The Breath of Our Nostrils!
by James Smith, 1860
"Stop trusting in man, whose breath is in his nostrils. Of what account is he?" Isaiah 2:22
We very frequently make too much of men, and then they become a snare unto us, and cause us trouble. Man is not to be trusted, he is not to be relied upon; and if we at all depend on him--he will surely disappoint us. This always has been the case, and always will be, therefore the prophet says, "Stop trusting in man, whose breath is in his nostrils. Of what account is he?"
Israel had a king once, of whom they seemed to be proud, and with whom they were pleased. They looked upon him as necessary to their existence, and anticipated from him both comfort and deliverance. But he is slain, and they are sorely disappointed--and in the bitterness of their souls they cry out, "The breath of our nostrils, the anointed of the Lord, was taken in their pits, of whom we said, under his shadow shall we live among the heathen." Lamentations 4:20. These words are more applicable to Jesus, than to Josiah, or Zedekiah, and to him let us apply them.
Jesus is to his church, as "the breath of her nostrils," that is, the life of man, therefore we read, "He takes away their breath, they die." All our life is in Jesus, and from him it flows to us. If we could be severed from him--it would be like taking away our breath, we would immediately die. Jesus is essential to our very existence, as well as to our comfort and prosperity. He is the anointed of the Lord, appointed to reign, and be sole sovereign in his church.
To him we owe obedience,
on him we fix our love, and
of him we make our boast.
Blessed Redeemer, you are as the breath of our nostrils to us; and as the anointed of the Lord, we would love you, obey you, and make you our boast!
"He was taken in their pits." The Jews with Judas for their guide, dug a pit for his feet, and he being delivered by the determinate counsel and fore-knowledge of God, was taken in their pits. For the sins of his people--he sunk into the horrible pit, and into the miry clay; from whence he cried, "You have laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deeps. Your wrath lies hard upon me, and you have afflicted me with all your waves!" He fell into the pit of the divine wrath, and there suffered the terrors of Jehovah--which otherwise we must have suffered forever! He descended into the pit of the grave, that from thence he might bring his people. In preparing those pits, his Church and his Father, his friends and his foes took part. He was taken--but not unawares, for all was according to a previous arrangement and plan.
"We said, under his shadow, we shall live among the heathen." He will afford us refreshing shade, and powerful protection. We shall sit down under his shadow with delight, and find his fruit sweet unto our taste. We may be exposed to the scoffs, reproaches, and persecutions of the heathen, which like a fiery sun, may throw its scorching beams upon us--but Jesus shall be our shield and our shade. He will be . . .
our friend in loneliness,
our comforter in distress, and
our Savior in every time of trouble. We expect life with all its comforts, life with all its pleasures, life with all its usefulness--to flow from him.
Yes, Jesus is the breath of our nostrils, the anointed of the Lord, and under his shadow we expect to live and be happy. He was taken in their pits--but he could not be detained there--he arose, he ascended, he lives, he rules, and under the shadow of his cross we live, and live happily too!
Reader, is Jesus to you, as the breath of your nostrils? Do you feel, that you could as soon live without breathing--as live without Jesus? Do you look upon him as the anointed of the Lord, the Christ of God, to whom you must pay homage, and to whom you must render obedience? Have you wept at his cross, rejoiced at his empty grave, and sung praises at his throne? O may Jesus become our all in all, and may we daily, more and more feel--that he is the breath of our nostrils, and expect to live under, and enjoy his shadow, among the heathen.
Jesus is precious, says the Word,
What comfort does this truth afford!
And those who in his name believe,
With joy this precious truth receive.
To them he is more precious far
Than life and all its comforts are;
Whatever things men precious call,
Christ is more precious than them all.
He's precious in his precious blood--
That pardoning and soul-cleansing blood;
He's precious, in his righteousness--
That precious, holy, heavenly dress.
In every office he sustains,
In every victory he gains,
In every council of his will--
He's precious to his people still.
As they draw near their journey's end,
How precious is their heavenly friend!
And, when in death they bow their head,
He's precious on a dying bed!
With them, may I in heaven be found,
And with Your precious glory crowned,
Join the sweet song, and there adore
A precious Christ, forevermore!