That Endures Forever
Over the past several weeks a lot of people in our country have lost everything. Everything. Water and fire have proved to be devastating forces that no matter how technologically advanced our society has become, we are not strong enough to overcome them.
Witnessing the devastation just 30 miles from my own home during Harvey has made me realize how unimportant losing a fence or spending a few days without water and electricity can be. Then seeing dear friends just a few days later lose so many of their possessions due to the rising waters in Houston showed just how little value most of our earthly possessions hold. And then seeing the news reports of the devastation the fires have left behind on the West coast where people lost, not just a fence or a roof, not just the things that could not be put up in the upstairs floor, but totally and completely everything. With nothing more than the clothes on their backs, they escaped with very little time to spare.
The things we surround ourselves with are meaningless. Jesus knew that when he said in Matthew 6:19-21:
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
He knew that we would love our things. He knew that we needed to be told how unimportant these things are. In a moment, it can all be taken away. For this reason, Jesus wants us to look to heaven, to the spiritual, to the eternal.
Paul tells us in his letter to the Corinthian Christians in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18:
“16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. ”
We tend to focus on the here and now. It’s easy. We live in the here and now. We need things. We need to do things. We need to organize things and to save things for later use. This can occupy our minds to such an extent that we do not have time to consider “the things which are not seen”. Kind of like the old saying, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” The here and now gets the attention because…well…it is here, we see it, it needs tending to…it gets the attention.
How much more difficult is seeking things that we do not see and that are not “squeaking” for attention. To give attention to the spiritual requires calm, quiet, steady focus. It requires denying ourselves the easy way out. It requires giving our full attention to something we can’t see, that others can’t see. Focusing on the eternal does not give us any praise from our peers. In fact, we get passed by for promotions, praise and set aside as foolish.
So what exactly is the eternal? What does endure forever? Let’s look at what the Bible describes as enduring forever.
- God’s righteousness endures forever. His righteousness is honorable and glorious. His righteousness is beyond anything we could ever attain. We need to make sure that the works we are involved in are righteous and worthy of enduring. If we spend time with twaddle, our works will fade quickly. If we are slothful in our endeavors, we will hope that our works fade quickly. If we look to God for righteousness we will endure beyond this lifetime.
Praise the Lord!
I will praise the Lord with
my whole heart,
In the assembly of the upright and in the congregation.
2 The works of the Lord are great,
Studied by all who have pleasure in them.
3 His work is honorable and glorious,
And His righteousness endures forever.
- God’s promises endure forever. He has told us He will come again. It will happen. He has promised to take those who follow Him to live with Him eternally. It will happen. He will take care of our needs. We need to look forward to His promises. We need to desire what He offers us. We need to have faith in His promises and live worthily to receive them.
4 He has made His wonderful works to be remembered;
The Lord is gracious and full of compassion.
5 He has given food to those who fear Him;
He will ever be mindful of His covenant.
- God’s precepts will stand forever because they are true and just. We can depend on what He has declared to be in our best interest. We can know that they will not change from day to day as the laws of man do. We can be assured that what He says is true today was true yesterday and will be true tomorrow and forever.
6 He has declared to His people the power of His works,
In giving them the heritage of the nations.
7 The works of His hands are verity and justice;
All His precepts are sure.
8 They stand fast forever and ever,
And are done in truth and uprightness.
- God will be praised forever. We can and should praise Him even when it is not the popular thing to do. Why? Because He is holy and awesome. He is not like any other. He is the one and only Creator of all. Whether we choose to praise Him here or not, He will be praised. He will be praised by everyone in the end. He will be acknowledged for who He is. We should feel honored to praise Him during this present age and look forward to praising Him for eternity. Why would we want to praise a man? Men fail us. Why would we want praise for ourselves? We are nothing without God.
9 He has sent redemption to His people;
He has commanded His covenant forever:
Holy and awesome is His name.
10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
A good understanding have all those who do
His praise endures forever.
- Whatever God does will endure forever. We never shall wonder when God’s promises expire or if He will get tired or if He changes His mind. We can be sure that whatever He does is forever.
I know that whatever God does,
It shall be forever
Nothing can be added to it,
And nothing taken from it.
God does it, that men should fear before Him.
15 That which is has already been,
And what is to be has already been;
And God requires an account of what is past.
- God’s word lives and abides forever. We should invest time in God’s word. Reading but not just reading. Studying but not just studying. Hiding it in our heart so when we are going about our everyday business, His word comes out through our thoughts and actions.
1 Peter 1:22-25 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, 23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, 24 because “All flesh is as grass, And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass.< The grass withers, And its flower falls away, 25 But the word of the Lord endures forever.”
Wanting our material possessions to last forever is human desire. We would like to think that our children’s children’s children will want the quilt we pieced by hand or cherish the jewelry we spent months working hard to save our money to purchase. This desire for something to be eternal was set there by God. We just need to focus it in the right direction. Away from the here and now and pointing towards Him. We will never be satisfied with our material possessions or even our material knowledge. We will always want more. We will always want something better because He made us to desire more, to desire better.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.
Thank you to Come Fill Your Cup for providing the backbone of this lesson.