From Praying the Names of God Week Four, Day Two
El Olam is the Hebrew name for the God who has no beginning and no end, the God for whom a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years are like a day. His plans stand firm forever, plans to give you a future full of hope. When you pray to the Everlasting God, you are praying to the God whose Son is called the Alpha and the Omega. He is the God whose love endures forever.
After the treaty had been made at Beersheba, Abimelech and Phicol the commander of his forces returned to the land of the Philistines. Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, and there he called upon the name of the LORD, the Eternal God. (Genesis 21:32-33)
PRAYING THE NAME
For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night....
The length of our days is seventy years—or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away....
Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. (Psalm 90:4, 10, 12)
Reflect On: Psalms 90
Praise God: For he has no beginning and no end.
Offer Thanks: That God has made your soul immortal.
Confess: Any tendency to live without reference to heaven.
Ask God: To make you grateful for every day that passes.
Jeanne Calment, a French woman, who took up fencing lessons at the age of eighty-five and rode her bike until she was one hundred, lived to be 122 years old. She credited her long life to drinking Port wine, a diet rich in olive oil, and her sense of humor. "I will die laughing," she predicted. In fact, Jeanne had the last laugh when it came to a business deal she made when she was ninety years old. In 1965 a forty-seven-year-old lawyer offered to purchase Jeanne's apartment. He agreed to pay her $500 a month for the rest of her life on the condition that ownership of the apartment would immediately revert to him after her death.
But his gamble, which must have seemed a sure bet, never paid off. Though the lawyer lived to the respectable age of seventy-seven, Jeanne outfoxed him by living a year longer than he did. Over the course of thirty years the lawyer had paid Jeanne a total of $184,000, more than twice the market value of the apartment. To add insult to injury, his heirs were obligated to continue the payments until her death.
When it comes to age, other world record holders have attributed their longevity to "not moping around," "just loving your brother and drinking a glass of red wine," "sipping green tea," and "eating plenty of boiled dandelion greens." Genetics, attitude, diet, the air we breathe—who knows why some people live longer than others? But even 122 years is not much compared to eternity.
Scripture teaches us that wisdom comes, not from living a long life, but from numbering our days aright, which is another way of reminding us that death could come to us anytime, anywhere, at any moment. For those who have faith in the everlasting God, this prospect can help keep us humble and focused, humble because we recognize our limitations and focused because we believe that every day matters. Let it be said of us, not that we died laughing (great as that might be), but that we died loving, trusting our eternal future to the everlasting faithfulness of God.
Two of Ann Spangler's most-loved books have been released in paperback: Praying the Names of God and Praying the Names of Jesus.
These books help us understand the biblical context in which these names and titles were revealed, and help us gain a more intimate knowledge of the Father and of the Son.