On the Edge of Nevermore – November 24, 2023

Remember your Creator
before the silver cord is snapped,
and the golden bowl is broken,
before the jar is shattered by the spring,
and the waterwheel is broken by the well,
and the dust goes back into the ground—just as it was before,
and the spirit goes back to God who gave it.
Ecclesiastes 12:6,7

Military Devotion – November 24, 2023

Devotion based on Ecclesiastes 12:6,7

See series: Military Devotions

Life is lived on the edge of time. Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow is not here. We cannot go back in time to relive even a moment. We cannot jump ahead for even a second. We live only from breath to breath—until we breathe no more.

An old song tells the story of a life being counted down. It begins, “My grandfather’s clock was too large for the shelf, so it sat ninety years on the floor.” It ends,

“Ninety years without slumbering
His life seconds numbering
It stopped short, never to go again
When the old man died.”

For him, time stopped, never to go again. Everything he had done, everything he had planned, everything he held in his grasp—nevermore!

He had lived his entire life from one tick of the clock to another. When he was young, he probably gave no thought to the possibility he might not live to the next tick of time. Hopefully, that changed. Hopefully, he heeded the words of King Solomon.

If only he remembered his Creator before he stepped across the threshold of nevermore!

Grandfather clocks were not part of life in Solomon’s day, so he used other illustrations. Each one pictured the sudden loss of something special. In each case, something is broken and cannot be repaired.

Nevermore can it be used.

A silver chord is snapped. A golden bowl is broken. A jar to hold water is shattered. And a wheel to bring up water from a well no longer works.

That which was treasured, that which was important, that which was needed in life is no more. They are gone from life.

And then, one day life is gone.

As important as we humans are, as much as we might accomplish in life, as much as we might claim as our own, in the end, we have nothing and are nothing but dust.

The Creator told the first human the blunt truth. “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return” (Genesis 3:19).

The descendants of Adam need to remember that. We need to remember we are the creation of the holy, almighty God. We need to remember that our sin has condemned us to death. Our bodies will return to dirt.

But that is not the end of our life.

There is a life after this life. We need to remember that.

We need to remember that we will face our Creator. He is the one who decrees how long we will live on this earth. He is the one who issues the command “Nevermore!” to all that is part of this life.

But we also need to remember that he has announced death has been conquered for us. The psalmist shouts out, “I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the LORD has done” (Psalm 118:17). How can he say that?

He can say that, and so can we, because that is what the Creator and Savior God has said. Jesus has declared, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die” (John 11:25).

This changes things!

We need not worry about the clock of our life coming to a stop. We need not be concerned that everything in this earthly life will pass away. We need not fear when our soul separates from our body.

Nevermore will we need the essentials and joys of this present existence. We can be glad to get rid of all the trappings of this life. We can say, “Good riddance!” We don’t need them.

The best that we have found in this life does not compare with that which awaits the heirs of glory.

Listen to this assurance of faith. “Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Psalm 16:11 KJV).

Forget nevermore.

We live on the edge of a glorious evermore!

Eternal Father, strong to save, remind us of the shortness of this earthly life. Remind us of your victory over death. Remind us again and again that fullness of joy awaits your people for evermore. Amen.

Points to ponder:

  • Why do we live as if time will go on forever?
  • Why do we believe that the good life is one filled with things that will pass away?
  • Why do we so easily forget that for God’s people death has been changed into the door to life for evermore?

Written and recorded by Rev. Paul Horn, WELS National Civilian Chaplain to the Military, San Diego, California.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.

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