“Be careful, how you live–not as unwise but as wise. Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.”
Concerning, “Redeeming the time“, there is a difference between times and seasons. A “time” is a general idea of a duration (such as an age or era), and a “season” can be as specific as to the very day, with a set beginning and a set end. The harvest season for a known region for example, can be as precise as the weather and only vary by about a week, if at all. That is the idea behind, “In due season ye shall reap if ye faint not.” It is not a harvest to come in a general future, but it will come at a set date, most probable to meet a specific need.
In the word “redeeming,” a metaphor is drawn from the conduct of a purchaser who goes into the market and there secures a price for that which he desires to possess. Life is opportunity. One is given a time to go and purchase whatever he or she desires to possess. But be careful, a thousand years to us is but a day to the Lord. So our life is just a short season to the Lord with a set beginning and end. To us however, it is a time, a general duration of which the end is unknown.
We should also take note that time only goes forward, it never goes backward. Each day and every passing second is a moment that we cannot get back. Psalms 139 says that the Lord saw and wrote in His book, each day of our lives before we were even born. Therefore, everyday He has a specific purpose for us to fulfill. A day is like a door with a one-sided knob, it can be opened to go through, but once it’s shut you can never open it again. If we fail to achieve His plans for that day, I believe He is merciful and faithful to help us fulfill the overall purpose. His mercies are new every morning! If we messed up yesterday, praise God we can try again today! However, I also believe that He is rigid and just and the rewards of those opportunities that were set for that exact day, once lost, can be lost forever.
Proverbs says, “a word spoken at the right time is as a golden apple set in pictures of silver.” Perhaps if you miss your timing and you repent, God may be merciful to still give you golden apples, but you will certainly lose the pictures of silver. God is faithful to His Word and He faithfully rewards the promptly obedient servant, as delayed obedience is disobedience.
So to redeem the time is to purchase the time. I promise that a purchase will take place no matter what it is that you seek to possess. You will give the efforts and passions of your life to something. What you “possess” in the end is another question.
I find it interesting that there is no hebrew verb in the Bible to express “to have”, to express that we are even capable of possessing anything! It is all an illusion. Someone in the world might bring me the title deed to their house to prove to me that they own it, to show me that they worked hard for it. I could argue that they still do not possess it. To possess something implies that you have the power to keep it forever or as long as you will. A storm may come tomorrow and wash your house away and there is nothing in your power to stop it. Whether you want to give something away, lose it, have it stolen, hold on to it until it corrodes, or until you die; it’s departure from your stewardship is certain.
However, there are some things that we have been given power, divine permission, to possess. They are not earthly and they cannot be seen with the natural eye. The person of the world might call me crazy for arguing that he doesn’t possess his home, of which he can present the address and title deed to. He would also say that I am crazy to claim that which cannot be seen for my possession. God tells us about incorruptible things that we can possess. Therefore, if I can possess it then I can purchase them now, attain them now, and keep them forever. We must remember who holds all the power and where ours comes from. That man’s title deed to his house is power to him, which could foreclose tomorrow. The Word of God is power to me. The entire Earth will one day pass away and time will fold up and end, but not one word of scripture will ever cease. You can call me crazy, but I will say that’s all a matter of perspective. I choose to agree with God, who is the ultimate authority in the universe.
This life is opportunity. We are given time to go and purchase whatever we desire to have for our possession. The time is certain, it will pass whether you use it wisely or not. The sluggard will not plow today because it is cold, therefore at harvest time he will beg and have nothing. The purchase is also certain. Your time will be spent putting your energy and passions into possessing something whether or not you know a purchase took place. What you decide to purchase is up to you. I strongly suggest that one soberly contemplate the marketplace for that which is eternal. Secure the price and count the cost. The time is short, the purchase is sure, but eternity is not. Occasion has a door, those outside who did not buy, may beat on the door; but the shut door will only answer, “too late, too late, the door is shut.“