GOD, TIME, AND
OUR HUMAN PREDICAMENT
WITH THE BEGINNING of a new
year, humanly speaking, we are made to think about time. When we think
about time, our thoughts center upon God and man. The 90th Psalm puts God
and man in sharp contrast. God does not exist in the context of time, but
in timeless eternity. He is "from everlasting to everlasting" (which is
hard for us to grasp). Man, in sharp contrast, is a creature of time hemmed
in by days, months, and years which will eventually end in death. A sinful,
fallen being, his life is short and filled with hardships. Job well exclaimed,
"Man that is born of woman is of few days, and full of trouble" (Job 14:1).
The Psalmist said, Psalms 90:10, "The days of our years are threescore
and ten [seventy years]: and if by reason of strength they be fourscore
years [eighty years], yet is their strength [in their boast is only] labour
and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away."
How are we going to respond to our human predicament and situation in which
we find ourselves? There are three basic ways in which we can respond.
(1) We can become sour and embittered that this is our human lot (or, at
the best, stoically endure it). We can despair of life and become cynical.
The word "cynical" comes from a Greek word that indicates a dog, a canine,
and consequently to be cynical is to be like a snarling dog. And that's
about how some people look at life.
(2) We can embrace what has been called the Epicurean philosophy--eat,
drink, and be merry. Live for today. Cram all the worldly pleasure into
your life that you can while you can. "You only live once," we are told.
And so many people today, whether consciously or unconsciously, seem to
have embraced this philosophy. But this is very, very foolish. A rich farmer
thought this way in Luke 12:15-21 as he said to himself, "Soul, thou hast
much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be
merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required
of thee; then whose shall those things be which thou has provided? So is
he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God." Paul
warned about this philosophy in I Corinthians 15:32-34.
(3) We can take heed to what the Psalmist said, "So teach us to number
our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom" (Psalms 90:12). This
was said after considering the frailty and brevity of human life in contrast
with the Almighty God of eternity. In view of our mortality we need to
become time conscious and "apply our hearts to wisdom." We are told the
fear of God is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10). Today is the day
of salvation (II Corinthians 6:2). "It is appointed unto men once to die,
but after this the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27). Get right with God while we
can (II Peter 3:9), and live right (Ephesians 5:15-17; Romans 13:11-14).
In getting ready to die, and dying to self, we learn how to live (Romans
6; Galatians 2:20; Matthew 16:25). We are getting ready to live for eternity.
Then with the Psalmist we can look to God and say, "LORD, thou hast been
our dwelling place [refuge, hiding place] in all generations" (Psalms 90:1).
Then what we do has a sense of permanency. With the Psalmist, who looked
to Him who is "from everlasting to everlasting," we can pray, "And let
the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish thou the work
of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it" (Psalms
90:17). Only one life will soon be past; only what's done for Christ will
last. (VOL. 34, NO. 1, 1996)