Sunday, 27 September 2020
A thousand years or a day?
By Abraham Verghese 亚伯拉罕·韦尔盖塞
Psalm 90:4 (Read the whole Psalm for the overall context)
2 Peter 3:8 (For the context read 2 Peter 3:1-13)
Psalm 90:4 For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night.
2 Peter 3:8 But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
It would be reasonable to interpret Psalm 90:4 to mean that God’s perspective on time is very different than humanity’s perspective on time. The Eternal God knows the end from the beginning; we see the present – though yet many a time dimly -, and the future is just guess work. A thousand years is nothing to God, but is far beyond our personal experience. A thousand years are nothing to God’s eternity: between an hour and a million years there is some proportion but between whatever length of time and eternity there is none. All the events of a thousand years whether past or to come or a combination are more present to the Eternal God than some done in the last couple of hours to us.
Ps 90:4 is a widely quoted biblical verse because it comforts us when we are frustrated with God’s timing. Time moves slowly for us. God, who inhabits all of eternity, sees all of history in a single moment – his timetable will not match our own. The psalm’ s author, Moses, seems to look at life from the vantage point of old age, from where we can finally see, as God does, that our time here is short. Let this verse make us wise now, hopefully well before our time is about to expire. We can now decide not to waste our lives on trifles as soon it will be too late. So what are the trifles in our lives? When all is said and done, when we even think as though we are looking into eternity – to start with maybe just a few hundred years -, does anything in this transitory human life really matter?
In 2 Peter 3:8, Peter references Psalm 90:4: “For a thousand years in [God’s] sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night.” His point is that God is not bound by counting days from a human perspective. Time does not hold Him. He does not wait or rush in the same sense that mere humans do, locked as we are into minutes and hours and months. What seems like poor timing to us, as limited people, has a plan and purpose known only to God. As Peter will reveal in the subsequent verses, God will keep all of His promises in His perfect time and
motivated by His perfect love. We should not stumble at the length of time since the promise of the coming of Christ was given but keep up our faith and expectation of the coming of Christ.
Christians should look forward to the new heavens and earth which surely WILL come. Peter reminds us not to lose heart because God is working on a different timetable. For us, as human beings, if something does not happen within a matter of years, then we may miss it. God, however, is not limited by the same constraints of time because “with the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.”
As people with eternal life, we Christians need to adopt an eternal perspective on time. We have all eternity before us to experience and enjoy “….what no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2; 9). So brothers and sisters, let us look forward to eternity with joy we cannot even yet begin to understand.
Heavenly Father, life is passing by so fast. Our human lives are as grass that wither away. We will be blown about all our lives unless You are our dwelling place. In You we are home. We are limited in time. You are eternal with no limitation of time.
Thank you that You have given to us a window into the perspective of eternity and time. Thank you that what we have in You we can never lose and will have forever. Praises be to You for the comfort that You give to us. We praise You and give thanks in Jesus’ name. Amen.
诗90：4是被广泛引用的圣经经文，因为当我们对上帝的时间观感到沮丧时，它可以让我们感到安慰。时间对我们来说是缓慢的。居住在永恒中的上帝一瞬间便能看到全部历史—他的时间表与我们的时间表是不相同的。诗篇的作者摩西似乎是从晚年的角度审视生命，那时，我们终于可以像上帝一样，最终看到我们在世上的时间是短暂的。让这节经文在生命还没有结束之前，使我们变得明智。现在，我们可以决定不浪费生命在那些琐碎的事上。那什么是生活中琐碎的事呢？总而言之，当我们认为我们正在寻找永恒时 — 就从几百年开始吧 — 在这种短暂的生命中，真的有什么是我们认为重要的事情吗？
彼得在彼得后书 3:8中，彼得提到诗篇90：4：“在你看来，千年如已过的昨日，又如夜间的一更，或者是夜间的守望。” 神的观点是，从人的角度来看，上帝不受天数的束缚。时间不能限制他。他不会像单纯的人类那样等待或匆忙，就像我们在几分钟，几小时甚至几个月的时间里那样被锁住。作为有限的人，对我们而言似乎是时机不佳，但它的计划和目的只有上帝知道。正如彼得在随后的经文中所揭示的那样，上帝将在他完美的时间中遵守他所有的应许，并受到他完美的爱的激励。自从基督复临的应许被赐予以来，我们不应该在我们认为漫长的时间里迷迷糊糊，而要保持我们对基督再来的信心和期望。
作为一个有永生生命的人，基督徒要有一个永恒的时间观。因为我们拥有永恒的生命去体验和享受 “神为爱他的人所预备的是眼睛未曾看见，耳朵未曾听见，人心也未曾想到的。”（哥林多前书2： 9）。因此，弟兄姐妹们，让我们期盼一个我们都无法开始理解的永恒的快乐。
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