Your throne was established long ago;
you are from all eternity. — Psalm 93:2
We talk about eternity a lot. God is eternal. The soul is eternal. The afterlife is eternal. But do we really understand what eternity means? How can we, who live in a finite world where everything is temporary, understand the concept of infinity?
I once heard it explained this way: Imagine a beach next to a great ocean. On the beach there is a pile of sand – but not the kind of pile that a child makes. This pile of sand is the size of a mountain! It soars all the way up to the sky. Now imagine that a bird comes and picks up a grain of sand in its beak. It travels across the ocean and puts the grain down on the other side. Every thousand years, the bird returns to the beach and takes another grain of sand and drops it on the other continent. How long will it take to the move the mountain of sand to the land across the ocean? That’s a peek into eternity!
Psalm 93 moves. It has a definite motion. It begins by affirming God’s eternity and ends the same way. In the middle we hear of a roaring ocean with “pounding waves” (v. 3). The motion of the psalm, appropriately, is that of a wave. It begins with the calm stillness of the eternal God, just as a wave begins from the quiet of the sea. The middle of the psalm is loud and dynamic, like a wave about to crash into the shores. But it ends with a return to the stillness of the beginning, just as a wave quietly recedes back into the sea from which it came.
The message: Our lives are only a wave in the vast and endless sea of eternity. Sure, we can make a lot of noise with our voices and pound the pavement with our feet, but very quickly, we will return to the quiet stillness of the sea from which we came. What’s a wave in comparison to the great ocean? That’s our lives in contrast to eternity.
I used to have a teacher that would often preface our Bible study by reminding us that we were “turning moments into eternity.” When we do good deeds and study God’s Word, we create moments that last forever. Most of what we do in our brief lives is gone and meaningless once we leave the world. But our good deeds last forever. They live on for eternity.
Considering that truth, how will we spend our time today? Will the hours be lost once they pass, or can we make them last forever? What can we do today that will turn our moments into eternity?
With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President