“But I trusted in thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my God. My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies and from them that persecute me. Make thy face to shine upon thy servant: save me for thy mercies’ sake.” (Psalm 31:14-16)
A time like David speaks of is difficult. In this, mere words cannot give comfort and strength. There must be more. David goes to the heart of the matter. He must have God’s word and guidance. He first reflects that he has trusted in Jehovah, the LORD. He has here a keen sense that this is his God; the true God; the only God. He is sharing with us where our faith must be. It has to be in this righteous, sovereign, omnipotent God. A smaller God will not do! It must be the creator; the redeemer, the savior. No other God will do. There is no other God. He is it!
He says “You are my God. My times are in your hand.” I have thought on this. Why does David say “times”? It is not at first apparent, but there are phases of a person’s life. Not just eras of history, but individual segments of one’s life. Some may be short, some may be long.We know not which time is to be our last. Which phase will be our last breath? We can’t tell until it comes. This is one of God’s mysteries; one of His secrets which He must reveal when He’s ready.
A TIME TO BE BORN
We are told in Ecclesiastes 3:1, 2 “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted.” These verses also examine the phases of life and how God has arranged them. If you will read them through verse 11, you perhaps can see the arranging of a life by God’s hand. Actually He is the only one who can do this. He is life’s originator and sustainer, as well as its terminator. God is in absolute control of His universe, and of we that are here in it.
He tells us there is a time to every purpose under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. You may not know it, or even believe it, but you are on this earth in God’s purpose. If He had not said every purpose, I could let some of you off the hook, but He says every purpose. That includes you and I. All of us! If you really grasp this verse, it should make you fear and tremble. God has you all figured out, from beginning to end. You will accomplish nothing, unless He wills that you do. You will live exactly how long He has decreed, and no more! He says there is a time to die. That is when you will die. Not one minute later, or one minute earlier. We will look closer at that, but first let’s look at life. He says a time to plant, and a time to pluck up.
A TIME TO PLANT
God has ordained some planters and some pluckers. It is part of His eternal purpose. With the plants He has given, there must be some to plant, water and harvest. This is within God’s purpose. In our verse in Psalm 31, David reflected “My times are in thy hands.” In Ecclesiastes He says there is “a time to every purpose under the heaven.” Don’t you see that Almighty God has worked out all the details for this world He made, as well as all the rest of His universe? He includes in His words “a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up.” (Found in Ecclesiastes 3:3). He covers so much more, but I want to focus on the planting. Do you realize that this world has continued for thousands of years with God’s plan working. It hasn’t stopped since He started it. The seasons and the years continue. They have not stopped either. You see, all the chaos in this world was not started by the Lord. It was started by man.
He says in verse 4 “A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.” None of these things were man’s invention; they were God’s! Oh, if we could just understand this! One little saying I picked up from someone many years ago says “79 years is but a vapor. It is a short time, not to one who is 20, but when you are over 50, it doesn’t seem long at all.” Remember that James says “For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.”(James 4:14b) We must understand this; we have a very limited time on the earth. Satan will deceive us here if he can. He will make you think you are not limited. What you plan to accomplish must be now; not later! If you are a Christian, realize that today is planting time. God is going to harvest the crop soon. You must work while it is day. You must! The night is coming when no man can work.
A TIME TO DIE
Here is the part no one wants to read. Death! It is coming for all of us, some sooner, and some later, but it is coming. You may live to be 90, or even as George Beverly Shea who is 93. You may live that long, but death is coming. Did you know that in 2011 the number of World War Two veterans is dwindling rapidly? Do you know how many there were over 10 years ago in 2000? One database stated there were over five million then, but many have died since then. I was unable to acquire a present, accurate figure. I estimate three million. By 2020 most will be gone. Do you know how many World War Two vets there will be on earth in December 2041? Very likely, there will be none left here, for they would be at least 117-120 years old! Time marches on. David could have said it that way; time marches on. It does in reality.
It was a Puritan that I can’t recall the name of, who was reported to have said “When it comes time to die, make sure that all you have to do—is die!” By the way, this same statement was uttered by missionary Jim Elliot. He wrote it in some correspondence before his death at the hands of the Auca Indians of Ecuador on January 8, 1956. He was killed along with four other missionaries. His journal entry for October 28, 1949, expresses his belief that missions work was more important than his life. "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." It appears to me that our verses commend this attitude. No sacrifice is too great.
Also Christ died that we should not have to die for eternity. Richard Sibbes (1577-1635), said “Death is only a grim porter to let us into a stately palace.”Published by Charles Woodruff- email: firstname.lastname@example.org