Limitations Give Us Freedoms
“A person’s days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed.” (Job 14:5 NIV)
To be human is to accept the limitations that God in his wisdom has imposed upon us and upon the world into which he has placed us. God has limited the seas (Job 38:10-11), he has limited Satan (1:12; 2:6), and he draws the boundaries of the nations (Acts 17:26). Even our first parents in paradise were limited in what they could do, and because they overstepped the limits, they were cast out (Genesis 3). Individually, you and I are limited in our abilities, our opportunities, our resources, and even the length of our life. God has appointed the limits. Our days are numbered and we cannot go beyond that final day, although we may foolishly hasten it...
But limitations give us freedoms. I have met the conditions for securing a driver’s license and this gives me the freedom to drive on the public streets and highways. My wife and I have met the conditions for possessing passports and this gave us the freedom to travel the world and minister. The Bible gives us the conditions we must meet if we want to receive answers to prayer, and if we obey, God will grant what we request. This is one of the differences between freedom and license. True freedom isn’t doing what I always want to do but what God wants me to do, and my obedience opens the way to blessing.
We must move a step further: true freedom encourages cooperation. Because my abilities and possessions are limited, there are many things I don’t know and can’t do. Therefore, I need the help of others. God saw that Adam’s loneliness was not good, so he created a mate for him to help compensate for his own limitations (Genesis 2:18-25). Marriage, family, and friends are gifts from the heart of God to help us function in this world of limitations, for we can all help one another. The family, community, and church are similar: we belong to each other, we affect each other, and we need each other.
Life involves limitations, limitations give us freedoms, freedoms result in cooperation, and cooperation makes us serious about life. When our lives are connected with others in love, those others become special to us and we don’t want to lose them. “So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). God has set a limit to our days, but we don’t know what it is. God has written all our days in his book, but we haven’t seen the pages (139:15-16).
The conclusion of the matter is this: we must value our lives and the lives of others, for they are limited. We must know that God has appointed our limits, especially our lifespan. We must make the best possible use of the hours and days God gives us, which means knowing and doing his will. Jesus said, “I must work the works of Him who sent me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work” (John 9:4). Our limitations are not obstacles; they are opportunities. God has appointed our limitations so we will focus on what he wants us to do…
-Warren Wiersbe (excerpt from Old Testament Words for Today)