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Approaching The End

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There are many different thoughts regarding the subject of “the end.” These vary in accordance with the matter at hand, for example, as a question in a discussion, whether in a school setting, or in a sports contest. It is altogether natural, then, that the word “end” should appear often in the Scriptures.

One such occurrence is in the matter of what to pray for. Thus in Psalm 72 Solomon tells of the coming reign of a king (ultimately fulfilled in the Messiah), pointing out that “He will rule from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth” (Ps. 72:9). Thus in predicting his prosperous, universal rule the psalmist states that it will extend throughout the world. Such includes the flourishing inheritance of the “righteous” (v.7).

In another text Samuel is cited as saying, “As for me, I will certainly not sin against the LORD by ending my prayers for you. And I will continue to teach what is good and right” (1Sam. 12:23; NLT). Thus Samuel is assuring the people that his prayers for them will continue without end. In another psalm the psalmist declares that the Lord’s praise reaches “to the ends of the earth” just as does his name (Ps. 48:10). In this passage (vv. 9-14), the psalmist is indicating to his readers that just as God’s name is universal, so must be his praise be endless throughout all time (cf. v.14)

It should be pointed out that the Scriptures often speak of the end of a matter even though the word “end” may not actually be used. For example, Psalm 90 has three verses that clearly speak of an ending (vv.2, 9, 14) without some form of the word end appearing. Yet when the word “end” is used, it often communicates good advice. Thus Solomon warned against selfishness, for it can cause a person to reach an unfortunate end, even if he is wealthy (cf. Eccl. 5:13-16).

Nevertheless, it can be seen that the term “end” does appear quite often. For example, in Psalm 119:112 the psalmist declares that his heart “is set on keeping your decrees to the very end.” In Proverbs 1:18-19 we read of the danger that can occur to those who seek selfish gain. In Proverbs 28:23 there is the contrast the end between those who use flattering speech and those who rightly rebuke someone. In psalm 39 the psalmist asks,

Show me, O LORD, my life’s end and the number of days;
let me know how fleeting is my life.
You have made my days a mere handbreadth;
the span of my years is nothing before you.
Each man’s life is but a breath. (vv. 4-5)

Likewise in the New Testament the Apostle Paul encourages Timothy to lead a godly and contented life (1Tim. 6:4-6), “For we brought nothing into the world. And we can take nothing out of it” (v.7).

Despite his various struggles, King David remains an example for us to be faithful to the end. In Psalm 89 the psalmist points to God’s anointing David (v .20) and promises that:

I will appoint him my firstborn,
The most exalted of the kings of the earth.
I will maintain my love to him forever,
and my covenant with him will never fail.
I will establish his line forever,
his throne as long as the heavens endure. (vv. 27-29)

God’s promise is not only to David himself but to his descendants as well, in accordance with their faithfulness.

This promise is no less true for today’s believers, if we consistently live our lives for Christ and the needs of our fellow man, and not just for ourselves. For, “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28).

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Rom. 12:1-2).

God’s promise also entails our living faithfully to God to the very end. As I have written before,

As Christ’s followers believers… should be faithful in all things, even in such matters as the course of their daily tasks and contacts. This should be their consistent goal and desire throughout their lives…. Faithfulness to God should be a burning desire in the believer’s heart.1

As we live out each day for the Lord, let us be conscious of “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27), and therefore, live for his glory as a guide and example for others so that they may come to know Christ as their Savior and Lord. As Phelps expressed it,

All that I am and have-- Thy gifts so free—
In joy, in grief, thru life, Dear Lord, for Thee!
And when Thy face I see, my ransomed soul shall be,
Thru all eternity, something for Thee.2

1 Richard D. Patterson, “Faithful to the End” ( 2015), 12-13.

2 Sylvanus D. Phelps, “Something for Thee.”

Related Topics: Christian Life

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