TO CHEW ON: "But, beloved, do not forget this one thing that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." 2 Peter 3:8
The Advent season is one in which we are exquisitely aware of time. Our seasonal customs of gift-giving and celebrating with food and drink have us counting shopping days till Christmas. Advent calendars deliver anticipated treats to children every morning. Our agenda books are full of commitments to attend banquets, concerts, and gatherings.
Even when we slow down to ponder the meaning of the season, the issue of time is still there in the yearning voices of the prophets. They saw the coming of Messiah and salvation but from a distance. They didn't know when it would happen.
Our reading today reminds us about how our concept of time differs from God's. A thousand years is one day? One day is a thousand years? But it makes sense when you're the God of forever past and present, to express one day in such incomprehensible-to-us units. It brings to mind other mentions of time in the Bible and we ask, what aspects of time matter enough to God to include in His Word? Here are some:
Our time on earth is brief:
"Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths. And my age is as nothing before You. Certainly every man at his best state is but a vapour. Selah" - Psalm 39:5.
There is a fullness of time—God's appointed time when everything is ready. This was true about the coming of Messiah—Jesus:
"But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law" - Ephesians 1:10.This is also true of the end-of-earth aspect of filled-up time that Peter talks about in our reading:
"But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise etc.…" 2 Peter 3:10.
There is a right use of time.
"See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time…" - Ephesians 5:15,16 (emphasis added).There is an acceptable time, favourable for seeking God.
"For He says: 'In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you.' Behold, now is the accepted time; behold now is the day of salvation" - 2 Corinthians 6:2 (emphasis added).
However, we readily presume that time and opportunity will continue.
" 'Come,' one says, 'I will bring wine, and we will fill ourselves with intoxicating drink. Tomorrow will be as today and much more abundant' " - Isaiah 56:12.
Procrastination is our temptation.
"Now as he (Paul) reasoned about righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and answered, 'Go away for now; when I have a convenient time, I will call for you.' " Acts 24:25.
But James warns us about how little time we have:
"…whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour that appears for a little time and then vanishes away." - James 4:14 (emphasis added).
What about us? Do we live aware of life's brevity? Are we watching for signs of the fullness of time? Have we taken advantage of the acceptable time we're living in? What about our unsaved loved ones? Or do we put off for tomorrow those decisions and actions we know we should attend to today? Let's put ourselves into God's time-frame, adjusting our lives to His thoughts about time in whatever way they apply to us.
PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to view my time on earth realistically. Give me wisdom for how to use well the time I have today. Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.