Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Teach Us To Number Our Days

"For all our days pass away under your wrath; we bring our years to an end like a sigh. The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away. Who considers the power of your anger, and your wrath according to the fear of you? So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom" Psalm 90:9-12, (ESV)

As this year, 2010, winds down to its conclusion and the next year, 2011, approaches I can't help but think of this passage. Psalm 90 was written by Moses and handed down as it was preserved until it was collected with the other 149 Psalms and put into the book we know as The Book of Psalms.

The background of this Psalm is that of some type of local tragedy or disaster. Moses asks God to take pity on His people and to bless them. This Psalm was set to music and was sung by the congregation of Israel. As the congregation sang they were to picture in their mind Israel as they were about to cross the Jordan River into the Promised Land.

As they pictured this they were to remember that their forefathers rebelled against God and God refused to let those who left Egypt as part of the Exodus to go into the land. Moses himself was not permitted to enter the Promised Land due to his rebellion against God by striking the rock rather than speaking to it. From among the two million people who left Egypt the only ones who entered the land was Joshua and Caleb.

The singers were to envision that if they were going to accomplish their mission and if God were going to "establish the work of their hands" the people would have to embrace the covenant of God and live in faith toward God. Those who are singing now in the congregation were to picture themselves as the heirs of that first generation - by seeking out the blessing of God.

This Psalm stresses time and how quickly time passes. God is eternal and unchanging. However human beings are not. We are finite and our live is very short. Why would God through Moses the Psalmist want to stress the shortness of time and the brevity of life. The awareness of just how short life is becomes a catalyst to earnest prayer for God's help. We can accomplish nothing of value, nothing which is lasting, and nothing which pleases God apart from God.

In the verses that we chose, 9-12, Moses relates the ordinary life span of a human being. Yes their are exceptions. At our former church, Calvary Baptist Church, we have a member who turned 105 this past September. Yesterday at Coal Creek Community Church we attended a memorial for the son of friends who died at 45. The average life span of a human being at the time of writing was 70 years, maybe even 80.

Since God is a God of wrath and we since can easily offend God we need wisdom. We need to earnestly pray that God would lead his people in faithful living. We need to pray and ask God to draw near to us, to bless our endeavors, and to make us glad. We need godly wisdom to make the most of our days because our days are so few. Whether we are granted 45 years, 105 years, or just 70 years we need to live for the glory of God.  We need for God to enable us as His people to live by right priorities.

How are you doing?
If God gave you 70 years how many do you have left? 
How are you using them? 
Do you have a plan of fervent prayer asking God for wisdom to use 2011 to its maximum capacity for His glory?

 Let me encourage you to begin asking God regularly to teach you to number your days!


Michelle said...

Well...I have about 40 years left...I, of course, would say I'm not using them as wisely as I should...and that leads to what I'm praying for in and for 2011...to have a better understanding of God's majesty, His greatness, and just what A GOD I am serving. I believe I come before Him often times half-heartedly and dismissively with no proper understanding of the Great God He is that no simple words can describe.

Larri said...

Yikes! You're stepping on my toes this morning, Gregg...thanks. :o)

I have 30 years before I reach 70. I haven't used the first 40 to the best of my ability. I am praying that 2011 will be my turnaround year in my walk.

Excellent and thought-provoking post. Happy Tuesday!

Persis said...

I have about 20 left. For 2011, I am praying to know God through serious study in the word and to convey the necessity of knowing Him and living for Him to my daughter.

Anonymous said...

who knows if i'll make it to tomorrow, except God. I want to live each day as though it's my last. and by that i don't mean in my flesh, but by digging deeper into God's word, examining myself and growing in grace.


Seeing I have passed 45yrs and won't reach 105 and only have 4 years to go until i'm 70 I suddenly feel very vulnerable.


Cathy M. said...

You had a post several weeks ago about goal-setting. It really helped me to think realistically about things I want to accomplish in the coming year. Organization is top on my list.

Pondering the brevity of life is a destination I visit, but only for short stays, if you know what I mean. I can't camp there too long.

Scott said...

Great post. I didn't get to read it until now, and I'm struck by the amazing similarities to my most recent as well. I would say something about great minds thinking alike, but that would imply that I have one, and well....

Thanks for this.

Anonymous said...

I've been thinking a lot about these verses lately Gregg. I will be 60 on my next b-day and if the Lord blesses me with 10 or even 20 more years that I can still be fruitful for Him, well, even that amount of time will just fly by! When I think of what I was doing 10 yrs ago it seems like yesterday! This is frightening to me as I consider the years I've frittered away in meaningless endeavors as a believer! I can only pray that He will redeem the years the locust ate.

Bless you brother.