The Days of Our Years
"The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labor and sorry; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away." (Psalms 90:10) "What is your life? For ye are a vapor that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away." (James 4:14)
These quotations from the Old Testament and the New bring sharply into focus the brevity of human life. No man can read such words with any degree of comprehension without realizing how swift and how certain is the approach of death for every one of us. All our earthly hopes and ambitions, our plans, dreams, and fondest expectations will finally come to rest beneath a little mound of dirt over which the green grass will grow for centuries after we have returned to the elements. How futile and how silly to think we can build anything that will endure on this earth!
In view of the brevity of life, and the certainty of judgment, what manner of persons ought we to be? "Seeing that these things are thus all to be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy living and godliness, looking for and earnestly desiring the coming of the day of God..." are the words used by Peter to impress our responsibility.
God's plan for redemption of the soul is simple. By the sacrifice of Christ, He has made it possible for me to escape the awful punishment which is the due recompense for my sin. Believing in Christ, I turn in penitence from sin, and am buried through baptism "unto the remission of" all sins. This brings me into covenant relationship with God, makes me a citizen in His kingdom. It then is my task to live each day in the consciousness of that relationship, to "walk worthily of the calling" wherewith I have been called.
Business ventures, family troubles, political upheavals, personal problems - how trivial! There is one problem, and only one, before every one of us: to live a life that is pleasing to God. Whether that life is lived in riches or in poverty, in political freedom or in chains and imprisonment, in domestic felicity or in misery and loneliness, is quite unimportant. Whether one receives the adulation and praises of men or their contempt and animosity matters little. If one walks with the Lord, in the full assurance of His favor, neither the flattery of friends nor the hatred of foes will count for much. The days of our years are so few, so filled with duties and labors, that we should waste little time in thinking whether our actions are pleasing to men or not. Do they please God? That is the one and only question to be considered. If yes, then with confidence we can press on; if no, then we should tremble in terror until the situation is changed.