Teach [us] to number our days so we may obtain a heart of wisdom.
Psalm 90 is a sober reminder of our frailty and transience compared to the everlasting, almighty God who created all things, sustains all things, and who punishes sin, and extends mercy. The psalm begins with a declaration that God has always been and will always be: “from everlasting to everlasting You are God.” While men turn back to dust, with no more permanence than the grass which sprouts one day and withers the next, the Lord remains. A thousand years to Him is like the passing of a day.
But it’s not just that compared to God, we are like vapor; when our sins are set before God, His wrath overwhelms us. It’s only by His mercy and loving-kindness that we are not all wiped out. No sin is hidden from Him: our brief lives are open books written in simple language to the Lord.
The only way we can avoid despair is take to heart verse 12 and turn to the Lord, asking Him to teach us to number our days. This has nothing to do with asking how long we will live, or reckoning the average life span of a person, but rather asking the Lord to teach us to make our days worthwhile. We need His help to consider every day as a precious gift: a moment in our short number of years in which the Lord has granted us the grace to live. We need to learn not to squander these moments, but to invest them with meaning and purpose. Unfortunately, for many of us, our days are filled with meaningless toil or play. There’s nothing wrong with work, or with entertainment, but do we have a sense of purpose? Have we considered what purpose the Lord might have for us, and how we might use the time He has given us to that end?
By receiving the Lord’s sober instruction on the use of our time, we also obtain from Him a “heart of wisdom.” Consider the folly of the world, chasing after things that won’t last, storing up treasures on earth, seeking pleasures and rewards that will wither and fade with the grass. We need the wisdom of God that turns our hearts to desire the eternal, that which is truly good, holy, and precious. With the help of the Lord, we can see beyond the here-and-now, and consider our lives in light of the future hope we have in Christ. This will give us wisdom in our thoughts, our words, and our actions.
May we all count our days, and consider with godly wisdom how we invest our time here. One day this will all be gone, and only that which is of eternal value will last. I pray that our lives will be invested in the eternal, and not in that which perishes like the grass.
Have a great week!