This time of year we see a lot of advertisements for weight loss and exercise. It makes sense, especially at this time of year, that there would be those type of advertisements. It makes sense because it’s new year's resolutions and new beginnings. I want to pose this to you this morning: When we see all those advertisements for weight loss and excercising…does it really matter? Does it really matter?
Let’s look at that question by looking at Psalm 139 beginning in verse 16: “Your eyes beheld my unseen substance. In your book were written all the days that were formed for me, when none of them as yet existed.”
God determines our days. That’s echoed elsewhere in scripture. In Job 14 for example, where we read: “Since their days are determined, and the number of their months is known to you, and you have appointed the bounds that they (humans) cannot pass.” Or, in Ecclesiastes 3 , “For everything there is a season and a time for everything under heaven, a time to be born, a time to die.”
The Bible is quite clear. God is the one that determines our days. Think of King Hezekiah in the Old Testament. Hezekiah had become ill. The prophet of the Lord, Isaiah, goes to tell him that he’s about to die. Hezekiah cries out in prayer and in Isaiah 38 it says: “Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah’ ‘Go and say to Hezekiah, Thus says the Lord, the God of your ancestor David: I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; I will add 15 years to your life.’” God granting him fifteen more years,
God determines our days. So…. Amidst all the advertising for exercising, amidst all the advertising for losing weight, does it really matter what we do in the meantime? If God really determines our days? Should we just throw away the food pyramid chart and just graze where we really want to? Should we embrace the baker’s dozen with abandon? Because, after all, God determines our days, so what does it matter?
It’s true that God determines our days. But it’s also true of what we see in Scripture, where God calls us to care for our bodies, to avoid danger, to avoid living wickedly. We are to live so that we may attain the days that God has determined for us. What is underneath all of that is the distinction between the perfect will of God and the permissive will of God. God’s perfect will is for the days he has determined for us. If we go out, however, and we don’t care for our bodies, if we live wickedly, if we don’t do those things such as avoiding danger, putting ourselves in harm’s way, then God’s permissive will might be granted.
For his perfect will is for a certain number of days but in his permissive will, in his sovereignty, he could very well say “Have your way”. I’ve used this example before: If I blindfold myself and decide to walk across Northwest Highway and I’m just going to trust that the Lord is going to protect me because he has determined my days… that’s not wisdom is it? Because God and his permissive will may say it’s not a wise course of action and there’s no guarantee for his protection upon us. God determines our days indeed. And yet, if we don’t care for the body et cetera, then his permissive will may allow us to then receive the days that we have headed into by our actions.
Because of Jesus our days stretch into all of eternity. Look with me at verse 17 in Psalm 139: ‘How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! I try to count them they are more than the sand; I am come to the end, I am still with you” Ponder then, this: We are formed by him. He determines our days. And those days, because of the Cross and the empty tomb, stretch into all of eternity!
Let’s pray: Gracious Heavenly Father, we give you thanks that you determine our days. We give you thanks, Oh Lord, that you call us and empower us to care for the very bodies that you have given us. May we be good stewards of them. And thank you Lord for the days that stretch into all of eternity. We praise you for your goodness in Jesus' name.
May God bless you today and this week. Encourage someone!
Pastor David Eibel