Teach us to number our days and recognize how few they are.
–Psalm 90:12 TLB
Why should we study what the Bible teaches about Heaven? One reason is that our departure for Heaven is both certain and relatively soon.
The Bible talks all the time about the inevitability of our journey to this new destination called Heaven. Our departure is certain, and it is soon. Somebody said it this way: “The statistics on death are very impressive: one out of every one dies.” Have you come to grips with the fact that you are going to die? Solomon said it this way: “Man does not know his time: like fish caught in a treacherous net and birds trapped in a snare, so the sons of men are ensnared at an evil time when it suddenly falls on them” (Ecclesiastes 9:12). Death suddenly comes without any warning. Isaac said, “Behold now, I am old and I do not know the day of my death” (Genesis 27:2). And neither do you. Neither do I. Soldiers on a battlefield and patients whose diseases have been labeled “terminal” understand the certainty of death, but it is just as certain for you and for me.
The fact that life is very brief here on earth should motivate us to use our time wisely. In Psalm 90:12, Moses prayed, “Teach us to number our days and recognize how few they are; help us to spend them as we should” (TLB). When I read that verse, I think about a friend of mine who is now in Heaven. He lived by this verse. He was in his mid-60s when I got to know him. I remember going into his office one day and seeing his blackboard filled with chalk marks. I asked, “What is that?” He said, “The Bible says I will probably live to be age 70, so those marks represent how many days I have left to live before God calls me home. And every day I walk into my office, I erase one of those marks.” On the day after his 70th birthday, he made a new mark on the chalkboard, and he started doing that every day to remind himself that he was living on borrowed time. When we realize the brevity of our lives, we should live wisely.
Recognizing how brief our time is on earth also ought to motivate us to think about Heaven. Many of you know the story of Joni Eareckson Tada. Joni’s story is remarkable. When she was a teenager in 1967, a diving accident caused her to become a quadriplegic, and since that time Joni has spent a lot of time thinking about Heaven. She writes, “Heaven may be as near as next year, or next week; so it makes good sense to spend some time here on earth thinking candid thoughts about that marvelous future reserved for us.” Why should we spend time thinking about Heaven? Because as we are going to see in the weeks ahead, the choices we make in this life drastically impact the next life God has prepared for us.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “What Difference Does A Future Heaven Make In My Life Today?” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2016.
Joni Eareckson Tada, “Heaven” (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1995), 15.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. (www.lockman.org) Scripture quotation marked TLB is taken from The Living Bible, copyright © 1971 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.