“Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12)
Happy New Year, everyone. This time of year has us contemplating resolutions, goals, and plans. Our passage informs us as to how we might go about doing these things.
The request “teach us to number our days” means that we need God to reveal to us the brevity of life. That revelation will help us grow wise, and wisdom is important, because the choices we make during our brief stay on earth have eternal consequences. The remainder of Psalm 90 gives details about God’s wrath against sin and about the meaning of life. Our earthly lives will not last long, and we need wisdom to prepare for what follows.
Psalm 90 was penned by Moses, a man with whom the Lord spoke “face to face, as a man speaks with his friend” (Ex. 33:11). Yet Moses wrote about the fierce anger of God against sin. He pleaded with the Lord to help mankind realize that we will all answer to God for deeds done in the body (2 Cor. 5:10). In Psalm 90:11, Moses writes, “Who considers the power of your anger!” Moses was a man who knew God better than most mortals, yet he had experienced the sting of God’s punishment for his sin.
Jesus tells a parable that explains what happens when we don’t “number our days.” In Luke 12:19–21 he describes a rich man who wanted only to “eat, drink, and be merry” and had no time or thought for God. The rich man believed he had years yet to enjoy his pleasures, but God required his soul that very night. If the rich man had learned to “number his days,” he would have contemplated his life against eternity, finding it lacking. This has eternal significance. We can learn from this parable that none of us know how many days we will be granted, so we must not waste them on silly, selfish pursuits that have no real value.
God’s desire for his people is that we learn, grow, and seek wisdom. As we learn to number our days, we will share that desire. We were created to walk in fellowship with God, discovering the mysteries and delights he has given us in his good creation. The Lord delights to journey with us as we pursue all he designed for us to accomplish, having received grace through faith as a gift. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10). When we have peace with God through Christ, death is simply a change of address. Our enjoyment of him continues unabated when we step from this life into eternity.
Those who have learned to number their days spend them in pursuit of wisdom, goodness, and the kingdom of God (Matt. 6:33). They don’t have to fear the wrath of God when their earthly lives are over. Jesus came to earth to make us fit for heaven (2 Cor. 5:21). As Joseph Hart writes, “All the fitness he requires is to feel your need of him. This he gives you, ‘tis the Spirit’s rising beam.”
Those who never learn to number their days spend them as if this life is all there is. Psalm 90 warns about the judgment these are destined to undergo (Heb. 9:27). But when we learn to number our days, we see each day as a valuable gift and an opportunity to store up treasure in heaven (Luke 12:33).
Blessings to you all,