Like the Desert Sand.
“…when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind, nothing was gained under the sun. “ Ecclesiastes 2:10.
The British Museum has on display the statue of Ramesses the Great, Pharaoh of the nineteenth dynasty of ancient Egypt, who was also known as Ozymandias. The statue was found in the early nineteenth century, lying in the desert sand of Egypt, broken off from its legs. The inscription on the base, when translated into English reads “King of Kings am I, Ozymandias. If anyone would know how great I am and where I lie, let him surpass one of my works.”
Two famous poems by Percy Shelley and Horace Smith were written about the statue and you can read them below. They tell us about the futility of Ozymandias who thought that his works would continue for ever. He expected that generations following would be amazed at his achievements. But what was left by the nineteenth century AD? Nothing but sand, dry, dusty, wind-driven sand.
Solomon was wise enough to realise in his own lifetime the same things about his great achievements in Israel, and the book of Ecclesiastes records his thoughts on the matter.
You and I need to learn from this. In a few short years, nothing will remain of our plans and schemes, hopes and dreams. Only God is eternal, only His works last forever and only he can give eternal rewards to those who serve Him. (2 Corinthians 4:16 – 18, 1 Peter 5:4).
It has been well said “Only one life, ‘twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.”
Could this be time to change the goals and focus of your life?
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter’d visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp’d on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock’d them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away
In Egypt’s sandy silence, all alone,
Stands a gigantic Leg, which far off throws
The only shadow that the Desert knows:
“I am great OZYMANDIAS,” saith the stone,
“The King of Kings; this mighty City shows
“The wonders of my hand.” The City’s gone,
Nought but the Leg remaining to disclose
The site of this forgotten Babylon.
We wonder, and some Hunter may express
Wonder like ours, when thro’ the wilderness
Where London stood, holding the Wolf in chace,
He meets some fragments huge, and stops to guess
What powerful but unrecorded race
Once dwelt in that annihilated place