|Volume 18 Number 12 December 2016||
The Bible is replete with passages about time. God made time for us; He has no need of it. He is the eternal One; He is the self-existent One; He is the One who inhabits the expanse of eternity.
Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 3:1, “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.” In the Truth for Today Commentary on this book, Denny Petrillo made these observations on this verse.
The writer did not want us to despair because there is nothing we can do about anything in life, as if all were preordained (appointed). This was not at all Solomon’s point. If it were, his suggestions of choices would not make sense. In fact, we are free moral agents—free to do as we choose. However, the wise person considers the will of God in every decision he makes. He can live life optimistically, not pessimistically, since God is in control and since God provides guidance for His people.
Psalm 39:4 says, “LORD, make me to know my end, and what is the measure of my days, that I may know how frail I am.” Psalm 90:12 states, “So teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Tom Wacaster wrote a piece entitled, Time: How Are You Using It? One paragraph reads:
If a man in some remote corner of the world can “number his day” without the aid of a watch, or a calendar, so as to make the most of every moment, why is it that you and I, with the assistance of precise clocks, fail to get done what needs to be done? Perhaps the problem lies not in the awareness of time increments, with its hours and minutes, but in how we use that which has been given to us.
Nehemiah and his workers completed the wall of Jerusalem in 52 days despite fierce opposition from Israel’s enemies (Nehemiah 6:15-16). Nehemiah 8 tells how Ezra the scribe and priest read before the assembly of men and women from the Book of the Law. Ezra read from morning until midday to those who could hear with understanding, and their ears were attentive to the reading of the Book of the Law. Nehemiah 9:1-2 conveys how the children of Israel were assembled with fasting, in sackcloth and with dust on their heads. They had separated themselves from all foreigners; then, they stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers. Nehemiah 9:3 reveals, “And they stood up in their place and read from the Book of the Law of the LORD their God for one-fourth of the day; and for another fourth they confessed and worshiped the LORD their God.”
Time spent reading God’s Word is vital. How does that kind of reading of the Word, confessing and worshiping of God compare to ours? Who among us is reading the Bible for six hours daily? Who among us is confessing and worshiping God for six hours daily? Some of us would have to be painfully honest and admit that is not happening in our lives. Yet, others could say with loving adoration it is a part of every day that God gives to them. It has been said if we can spend one hour daily watching the news, we can spend an hour reading the Book! Reading the Word is not all, but it certainly is the place to start.
Time spent studying God’s Word is essential. We must be diligent in our daily study so that it may result in spiritual growth and maturity. It is a spiritual discipline that takes an extremely long time to acquire. The reward is our hunger and thirst for righteousness changes and fills our hearts with lasting contentment and happiness (Matthew 5:6). Studying will show us approved to God, not to one another, as we rightly or accurately handle the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15). We must always strive to be students of God’s Word and servants of His will. We are commanded to grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). What does that mean, and how is it done? The grace of Jesus Christ is His divine favor and divine initiative toward us. We grow in the Lord’s favor as our knowledge of Him increases. Our knowledge of Him increases as we continue to read and study. His grace continues to be extended to us as we pursue and increase our knowledge of Him. Jesus Himself increased in wisdom and stature as well as in favor with God and men (Luke 2:52).
Time spent in meditation on God’s Word is imperative. Meditation is giving God a place of conscious awareness in our thoughts. It is being very deliberate and focused as we recall eternal truths. In his commentary, The Songs and Devotions of David, Volume 6, Tom Wacaster wrote, “Meditation upon God’s word is vain unless we determine to make application and maintain purity of life. We must ‘refrain’ from ‘every evil way.’…How true that there is no genuine reverence for God’s law until there is the application of the same to our lives.” Psalm 119:148 declares, “My eyes are awake through the night watches, that I may meditate on Your word.” Brother Wacaster’s comments on this passage are worth reflection. “Not only did our writer anticipate the morning, but even the ‘night watches.’ Night time was the occasion for meditation. When all was quiet, and the mind could reflect upon the day’s activities, and contemplate the wonderful blessings received from God’s bountiful hand, the heart could meditate upon the word and gain strength for the following day, and peace for the night’s rest.”
Time spent in prayer to God is crucial. Prayer is the lifeblood in sustaining the relationship with Divinity. Charles B. Hodge, Jr. wrote, Prayer—The Voice of Faith. In the first chapter he wrote:
Prayer is crucial, because prayer demonstrates our relationship with God, our real faith, our very lives. This is why thinking about prayer profoundly terrifies! To reduce prayer to magic exposes our relationship with God as idolatry… The person who only prays when he feels like it will not pray much. It is true that “you can do more than pray after you have prayed, but you cannot do more than pray until you have prayed” (emphasis added). Pray first! We pray to live! Prayer is life! The heart of religion is prayer. Prayer is confession. Prayer is submission. Prayer is helplessness. Prayer is looking up to God. Prayer is obedience. Prayer is life with God.”
It is intensely noteworthy that Jesus continued all night in prayer before He chose the twelve apostles (Luke 6:12-13).
In the last chapter on prayer, he names some great biblical men of prayer: Daniel, David, Nehemiah, Moses, Jesus, Peter and Paul. He wrote:
The key ingredient in Christianity is time—not leftover time, not throwaway time, but quality time. Time for contemplation, meditation, reflection, reverence—unhurried, uninterrupted time! …It is not only difficult to begin a prayer life; it is even more difficult to continue. We start, but we get knocked off our routines and then quit. We eat without ceasing; we must pray without ceasing. Consistent prayer in the smooth times of life prepares one for the storms. If you have not been praying before the storm, it may be too late during the storm (crisis). Do not wait until you need prayer to pray! Prayer must become a habit—but it must never be reduced to a habit.
Jared Jackson from Stockton, California, publishes an online, personal faith-builder e-zine entitled, Fortify Your Faith. In April 2016, The Power of Self-Discipline was the topic. In one section he stated seven keys to better self-discipline. He listed time as the first discipline.
You are in control of when and how much of your time is spent in various activities. What consumes most of your time? Who do you spend time with? What do you do in your free time? Give me a breakdown of a person’s time and I can pretty much peg where they are on the spiritual barometer. Use time wisely. Learn to number your days so that you can have a heart of wisdom (Psa. 90:12). Redeem time now… before it’s too late (Eph. 5:19).
This observation is also in Tom Wacaster’s article, Time: How Are You Using It?
To realize the value of ONE YEAR, ask a student who failed a grade.
To realize the value of ONE MONTH, ask a mother who gave birth to a premature baby.
To realize the value of ONE WEEK, ask the editor of a weekly newspaper.
To realize the value of ONE HOUR, ask the lovers who are waiting to meet.
To realize the value of ONE MINUTE, ask the person who missed the train.
To realize the value of ONE SECOND, ask the person who just avoided an accident.
To realize the value of ONE MILLISECOND, ask the person who won a silver medal in the Olympics.
Let us all ask ourselves, “Is God pleased with the amount of time I spent on spiritual growth and maturity this year? Has He been honored in the ways that I have spent the time He has so graciously given to me this year?” Time spent with God comes under the heading of putting Him first.