The Phantom


We are merely moving shadows {phantoms}, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing. We heap up wealth, not knowing who will spend it.

~Psalm 39:6, NLT


Life is short; it will soon be past and only what you do for Jesus will last.

~C.T. Studd

Both commentaries I read point to spiritual discipline as the theme of this Psalm. Dr. Wiersbe thinks that David had some kind of stroke that affected his speech and movement. David saw it as a chastening from God and a reminder of the brevity of life. So we have two subjects here: spiritual discipline and the brevity of life. I want to talk about the brevity of life. I woke up this morning thinking about the brevity of life. My first year of retirement went by like an SST. I don’t like January but even January went by quickly. David uses three analogies in referring to the brevity of life: [1] width of your hand [2] our breath [3] and a shadow. A hand span to the Hebrew was the width of four fingers which would be 3-4 inches. Our breath is not visible until the weather gets cold and then you can see the breath when we exhale but how long do you see it? It appears for just a moment and then it is gone. James used basically the same analogy when he said, “Our life is a vapor that appears for a moment and then is gone.” Put water on the stove and it becomes steam. The steam rises from the kettle and you see it for a moment and then it is gone. It’s the same idea.

I want to talk for just a moment about the third metaphor, the shadow or as the NASB reads, the ‘phantom.’ A phantom is a figment of the imagination. It is an illusion. It is something that appears real but it has no substance. I think the greatest phantom of all is death. Modern translation use the word ‘shadow’ instead of phantom. Those of us raised in the cotton fields know how quickly a shadow can pass and life passes quickly like a shadow. But there is a second aspect to the metaphor that I want to look at: a shadow appears real but it has no substance. No one has ever been injured by a shadow; perhaps from the fear of the shadow but not the shadow itself. A shadow is however, a reflection or image of something that is real. I have seen dogs chase the shadows of birds. The dog was looking down at the shadow on the ground but the bird was actually overhead. I like what Paul said to the Colossians, Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. Did you catch that? There is ‘this life’ and there is ‘real life.’ This life is earthly and our real life is heavenly. This life is merely a shadow, a phantom, of the life to come. Remember, the reality is always greater than the phantom or the shadow.

One thing is certain: life is short. I repented last night after crawling in bed: I wasted some time yesterday and it is too precious to waste. I must be a better steward of my time. It is not the days in our life that count most; it is the life in our days.

They were in the process of moving Larry to a room; just waiting for one to become available but he is very weak. I would feel better if they left in in CCU. Fuzz was feeling much better and was waiting to be released. He was excited about going home. He prefers Rose Mary’s cooking to that of Decatur General. Fuzz like soul food: pinto beans, cornbread and fried tators. Wow! I’ve made myself hungry.

Andre & Veronica

I listen to Andrea Bocelli a lot. I love his rendition of the LORD’s prayer. I think the man has the purest voice of anyone on the planet. I also listed to he and Celine Dion do THE PRAYER and I was moved. If someone wanted to give me concert tickets to either of those two; I would take them. That is, here in these United States. I can’t afford a ticket to Rome. Bocelli is shy and suffers from stage fright. His wife, Veronica Berti, is his manager and she sings with him on occasions. She is not Celine Dion but she aint bad.  His anxiety about performing is so great that he never knows when or where is next performance will be. He goes to bed at night having no idea where or if he will sing the next day. She wakes him up in the morning and tells him what to do. She has every thing planned: all he has to do is dress and follow her. Sounds kinda like my life. He has been blind since age 12 so most of the time, his eyes are closed. He can sing in six different languages. I only speak three: Redneck, Pig Latin and broken English.

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