Whoso keepeth the commandment shall feel no evil thing: and a wise man’s heart discerneth both time and judgment. Because to every purpose there is time and judgment, therefore the misery of man is great upon him. Ecclesiastes 8:5-6
The wicked man (otherwise described by Scripture as ‘the fool’) is one who lives in denial of death and judgment. He never embraces the hard fact of his own demise. And even if he does realise that his funeral is inevitable, he mistakenly entertains the thought that he is not going to face the Judge of all the earth — Who has authority to cast both soul and body into hell — and give an account for the things done in his body.
On the other hand, the wise man, according to the text, discerns “both time and judgment”. What does that mean? Psalm 90 sums up the attitude of the wise toward both.
Life is full of trouble and we are prone towards sin and rebellion. Time too is short. We can fill it up with worthless thoughts, words and deeds — but our lives will soon be cut off, ending all plans and hopes for tomorrow. We all pass on with regrets of what we could have done differently or what we were about to do and must now forsake. Aging itself puts much of this in perspective.
Judgment is coming assuredly to all men, and the believer too will be judged for the things done in his body, whether they be good or bad. Though we are never justified on the basis of our good works, yet our lives will be judged on whether we were good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
Though we are never justified on the basis of our good works, our lives will be judged on whether we were good stewards of the manifold grace of God
Friends, do you not hear the clock’s announcement of the present flowing towards the precipice of eternity? As you look at old photographs, can you not see in the mirror the effect of time upon the surface of the earthen vessel, which will soon be turned back to dust?
As this outer man perishes, are the marks of grace and of the Spirit as plain and discernible on the “inner man” to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do? So many of us are like the description of Ephraim in Hosea 7:9: “Strangers have devoured his strength, and he knoweth it not: yea, gray hairs are here and there upon him, yet he knoweth not.”
As Charles Bridges said, “Too often in the ordinary course, we encumber the path with difficulties of our own framing. Sincere Christians are not always wise. The husbandman never fails to discern the time. He never mistakes the season for the plough, the seed-time, and the harvest. But in “God’s husbandry” (1 Corinthians 3:9), how few seem to discern the value of the season! …Want of discernment may bring us into some of the many by-paths of self-will or self-delusion.”
Psalm 90:12 is an appropriate prayer in light of the quickly fading time and soon-coming judgment. “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”
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