Omri and Ozymandias
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 shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked 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."
"The righteous will...be remembered forever" (Psalm 112:6).
Carolyn asked me what I was doing. “Thinking about Omri,” I said.
“Who was Omri?”, she replied. Exactly!
From a historical, political standpoint, Omri was the most notable of Israel’s kings. Ancient Near East monuments remark on his military and political genius and for two hundred years after his death, Israel was known among the nations as “Omri–land.”
Yet Omri is given only eight verses in the Bible and the historic assessment of his achievements is that, like Shelly's Ozymandias, other than a few pieces of broken pottery, "nothing beside remains” (1Kings 16:21-28).
Few things remain in this life it seems, apropos of which a friend of mine once asked me to name:
- The five wealthiest men in the world.
- The last four Heisman trophy winners.
- The last three winners of the Miss America contest.
Then he asked me to name…
- The person who brought me to faith.
- Two people who have walked with me through dark hours.
- Three people who have loved me through the years.
These are the men and women who "will be remembered forever." Theirs is the fruit that remains (John 15:16).