That Great Day
“Seventy years are given to us! Some even live to eighty. But even the best years are filled with pain and trouble; soon they disappear, and we fly away… Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.” (Psalm 90:10, 12 NLT)
The first lie that mankind was confronted with was when the serpent told Eve, “You surely will not die!” (Genesis 3:4) Now, we all know that the primary point this foul snake was making to this hapless woman was that she could step out in self-will without fear of consequences. God had told her and her husband that if they ever ate of the tree of life that they would die. The devil came along to refute that. And one of the most deceptive aspects of sin is that it doesn’t usually bring about instantaneous physical death. Instead, it brings about a slow-acting spiritual death.
But I believe the devil’s words (“You surely will not die!”) reflect another lie: the notion that death is a long ways off. Indeed, the devil does everything within his power to keep people focused upon the moment, to the neglect of the eternal. Of course, an addiction is the perfect example of someone who goes through life living for momentary pleasure, in spite of the fact that it will ruin his life and eventually send him to hell.
Most live without the slightest concern about their final day on earth. They think about today, this day, now. But humans have no guarantees about tomorrow. I reflected on this reckless tendency one time as I watched a BBC documentary on World War Two. I can still remember the faces of those young German soldiers who were marching in a victory parade in Berlin, flush with tremendous victories over Holland, Belgium and France. Those were heady days! Their songs rang through the night everywhere they went. Yet, a couple of videos later (within months of that victory parade), 300,000 of these same soldiers lay frozen to death in a cruel Russian winter.
Yes, the enemy had successfully obscured the fact that they could meet death at any time. Their final day on earth and the moment of judgment that would instantly follow it seemed a long way off. They were happy to live for the moment, ignoring the eternal.
And how about you? Do you live your life as if it will go on forever or do the decisions of your daily life reflect the wisdom of someone who understands the brevity of earth life?