gone." And that is life in a nutshell!

Finally James adds his testimony that life is as evanescent as vapor (James 4:14). It appears for a brief moment, then vanishes away.

This accumulation of similes is designed to do two things. First, it should motivate the unconverted to consider the shortness of time and the importance of being ready to meet God. Second it should cause believers to number their days so that they might apply their hearts to wisdom (Psalms 90:12). This will result in lives or devotion and dedication to Christ, in lives that are lived for eternity.


Bible Verses: James 4:14Job 7:6Job 7:7Psalms 78:39Job 8:9Psalms 102:11Job 13:25Isaiah 64:6Psalms 39:5Psalms 90:5Psalms 90:5-6Psalms 103:15-16James 4:14Psalms 90:12

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