An English Estuary at low tide.
Photo courtesy of Andy B.

Today’s post was written from a photograph prompt of an English estuary at low-tide, supplied by Andy B of the BerryBunch.

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.”

James 4:13-15 (NASB)

In life there are few things that are certain, except for “death and taxes” as the popular saying goes. Yet many people make great plans which may succeed, but very often fail for any of a number of reasons. The world economy that many rely upon is notoriously fickle, up one day and down the next. The two things that are for certain in this world and control our lives are time and tide; “Time and tide wait for no man” says the famous quote.  This proverbial phrase, alluding to the fact that human events or concerns cannot stop the passage of time or the movement of the tides, first appeared about 1395 in Chaucer’s Prologue to “The Clerk’s Tale.” 

Specifically there is the story of King Canute (of Southern England) who sought to teach  his servants a lesson who kept praising his greatness. Thus the king  set his throne by the sea shore and commanded the incoming tide to halt; continuing to rise as usual the tide covered his feet and legs without respect to his royal person. Then the king leapt backwards, saying: ‘Let all men know how empty and worthless is the power of kings, for there is none worthy of the name, but He whom heaven, earth, and sea obey by eternal laws.'” He then hung his gold crown on a cross, and never wore it again “to the honour of God the Almighty King”

Our verses today from the book of James are some of the most known scriptures pertaining to this subject. The historical context of this refers to the common practice in the region of men buying large amounts of a product and transporting it elsewhere and selling it so that they may buy new products to transport elsewhere, in an endless cycle of trade that may eventually return home. Albert Barnes calls this “presumptous confidence respecting the future”  with no dependence upon Almighty God who created and controls all things.

Dear reader, we certainly do not know what tomorrow will bring…which is why our Father God wisely tells us to only take care of what we need each day and let tomorrow take care of itself. Today’s scripture is not criticising making plans, but making plans without our Father God. It is our duty as children of God to seek Him and His counsel in all things, after all our life on this earth is short. Whatever you set out to do today, lay it before Heaven’s Throne room in prayer.

24 thoughts on “The Tides of Time

    1. It is a pleasure to be part of encouraging and lifting others like yourself Linda. Thank you for your encouragement sister. May our Father God guide and bless you today, Amen 🙏

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  1. Yes, Amen.

    It’s why I love the phrase “God willing” – which I use frequently.

    It isn’t a way of putting an excuse forwards beforehand! It reminds me that I can’t read the future and, no matter how good my plans may be, or even probable, I still can’t read the future.

    Great post

    Andy B

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Andy, you are a wise brother remembering to give God His place in all things forward in time. Thank you for your challenge. Now excuse me while I go fix that typo in the post…haha!

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