Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh: as it is said to this day, ‘In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.’”
Genesis 22: 14
“The saints should never be dismayed,
Nor sink in hopeless fear;
For when they least expect His aid,
The Saviour will appear.
Blest proofs of power and grace divine,
That meet us in His word!
May every deep-felt care of mine
Be trusted with the Lord.
Wait for His seasonable aid,
And though it tarry wait;
The promise may be long delayed,
But cannot come too late.”
Today’s Study Text:
“Solomon married seven hundred princesses and also had three hundred concubines. They made him turn away from God, and by the time he was old they had led him into the worship of foreign gods.”
1 Kings 11: 3, 4
The Good News Bible
“5 Lessons From The Life of Solomon” Part 2
Lesson #2: Who Gets Your Time?
“Time is not yours to dispose of as you please, it is a glorious talent that men (and women) must be accountable for as well as any other talent.”
Thomas Benton Brooks
Who do I believe I am accountable to for how I spend my time?
What does the word, “time,” mean to me?
“The great rule of moral conduct is, next to God, to respect time.”
“Through all the changing scenes of life,
In trouble and in joy,
The praises of my God shall still
My heart and tongue employ.”
Nahum Tate (1652-1715)
Nicholas Brady (1659-1726)
In 1959, the renowned folk singer/songwriter, Pete Seeger scored the music for a song entitled, “Turn! Turn! Turn! (to Everything There Is a Season).” The words to the song were a slightly modified paraphrase from Chapter 3 in the Biblical book of Ecclesiastes.
In this book of wisdom, we find Solomon sharing with his readers, the knowledge he gained throughout a life of ups and downs.
At its essence, the popular song “Turn! Turn! Turn!” while pointing out the fact that there is a time and season for everything in our lives, also underscores the fact that time is, as Benjamin Franklin observed, “the stuff life is made of.”
One of the most important lessons we can learn from Solomon’s life relates directly to the talent we have been given called, time. Time was something Solomon obviously knew a lot about, because of the words he left behind.
At the beginning of his reign as king of Israel, Solomon was a purpose-driven leader who used his time to glorify the name of God. Tragically, as our study text denotes, as time went by, a change took place in Solomon’s heart. He was drawn away from his commitment to the Lord God of Israel, and with a divided heart, we find he also developed a pattern of having divided time. In describing how Solomon began to drift from his dedication to God, Biblical scholar Matthew Henry notes that Solomon, “doted on strange women, many strange women…He not only kept them, but was extravagantly fond of them.” I want to add that in the King James Version of the Bible, 1 Kings 11: 2 states that Solomon, “clave unto these (all the women) in love.” The Hebrew word for “clave” means to cling, to pursue hard, to impinge or push against tightly.” In other words, Solomon chose to stick with all these women like he was hooked with super-glue. Thus, as Matthew Henry continues, Solomon didn’t just set his heart upon these women, he also “spent his time among them and thought everything well they said.” With 1,000 women to satisfy, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out how Solomon spent his time. This may be the reason that as time passed by, things became turned upside down in Solomon’s life. With time, his life changed. His devotion lagged. The more time he spent with the women of the world, the less time he had for God. Then suddenly one day, Solomon was faced with the same question each one of us confronts: “Where has all the time gone?” The Bible says that when Solomon was old, it is as though he awoke to the fact that nothing in his life was the way it had been.
Facing life with little time left, poor old Solomon began to recognize that his selfish choices had sucked him into the quicksand of diminishing time.
The acclaimed British author, Charles Dickens recorded these famous words:
“Old Time, that greatest and longest established spinner of all!...his factory is a secret place, his work is noiseless, and his hands are mute.” Time works quietly. Each day passes. And without notice, one day we, like Solomon, look up and ask ourselves, “WOW! Where has time gone?”
Several months ago, I was having a conversation with a friend who had just attended a reunion. She made the observation that time had flown by so quickly. And then she added, “If only I had understood how short our time on earth is when I was younger, I would have made some very different decisions.”
This got me to reflecting on my years on planet Earth. As I looked back over my life, I decided to make a short list of several things I wish I had understood about “time” when I was twenty years old. I draw the line at this particular age for it was around this time in my own life when I found myself choosing to squander some of the precious moments I’d been bestowed by my heavenly Father.
