Lord, teach us to NUMBER our DAYS!
“So teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom." (Psalms 90:12)
Psalms 90 is the only psalm attributed to Moses, the man of God. Moses prays to His Redeemer in the context of the frailty of man and the shortness of life, contrasting this with the eternity of God. It is a contrast between the everlasting God and the temporal man, between what is eternal and what is temporary, between what is permanent and what is perishing and between the divine viewpoint and the human viewpoint. This prayer is a powerfully honest look at the brevity and significance of life in which Moses compares our entire lifetime to grass that grows up in the morning and withers in the evening (v. 5-6). This is a prayer contemplating the snapshots of our life with the final image in view.
Moses had realized the significance of his life early at the age of 40, when he chose “to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin” (Heb 11:24-26) as he was well aware that he was fast moving to his eternal destiny. This is exactly what Job knew as well when he said the following words: "My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle, and are spent without hope. Oh, remember that my life is a breath! My eye will never again see good. The eye of him who sees me will see me no more; while your eyes are upon me, I shall no longer be. As the cloud disappears and vanishes away, so he who goes down to the grave does not come up. He shall never return to his house, nor shall his place know him anymore." (Job 7:6-10)
So, Moses prayed that we may gain a heart of wisdom (v. 12), so God would teach us to number our days! There are four reflections we can distill from this short prayer:
- This prayer came from the heart of an objective man who knew that his death was certain. During the 40 years that he had led the children of Israel through the wilderness, he had seen over 1.2 million deaths. As the popular saying goes - if there are two things certain in this life, they are death and taxes. "And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment" (Heb 9:27)
- This prayer came from the heart of an old man who knew how short his life is. Moses has categorized the life span of a ‘normal’ human being to 70 years only, which will soon be carried away like a flood or gone away like sleep in the night (v. 5).
- This prayer came from the heart of a godly man who knew that there is something abiding and meaningful in life. Time is only significant when we visualize it in the light of eternity. God had placed us here on earth with a purpose, and we should ensure that our lives are significant. We should invest our time in people and projects that will live on after we die!
- This prayer came from the heart of a wise man who knew the importance of setting deadlines. We need to maintain discipline in our lives – this is the secret of spiritual living. We need to consider making the right choices and how we should spend our time every day.