You, as the covenant youth of our churches, are well acquainted with the fact that man is here upon this earth but for a season. This is not recognized by all, I would have you notice, and this also is evidenced in many ways. But we will discuss that presently. This thought is very Scriptural, too, is it not? We notice among other things that the Word of God clearly teaches the truth as it is expressed in Psalter 392 verse 2:
“For man is like a breath, a sigh.
His days on earth as quickly fly
At shadows o’er the plain.”
Or to quote portions of another of the Psalms, we note the same instruction in: “. . . we spend our years as a tale that is told . . . for it is soon cut off and we fly away.” Ps. 90:9, 10.
We say that you are well acquainted with that fact. A word or two about that, first of all. The transient character of man’s sojourn here shines through all of Holy Writ, and therefore having been exposed to the Word all these years in all of our spheres, we know it. And, too, this principle that all things temporal shall pass away presently, be changed in the last day and purified in the glorious moment of the coming of our Lord as the Lord of Glory, has been an integral part of our instruction from our youthful days upward. And, we can see it, can we not? Who of us has not been to a funeral to witness that in this “life” death inevitably comes to all, and that men’s days are indeed fleeting, even those of the very aged?
To that sojourn of man in this “life” we refer in the caption as “Fleeting Days.” We recognize that for you as youth the days do not appear to be fleeting. They stretch forth into the future seemingly without end, but we do well to insist upon the adverb “seemingly,” to be sure. It merits sober consideration and meditation on your part. To that end we chose the subject.
There are specific implications for all in this truth that man’s days are few. We see that the ungodly is aware of it and we also see the frightening response from the froward, unregenerate and rebellious soul. For the ungodly, recognition of this fact leads them to rush headlong deeper into ungodliness, and we are taught the folly of their philosophy of life in Isaiah 22:13, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” The certainly of their death, presently, thus recognized, calls forth that cry of the earthling, the citizen of this world, because he knows that God is a righteous God and will destroy forever all unrighteousness. It is a cry, dear youth, that takes on a multiplicity of forms with respect to every avenue of our life’s walk, whether it be in business, religion, education, amusements, virtue, the use of time, diligence, etc. It permeates all that they do. But it is also a cry that exhibits, and that horribly, an unabashed rebellion against their Maker, and a flagrant disobedience to His commands which leads certainly to utter destruction and condemnation.
But more especially, we are concerned with covenant youth! What then is there for us to consider in this thought of fleeting days? How will this knowledge determine the character of our youthful walk, as we are replenished with grace from our God? Thus: With that grace, you know that although by nature you are one with children of darkness you have been called to walk in the light as children of light! And then you do walk in it! You find yourselves in the midst of the summer season, when much of the unifying force of school, society, and catechism seems to be gone in this day. Do you walk as a child of light? These days are fleeting, remember, speeding away from you. Are you in them walking in a way in which one day you shall desire to have walked?
But, at once we see “storm clouds,” don’t we? For Christ Jesus Himself has told us that the light is hated and opposed by the darkness! It is not so that darkness is unfriendly to or merely “dislikes” the children of light. No. It hates those of the light! And the objective then is complete annihilation! The one who becomes a nonconformist to the slogan of the earthling must also expect to feel it when darkness vents its bitterness and violent strife against him.
Then what about the days that you are called to live in your sojourn here? How will they be filled? By walking in and maintaining the cause of truth and uprightness in all your ways? Do we have the grace to want that for the sake of our God? If so, dear youth of the church, know this: your pathway is beset with all the scorn and derision that the enemy can muster. But be careful to know, too, that God sustains you through it by His grace.
Yes. The crowd will go the other way. And the pitiful little group, that little “backward” minority, who always “prate” about the commands of God, about extolling His Name, about that “ridiculous” walk of sanctification, continue to receive grace from their God, sufficient unto the burdens and trials and scoffings and persecutions of each day, sustaining them, each day and again, throughout their days. And then, when presently their little life’s day is done, and when they have to traverse the weird and howling wilderness no more as pilgrims and sojourners in this earth, they have the joy wherein they shall praise their God, “and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” That is the heritage of the servants of the Lord.
Yes. That crowd went the other way.