Reading the Word
Psalm 39:1–13 (ESV)
1 I said, “I will guard my ways, that I may not sin with my tongue; I will guard my mouth with a muzzle, so long as the wicked are in my presence.” 2 I was mute and silent; I held my peace to no avail, and my distress grew worse. 3 My heart became hot within me. As I mused, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue: 4 “O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am! 5 Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Selah6 Surely a man goes about as a shadow! Surely for nothing they are in turmoil; man heaps up wealth and does not know who will gather! 7 “And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you. 8 Deliver me from all my transgressions. Do not make me the scorn of the fool! 9 I am mute; I do not open my mouth, for it is you who have done it. 10 Remove your stroke from me; I am spent by the hostility of your hand. 11 When you discipline a man with rebukes for sin, you consume like a moth what is dear to him; surely all mankind is a mere breath! Selah12 “Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear to my cry; hold not your peace at my tears! For I am a sojourner with you, a guest, like all my fathers. 13 Look away from me, that I may smile again, before I depart and am no more!”
Understanding and Applying the Word
I do not know many people who like to think or talk about death. Yet, it is a topic that we must think about at some point because it is a reality that we all face. We need to be prepared for it and we need to prepare others for it. In this psalm, the writer asks for God to make him know the end and the measure of his days. He wants to live in the reality that life is short.
As a pastor, I have come to realize that funerals open a door of opportunity to encourage people to reflect on the brevity of life. I believe this is a good thing and that reflecting on death can help us have a better life. We need to consider that we will one day stand before the Creator and give an account. We also must consider that we have all sinned and that God is holy. Thankfully, he is also gracious and has made forgiveness of sin possible through the sacrificial death of his Son, Jesus Christ. God’s word tells us that those who trust in Christ will be saved and given eternal life.
We need to be prepared for death because it can come at any moment. We, like the psalmist, need to know the brevity of our days and turn to Christ while we have time. Will you today?
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