I love the fall – especially in the north, where the colors are so beautiful! Then one day it dawned on me that I was actually enjoy a beauty that comes from death – the leaves turn color because they are dying.
Isaiah uses an interesting analogy when speaking of our sin. In Isaiah 64:6, he says, “For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; and all of us wither like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.” He says we all wither like a leaf. Now that’s quite a picture.
When we lived in Michigan, we had a lot of trees around our house, especially beech and oak. They are particularly pretty in the summer, but when the fall came, I was confronted by the monumental task of raking all those leaves. We used a collection service, so I bagged the leaves and put them out by the curb, and watched the truck come by and take them away. That’s what happens to leaves. They wither, fall from the tree to the ground, and get raked up. Then they’re cast away. Now God is saying that we’re like that. The natural man is like those leaves. Each of us flourishes for a time, but then we wither away.
The word “wither” is a Hebrew word that means “to fade; or decay; or wilt.” It means “to be worn out; to vanish; to perish.”
I was in a museum recently where there was an exhibit of Egyptian mummies, and I was impressed by the fact that even with the most elaborate embalming techniques, the mummies were still withered and decayed – and very dead. Listen. That’s all we have to look forward to, unless we have eternal life with Christ. All of us will “wither like a leaf.”
Say – you may look good now, but just wait a few years. You’ll look just like those mummies.