Teach Us to Number Our Days
"So teach us to number our days, that we may get a heart of wisdom." -- Psalm 90.12
I always thought it strange that time could seem like an instance or an eternity. Some time periods seem to last forever, such as when a workday seems longer than 100 hours, you're sitting at a red light when you're already late, or you check over your shoulder for the third time to see if the waitress is bringing your food. Yet though the present often seems to take forever, we often look behind ourselves and wonder how time moved so quickly. We wonder how college moved by so quickly, or how 10 years have passed, working at the same company, or how it's possible that your kids grew up in a blink of an eye. We may think that the past has gone by quickly, but to God, even a thousand years in His sight are but as yesterday the its past (Psm 90.4). All our years, in the end, are but a sigh. Although we often live out our years as if the next one will surely come, the Psalmist calls to God to help us count our days and realize that death comes to us all.
The Psalmist is not calling out of the realization of mortality so that we can better enjoy the time we have left or so that we spend our luxuries before it is too late. We are called to number our days so that we can serve and fear the Lord. In verses 7-11, God's wrath is our end with our iniquities before Him. The Psalmists asks, "who considers the power of your anger, end your wrath according to the fear of you?" (Psm 90.11). The heart of wisdom comes when we understand the power and wrath of God over our finite lives and the justice that He brings. For "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" (Proverbs 9.10).
When compared to the God who is from everlasting to everlasting, our lives are truly a vapor in His sight. Understanding this as part of His glorious power is the start to wisdom. If we strive to view our own lives as fleeting as it is, we can be prepared to go to God any day.