Today’s reading: Psalms 90-95.
Life is too short to read all the “life is too short” quotes. One day we’ll all be horizontal, no matter how tall we stand now. One day we’ll wither like the dry grass. But until that day, there is still time – time to learn the secret of numbering our days. The Psalmist knew the secret. He was able to look at the brief span of life – “seventy years, or eighty if we have the strength” – and not give in to despair. He could expect to “sing for joy and be glad all our days.” He knew how to reconcile his brief life with eternity.
The length of our days is seventy years– or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away. Who knows the power of your anger? For your wrath is as great as the fear that is due you. Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Relent, O LORD! How long will it be? Have compassion on your servants. Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. Psalm 90:10-14
Chuck Swindoll, writing about Ecclesiastes, speaks of the difference between horizontal and vertical perspectives on life. The person who only sees from the horizontal perspective sees “nothing new under the sun” and finds life full of futility. The person with a vertical perspective brings God into life and finds meaning through working with God. The person who numbers his days aright has learned the secret of eternity.
Numbering our days means knowing our days are numbered. Our life as we know it today won’t continue long. No matter how hard we try, our physical bodies will return to the dust.
Numbering our days means knowing there is an eternity beyond our life on earth. Despite the short span of our life on earth, there is an eternity of time beyond it, and God rules over that eternity.
Numbering our days means knowing we face God’s judgment. God knows our sin and is rightly angered by it. Our relationship with God is broken, and unless we fix it we will enter eternity to face God’s wrath.
Numbering our days means living in relationship with God now. God’s will is that every person finds forgiveness for their sin and restoration of their relationship with him. His love and grace are unfailing, “new every morning.” If we find peace with him, he gives meaning and purpose to our lives “under the sun” and then brings us to our eternal home.
Men are led by reflections upon the brevity of time to give their earnest attention to eternal things; they become humble as they look into the grave which is so soon to be their bed, their passions cool in the presence of mortality, and they yield themselves up to the dictates of unerring wisdom; but this is only the case when the Lord himself is the teacher; he alone can teach to real and lasting profit. Thus Moses prayed that the dispensations of justice might be sanctified in mercy. “The law is our school master to bring us to Christ”, when the Lord himself speaks by the law. It is most meet that the heart which will so soon cease to beat should while it moves be regulated by wisdom’s hand. A short life should be wisely spent. We have not enough time at our disposal to justify us in misspending a single quarter of an hour. Neither are we sure of enough life to justify us in procrastinating for a moment. If we were wise in heart we should see this, but mere head wisdom will not guide us aright. Charles Spurgeon
Image by Fernando de Sousa on Flickr, CC by-sa 2.0