Looking at our calendars, we have seven long months each with 31 days and five shorter ones with 30 days or less. This month of October is a long one and one of the better ones in my opinion. Weather now has a chance of getting cooler, while God’s handiwork and glory this month give our trees, flowers and roadside plants beautiful colors. The problem is that these colors are short-lived. They briefly beautify our forests, yards and roadways, and then ‘poof’, they are gone when cold air reaches them. Where we live, our seasonal weather change keeps us looking forward to what’s coming next, but grass or weed growth and leaves falling creates work and problems outside our homes. Even though temperatures sometimes hang on we are still thankful for short and defined seasons unlike some places having only one temperate zone like those living near the equator or closer to the polar caps.
Our Bible has many features and references about shortness, brevity, including abbreviated stories. Here are a few: This is a short six word obituary: “. . .There Miriam died and was buried.” - Numbers 20:1-NIV. I like to read about Biblical Job because he toughed it out, hung in there and came out better in the end. Here, he has momentary joy: “Are not my days almost over? Turn away from me so I can have a moment’s joy.”- Job 10:20-NIV. Job also had great wisdom. He seemed to know comparatively that life on earth is like a fleeting shadow: (1) “Man born of woman is of few days and full of trouble (2) He springs up like a flower and withers away; like a fleeting shadow, he does not endure.” Job 14:1-2-NIV.
This is one of the shortest stories in the Bible: (14) “There was a little city, and few men within it; and there came a great king against it, and besieged it, and built great bulwarks against it: (15) Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city; yet no man remembered that same poor man. (16) Then said I, Wisdom is better than strength: nevertheless the poor man's wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard.”- Ecclesiastes 9:14-16-KJV. Also, there are several brief single-chapter Books in the Bible. These are: Obadiah 1-21; Philemon 1-21; 2 John 1-13; 3 John 1-14 and Jude 1:25. The shortest chapter in the Bible is Jeremiah 45:1-5.
Jesus, with authority, gave a short two-word command: “And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him.”- Mark 2:14-KJV. At a very young age, when I first started learning and memorizing Bible verses I could always get by quoting the shortest verse in the Bible -- a two-word verse: “Jesus wept”-John 11:35-KJV.
Here is a profound truth for us Gentiles stated briefly: (1) “For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles (2) Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, (3) that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation . . . ”- Ephesians 3:1-3-NIV. There were ten kings with the shortest reign: (12) “The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but who for one hour will receive authority as kings along with the beast (13) They have one purpose and will give their power and authority to the beast.”- Revelation 17:12-13-NIV.
Finally, here is the most important short sentence and verse in the Bible “ . . . Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.”- Ecclesiastes 12:12-13-KJV.