Dream word – SMELL
“Whose glorious beauty is a fading flower which is at the head of the verdant valleys, to those who are overcome with wine! Behold, the Lord has a mighty and strong one, like a tempest of hail and a destroying storm, like a flood of mighty waters overflowing, who will bring them down to the earth with His hand. The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, will be trampled underfoot; and the glorious beauty is a fading flower which is at the head of the verdant valley.” NKJV
Smelling the flowers of fear
I bade farewell to some friends this morning as they left for a few of well earned days of relaxation in the Lake District and in particular, Ullswater, Windermere and Cockermouth. I returned home via an area of Brighton called “Poets Corner,” driving past both Coleridge and Wordsworth Streets, both named after the founding poets of the English Romantic movement. Today of course, is Wordsworth’s birthday, born 1790, in Cockermouth and who isn’t familiar with his poem entitled “Daffodils,” written no doubt from images he saw around Ullswater, whose first line also begins, “I wandered lonely as a cloud.” Within the poem, the happy memories of the daffodils Wordsworth had seen had been so etched onto his spirit, that he was able to later call them forth in better times of fuller reflection and the beauty and joy of that recall, would cause his soul to dance with joy. If he hadn’t fathered five or six kids, I would have worried about Wordsworth!
As Wordsworth poetically called upon nature for the remembrance of joy, so Isaiah, that great poet prophet of old, takes the mind of the Hebrews to some flowers and verdant valleys of a very different kind. Where Wordsworth calls forth flowers of joy, Isaiah calls forth flowers of fear.
It was Omri, who had purchased a mountain from Shomeron and built the new capital city of his Northern Israelite Kingdom upon it, naming the city after the original holder, Shomeris (Samaria). This well healed city was surrounded by garland hills and moated by fertile and verdant plains. The rebellious people of God lived here in comparative comfort and luxury, enjoying in particular flower garland wine parties of wild wet drunkenness, whilst the dry drunkenness of pride and arrogance, disdain wealth and power, hardened both their arteries and their hearts.
God the poet Master, calls to mind these same party petals and by book ending with the phrase, “the glorious beauty is a fading flower which is at the head of the verdant valley,” portrays in picturesque and beautiful form, one of the most powerful descriptions of judgement the Bible has ever given! The Assyrians would soon grab Israel and like a strong and mighty, big and angry man, take the beautiful glass of Samaria, so full now of rich, red sweet, teetering toppled wine, and smash it to pieces on the cold hard cobbled floor of judgement, splattering its contents across her whitewashed walls for all the world to see. In our poetic text for tonight, God takes anger, tempest, hail and flood and binds them in a colourful party flower garland laid in the lap of the rich green grass of home. God in effect says “You wet and dry drunkards of forgetful and rebellious scorn, smell the flowers and behold their fragile petalled beauty, I’m coming to stomp them in the ground and grind them in the dirt.” And so He did.
We must be careful from what vine we drink and beware of its intoxicating nature, for the vine of vain glory and the flower of pride, has led to the downfall of many a dry and drunken nation.
It appears to me, in the spring of my writing, with binge drinking in the United Kingdom and alcohol consumption being the worst in the whole of Europe, that we need to remember what lies amidst these springing, swaying, yellow daffodils, especially as this physical manifestation of drunkenness is simply a metaphor for a national, spiritual organ failure! There are dark clouds on the horizon and hail in April days. Summer’s not looking good for ancient Albion, no, it’s not looking good at all.
Listen: “In that day the Lord of hosts will be for a crown of glory and a diadem of beauty To the remnant of His people, for a spirit of justice to him who sits in judgment, and for strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate.” - Isaiah 28:5-6 NKJV.
Pray: Lord, have mercy upon our drunkenness both wet and dry and hold back Your wrath from our rebellious lands. Please Lord in Your anger, remember mercy, in Jesus name we pray, amen.
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