So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.
This verse has been close to my heart during these days of pandemic isolation. I can’t recall how I stumbled onto it during the first few days of isolation. Whether it was in a sermon, something I read, or something I was studying. I do not remember. But these words, really all of Psalm 90, have stuck with me.
Teach us to number our days
Our earthly days are numbered, they have a limit. This is something that I knew from an early age. My father died in a car accident when I was very young. But there’s more soberness about the reality of it the older you get.
Since the pandemic, I think most of us have felt a greater tension about the reality of our humanity, our limited time, our frailty, our frame. I know I have. And I also now possess a greater appreciation of how things can change so very quickly.
This numbering of days helps me to understand what Paul is getting at here in 2 Corinthians 4.
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. – 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
As a Christian, numbering my days helps me to remember where I’m headed. This small speck of life, a span of 80 years or so if I’m blessed with long life, is just that. A tiny blip on the screen compared to eternity. So it puts difficulties, sufferings, trials, in a different light. This is not the end, it’s only preparing us for eternity.
Numbering my days also helps me to remember this, each earthly day I’m allowed to live is a gift and something to look forward to. I’m only given a certain number of days here. How can I glorify God and point others to Him? What opportunities is He giving me today? These are the things that really matter and will potentially last beyond my days on earth.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. – Ephesians 2:10
Not only are my days numbered, but they are also purposed. By obedience to His word, taking advantage of the opportunities He puts before me in my life, in submission to His plan, the works I do are prepared by my Father. This is reassuring and reminds me to trust Him for the everydayness of life.
That we may get a heart of wisdom.
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 90:11-12
Moses reminds us here of the nature of godly wisdom. It is rooted in fear. Fear of God, rightly understood, which reminds us of our humanity. Our days on earth are numbered, but God is infinite. He has no beginning or end. He is the Alpha and Omega. The first and the last.
We have to be taught.
We don’t naturally number our days, we have to be taught to do this. “Teach us to number our days…”
Recently, we were able to meet in person in our church building for the first time in 77 days. It was different. It was weird. But it was glorious! One thing my pastor (who is also my husband) said was this, “We’re not coming out of this pandemic trying to just get back to normal. No, things will never be the same. We’ve all been changed.”
Isn’t that the truth? And as Christians, it’s a glorious truth. We want change. We know we need to change. Sanctification means change. Changing more into the likeness of Christ.
And we have to be taught. From the time we are saved, born again, we begin being taught, like an infant, a new way of thinking. We begin to move from a worldly way of thinking to a godly way of thinking.
So number your days. Seek change. Seek wisdom. Realize your finite ways. And look to the infinite, unchanging Christ who is the same, yesterday, today, and forever!