Thursday, June 28, 2012

OUR MYSTERIOUS LIFE SPAN



Through scientific progress we are able to neutralize viruses that used to carry death warrants in their teeth. Medical knowledge has knocked out great levelers like smallpox and diphtheria. Numerous branches of understanding have matured passed the wisdom of the fallen, wild Nature that would devour us. Stronger architecture protects against the earthquake; we have better boats for squalls, hot showers for chills, etc. But modernity wields a double-edged sword. The car might get you to the hospital on time; but a car crash could certainly kill you before you get there. Despite the untold number of good and bad effects that emerge from applied science, the following ancient Scripture verse is still fulfilled, “The days of our years are threescore years and ten” (Psalm 90.10.)

Take history from the Psalmist’s time (about 1400 B. C.) until now. Civilizations have had their several fluctuating life spans. But because of wars, famines, discoveries, and laws, it is not hard to believe that 70 years for an average life span rings true. Life spans in nations around the world today fall not too far above or below 70 years. It seems safe to assert that the statement in this verse is more than a comment on a historical period, but a prophecy also. Some persons live more than 70 years, while others die young. But that’s exactly how we come to an average. In Adam Clarke’s (1762-1832) commentary on Job 14.5, he mentions “a Thomas Parr, who died in 1635, aged 152; and a Henry Jenkins, who died in 1670, aged 169.” But such life spans are rare since the time of Moses, the man behind the voice in Psalm 90.

The women of our article fall on either side of the average, more or less by the same amount. Ages 95 and 49 yield an average of 72, as if to remind us of how many years the Lord has granted. But the numbers 95 and 49 are far enough from 70 to remind us how foolish it would be to bank on 70. God arrives at the number 70 by averaging out the lesser and larger life spans. A 67 year old might get 30 years more; a 20 year old might not see the light of 21! Such is the uncertainty we have to live with!

How many years do you have left? If you’re over 70 you’re on borrowed time; if you’re under 70 you have no guarantee. Is it wise to live one day more without finding out what you must do to be saved from the penalty of your sins? Being born into this world places you on the edge of eternity. You might be on your way to an everlasting realm of misery because of your sinful state and the sins you’re guilty of, or to joy and peace forevermore on account of what Jesus has done for sinners. What makes the difference between these two possible destinies is whether you have or have not placed your faith in Jesus Christ of Nazareth who died in Jerusalem upon the cross. This is the historical event that divides the destinies of each one of us; and the deciding factor is faith, which includes knowledge of the facts of Jesus’ existence, agreement with these facts, and confidence in Jesus because of the importance of these facts. The basic facts are these: Jesus lived a sinless life, died for the sins of sinners, was buried, and rose up from death to grant and to judge. He grants eternal life to any that trust in him, and will fiercely judge all that refuse his appeals. You might feel offended by being told that your destiny hinges on what you believe concerning Jesus. This is good, for it proves that your heart may still be moved. But don’t just be offended. Do your own research, and by God, place your trust in Jesus Christ!