Teach Us to Number Our DaysMonday, March 30, 2020
So teach us to number our days
that we may get a heart of wisdom.
- Psalm 90:12 (ESV)
Reflecting back to January 2020, I don’t recall anyone’s “Word for the Year” being “quarantine,” “pandemic,” or something similar. I saw most blogs, Facebook posts, and tweets claim goals and themes revolving around the notions of happiness, self-care, growth, and transformation. And yet, within a matter of weeks, here we are, experiencing a global hardship that very few saw coming. What words will our current culture cling to for hope and inspiration now?
If you’re familiar with the Old Testament, you’ve probably read the journey of the Israelites being brought out from the slavery of Egypt and into the Promised Land. Because of their lack of obedience and faith in God, their quest was much longer than they anticipated with more trials than they imagined. In a rare psalm written by Moses, he gives his fellow Israelites a reality check as he laments to God. He reminds them in the midst of difficult circumstances who God is, how powerless we really are, how quickly life goes by, the weightiness of God’s anger, and the hope that is found only in Him. After Moses reminds the audience of these truths, he transitions into an ask. He pleads with the Lord to “...teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” In many Bible translations, the titled authorship of Psalm 90 acknowledges him as “The Man of God.” Moses had a direct, personal relationship with God. It’s interesting to note that with this type of access, he does not petition God to change their circumstances in the wilderness or meet a physical need. He asks for something much different; much greater. He asks for help to live in light of eternity.
Think about the life of Moses. From the way he was born, to sins he committed, fears he had to overcome, suffering he endured, direct communion with God - all these things impacted his understanding of life and how fleeting it is. There is something about hardship and suffering that forces our eyes to look up. Moses asked God to help the Israelites recognize their days are numbered, this life is not all there is, and the only way to steward the remainder of their time on earth well is through a heart of wisdom. Proverbs chapter 1 tells us that wisdom is directly linked with the fear of the Lord. Moses is asking God to help them live their lives with a pursuit of holiness, godliness, and purpose because they will one day give an account of their lives.
How does Psalm 90:12 apply to us today? I would say in the same way it did when first written. Every day we have an enemy who works to keep our minds on the things of the earth and lose sight of the things above. As years progress, it seems as though his job is becoming easier, with the enticing distractions and false experiences of security found in technology, money, sex, food, material possessions, alcohol, work, relationships, etc. All throughout biblical text and especially in this psalm, our focus is brought back to the brevity of life, the urgency of sharing the Gospel, the judgment to come, and the beauty of the free gift of salvation.
If you call yourself a Christian today, do you feel the weight of your life? Every thought, every word, every deed will give an account to what you truly believe. If you are a Christian, you house the Hope that the world longs to have, but searches for among the dust of the earth. If you really believe the Bible is true and the Gospel is the answer, then how could you not respond with your one, significant, fleeting life shouting to all who will listen: “God is real, judgement is coming, and very soon every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord!”
Lord, I thank You for the gift of another day that we can too easily take for granted. I thank You for all the small miracles that You do for us throughout these 24 hours. Help us have an eternal perspective, keeping our minds on the things above. Lord, grow in us a reverent fear and awe of You. Help us place You on Your rightful throne over our lives. Enable us to bring glory to You through our every word and deed. God, I ask that when our friends, family, and neighbors reflect back on our lives, they won’t remember us as being“nice” or “kind,” but they will remember the love of God they experienced and the sweetness of Your Spirit that touched their lives. In the strong, holy, and precious name of Jesus, Amen.
Ministry Fellow, Christian Union Nova