Now, after many years of reflection and the devoted study of God’s Word, these are some of the special things I’ve come to appreciate about “time.” And please let me add, you may make your own list and it would be very different from mine. These are just a few of the qualities of time which I’ve found have given me a more heavenly perspective, through the years, than I had when I was young.
1. Time is valuable.
As Robert Updegraff noted: To get all there is out of living, we must employ our time wisely, never being in too much of a hurry to stop and sip life, but never losing our sense of the enormous value of a minute.” While these words happen to be written from a worldly viewpoint, it mirrors the admonition from the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 5: 16 to, “make every minute count.” Author Richard Baxter offers this advice: “Place a high value upon your time, be more careful of not losing it than you would of losing your money.”
2. Times passes by very quickly.
When I was young, I always thought time went by as slow as a turtle. But as I look backward, from the point where I am in my own life today, I find myself asking more frequently, “Where did time go?” Thomas Edison offered this perspective regarding time when he said, “Time is not a commodity that can be stored for future use. It must be invested hour by hour, or else it is gone for ever.”
3. Time is about how I choose to spend my moments.
Often in my life, I’ve thought about long time expanses I thought I could plan. But the prophet Zechariah asked this question: “Who has despised the day of small things?” (Zechariah 4: 10). The fact that moments count is something which has taken me years to recognize. Too frequently we rush through the minutes of our lives ignoring the tiny events and relegating them to the inconsequential. Yet I have found that it has been those brief encounters, the laughter of my husband, the smell of my grandma’s fresh home-baked bread, the joy at a friend’s surprise at a birthday party, the soul-stirring song of a choir -- these fleeting moments are what make us say, “I had the time of my life!” As author Maria Edgeworth wrote, “If we take care of the moments, the years will take care of themselves.”
4. Time is a great teacher.
It was Solomon’s father, David, who said: “Teach us to count our days that we may gain a wise heart” (Psalm 90: 12, N.R.S.V). We can learn as time passes. We don’t have to make the same mistakes over and over again. We can learn to use our time, whether many years or few, as Anne Ortland suggests by, “eliminating less important things. You need time to look into the face of God, time to read and study His Word, time to think…time to praise, time to intercede, time to get wisdom.” We can learn from the past how to have a better present and future.
5. God’s view of time and my view of time aren’t always the same.
David tells us in Psalm 90: 4, KJV “A thousand years in Thy (God’s) sight are but as yesterday when it is past.” This for me has been one of the most difficult lessons to learn through the years. (And believe me, I’ve still got a long way to go!) Solomon wrote “He has made everything beautiful in His time.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11, KJV) However, learning to wait for “His time,” for me is a lifelong experience -- but truly worth every minute. As Karon Goodman says, “We can’t hurry God, and we can’t bribe or force Him to alter the plan He’s made. But we can learn to trust Him not to waste our waiting time.” Never forget these wonderful words of Pastor and teacher Warren Wiersbe. “The best thing you and I can do is to stop looking at our watches and calendars and simply look by faith into the face of God and let Him have His way -- in His time.”
As I was preparing today’s devotional, I happened upon these words, written as a poem by Charles Wesley, which to me, sum up the desire in my own heart to use my time in loving service and joyful praise: “I would the precious time redeem, and longer live for this alone, to spend, and to be spent for them who have not yet my Savior known; fully on these my mission prove, and only breathe, to breathe Thy love.” What a wise use of time this would be.
“What is Time?
The shadow on the dial,
The striking of the clock,
The running of the sand,
Day and night, summer and winter,
months, years, centuries –
These are but arbitrary and outward signs,
the measure of time, not time itself.
Time is the life of the soul.”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
“God has made everything beautiful in its time. He also has planted eternity in men’s hearts and minds a divinely implanted sense of purpose working through the ages which nothing under the sun but God alone can satisfy…I know that whatever God does, it endures forever: nothing can be added to it nor anything taken from it. And God does it so that men (and women) will reverently fear Him, revere and worship Him, knowing that He is.”
Ecclesiastes 3: 11, 14
“Only eternal values can give meaning to temporal ones. Time must be the servant of eternity.”
Erwin W. Lutzer
In His Time
“In His time, in His time,
He makes all things beautiful
In His time.
Lord please show me every day
As You’re teaching me Your way,
That You do just what You say
In Your time.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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