NUMBER YOUR DAYS
Psalm 90:10-12 The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. Who knoweth the power of thine anger? Even according to Thy fear, so is Thy wrath. So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.
The lesson text is taken from a Psalm of Moses. It acknowledges that God is eternal (vs 1-2). In the following verses, the eternal nature of God is contrasted to the frailty and the limited years that mankind has to live here on earth. The text doesn't necessarily refer to a specific number of years as much as it does to the brevity of life. In early patriarchal years, it was common for people to live 600 to over 900 years. In later years, even Moses lived to be 120, while Joshua lived 110 years. It seems that the 70 to 80 year life span was more common from the time of Moses to the present. In the sight of God, a thousand years is as yesterday or the length of a single watch at night. A life of 70 to 80 years is a mere dot on God's time line.
The brevity of life is referred to in Job 14:1-2: Man that is born of woman is of few days, and full of trouble. He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not. Here the span of life is referred to as a few days. It is compared to the flower that springs up, blooms, withers away, and is cut down. It is also compared to a shadow, which begins with the dawning of the sun, continues throughout the day, and, due to the rotation of the earth, it lengthens as the sun approaches the western horizon and ceases to exist when the sun disappears from view.
The apostle Peter contrasts the brevity of life to grass and its flower. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away (1 Peter 1:24). James compares life and its brevity to vapor. Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is but a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away (James 4:14).
When the psalmist tells us to number our days, what is he referring to? Is he telling us to count the number of days that we live? Or is he telling us to make every day that we live count? The wisdom referred to in this verse, indicates that the latter is the true message of this text. Those that have wisdom approach every day as another opportunity to do good deeds that have eternal value. Ephesians 5:15-16 also tells us how the wise respond to every day of their life: see then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. When we rise up each morning, we should look at this 24 hour period with this attitude of "redeeming this day."
Redeeming our days is another way of numbering our days. It can be described in different ways. Redeeming can be considered fulfilling a promise. It is as if we vow to use each day God gives us to do His will.Redeeming can also be considered paying off a debt. It is as if we owe God a price for each day He gives us. We use the time given us each day to satisfy the debt, similar to paying off a mortgage. It is as if we use every day to purchase or buy God's favor by laying up treasures in heaven.
What did you buy today? Food, clothing, rent, house payments, IRAs for retirement, stocks, bonds, etc? All are well and good - they provide for this life on earth. However, buying food, clothing, shelter and other things for our fellow human beings that are in need, will redeem the day for eternity. Buying needful things for ourselves, sustains life here on earth. In buying things for others in need, we find the hope of eternal life. Today, did you buy earthly treasures, or did you buy treasures in heaven? Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth ...but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven (Matthew6:19-20). Be wise; number your days in view of eternity. Don't simply count each day, but make each day count!