Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
History has proven that men are often more prone to arrogance than to humility. Thus, almost immediately after our Lord tells us of our role in creation (see Genesis 1:26-30 and last week's post), how being made in His image we are to rule over the world as His vice-regents, He humbles us by reminding us what we are truly made of... dust. We have been chosen by God to rule over this world not because of any inherent goodness or regal quality in us, but rather by an extra dispensation of His grace to us.
Psalm 103:13-16 makes the point this way,
As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.
Reading that passage you get the idea that David is saying that we are but dust. One breath of the Lord's nostrils and we would disperse to the ends of the earth. Thus, our loving Father is gentle in correcting us for He (better than anyone else) knows how fragile we are.
Again Ecclesiastes 3:18-20 frames the point slightly differently saying,
I also said to myself, “As for humans, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals. Surely the fate of human beings is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; humans have no advantage over animals. Everything is meaningless. All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return.
We are no better than the animals that God has set us over. We are both made from the dust and when we die we return to the dust the same as they do.
What does all this mean? Well...it means this: Humble yourself before the Lord and remember that you are but dust. All that you have, He has given you. You haven't earned any of it. He has freely given it all. So when you enter His presence in prayer or worship do so with a humble spirit. But in your humility never forget our great hope.
The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man (I Corinthians 15:47-49).
One day the Christian will be made like Christ. We are dust now, but one day we will have heavenly bodies. We will be made like Christ. That is our hope and to that end we strive to be increasingly conformed into His image day by day.
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