Is our time of death appointed?
If God knows all things, He clearly knows the time each of us will die. In fact, Psalm 139:16 (NIV) clearly notes, "all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."
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From a human perspective, the way we live offers us a certain level of control over the time of our death. For example, a healthy lifestyle will likely lead to a longer lifetime. A person involved in a dangerous lifestyle or job is also more likely to die younger. Even the extreme example of suicide appears to offer full control of ending one's life at the time of his or her choosing.
Yet from God's perspective, He already knows the end from the beginning. No matter the choices we make in life, He already knows the outcome of those choices. Further, He has a divine plan that supersedes our human plans regarding the length of our lives.
Because God knows the exact length of our lives and we do not, how should we respond? Psalm 90:12 says: "So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom." In other words, we are called to live each day carefully and fully, knowing that each day is important and that tomorrow is uncertain.
James 4:13-15 offers another example of how to live based on the uncertainty of tomorrow: "Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit'—yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, 'If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.'"
Finally, it is essential to believe in the gospel of Jesus today and to live it out, because tomorrow is not guaranteed. Hebrews 3:7 shares, "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion." Since no person knows the day of his or her death, we are to believe in Christ and live fully for Him each day, being prepared for the time when we meet Him face to face.
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