How do you get the time back
As another month goes hurtling by I am drawn once again to consider the quickness of our time. Einstein said that time is relative and he meant it in a very scientific way regarding light, speed and mass. However it’s a phrase often quotes in a very philosophical way and I like to use it. Of course to a dying man 15 more minutes is a brief moment, to those who clock watch at work it is like an eternity. But to quote myself from last month time actually moves at the same rate, well it does here on earth Dr Einstein.
But what is certain is we don’t get the time back once its gone its gone and we will live to regret whether we used it wisely or not.
Or is that true?
Joel 2:25 says I will restore to you the years that the locust has eaten. The allusion to locust being because there swarms consume all things in their path and the passage refers to time as being there food. So the idea that this destruction will be reversed and that time will be restored is one that we can all be very thrilled with.
I once heard a testimony of young man working with Teen Challenge who had been a Heroin addict for 15 years of his life. He now stood in front of us having accepted Christ as His Lord and saviour, making Him Lord of all in his life a brand new creation and it was glorious to see and very heart warming. He declared to the assembled audience that the Lord had restored to him the years that the locust had eaten and it brought me to tears.
But is that what this passage really means because it is very dangerous to take a verse on its own without studying it in its context, in the context of the book and in line with other scriptures in the bible.
Well to start with I haven’t given you all of the verse. The actual verse says.
And I will restore to you the years which the swarming locust has eaten, the locust larvae, and the stripping locust, and the cutting locust, My great army which I sent among you.
Immediately what jumps out to us is that the locust army is one that the Lord sent, this was a judgment. In its context it is being spoken to Israel and the rest of the book of Joel is about why the Lord sent the locusts in the first place. In terms of the rest of the bible the book of revelation has a similar reading but applies what is a judgment just on Israel to be repeated as a judgment on the rest of the world. In both cases it is because of a constant rejection of the Lord
In terms of what is being said around it, the verse is an explanation of the Lords restoration for a time when Israel will look upon the Lord and once again be drawn to Him. Therefore we have a scripture in Joel 2:25 that teaches that like any good father who disciplines his child when the lesson is learned then they are brought close again, then so much more is our Father in Heaven.
What does that mean for that young man from teen challenge, does it mean his heroin addiction was sent from the Lord to bring Him back? Well the answer is a firm no, because we are told not to say that the Lord leads us into sin. You see the important understanding is that it was Israel who Joel was written to, a nation that knew the Lord, his laws and His nature and yet still chose to reject Him and as such the Lord chastised them. But when the lesson is learnt then they are brought back, like the prodigal son.
You see Joel 2:25 isn’t telling us time will be restored back to us because it’s linear and it can’t come back. That young man at Teen challenge has forever lost those 15 years they won’t physically come back. So what does it mean that the time will be restored?
Throughout the bible we have significant times when promises like this of a restoration are given, often to a generation who won’t see it, but rather their future generations will. One such that draws to the mind is the first one in the book of Numbers where the children of Israel refused to enter the promised land because they didn’t trust the Lord to save them. They walked the wilderness for 40 years until all but two of that generation had passed away and then the next received the promise. But what is significant is when that restoration comes about, the promise is restored as though those years had never happened.
Our lives are often shaped by the outcomes of our decisions and more often our mistakes. But with the Lord our mistakes are obliterated once repented of, and the restoration is complete regardless of the time or what happened. When we have come back to the Lord the promise is the same as it was when we rejected Him and it’s been there waiting for us. As a Father who chastises us, but His love is the same and isn’t diminished.
Many of us have gone astray from the path the Lord has led us down and often we say this is where I’m going Lord please ratify it. But this isn’t how the Lord works. We waste our times building in a world that is perishing, hoping somehow we will build something that lasts. Time erodes all things, even prominent people of history can have their lives reduced to a few paragraphs. Yet even though we know that we don’t seek as the Lord taught us after the kingdom of Heaven.
Ephesians 2:10 tells us that the Lord fore ordained a good work for each of us to do as part of the kingdom and He did it before the beginning of time. Only it won’t bring you riches, fame or fortune but it will be for the Glory of God.
We reject it for our own plans, or postpone it until it’s convenient and we lose the years they are eaten up, time goes to fast and always the precious promise of God sits gleaming and waiting for you.
All that you are working on or for will pass to nothing and your life has been futile. This is like the young man from teen challenge, but he had learnt that in accepting Christ as saviour and making Him Lord of all, no longer living for himself then he had grabbed hold of the promise of the Lord and those years of selfishness melted away.
You may not be a heroin addict but don’t think your life is any less wasted unless it is 100% sold out to serve the kingdom of heaven.
Do you want to stop wasting your time, I know I’ve had enough of it. Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and until we can learn that lesson we will continue to waste it.