Teach Us to Number Our Days

Reading the Word

Psalm 90:1–12 (ESV)
1 Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations.
2 Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
3 You return man to dust and say, “Return, O children of man!”
4 For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night.
5 You sweep them away as with a flood; they are like a dream, like grass that is renewed in the morning:
6 in the morning it flourishes and is renewed; in the evening it fades and withers.
7 For we are brought to an end by your anger; by your wrath we are dismayed.
8 You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.
9 For all our days pass away under your wrath; we bring our years to an end like a sigh.
10 The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away.
11 Who considers the power of your anger, and your wrath according to the fear of you?
12 So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.

Understanding and Applying the Word

This psalm speaks of the brevity of our lives and the truth that we have sinned against God and are rightly under his anger. The writer speaks of the magnificence of God and his authority over all of creation. Our iniquities are ever before the all-knowing God. Nothing is hidden from him and, because of our sin, we all face death.

The psalmist prays, “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” To number our days means that we understand the brevity of our lives. Knowing our lives are short should cause us to approach our lives differently. We should seek wisdom. Knowing that we will one day die and that there is a God to whom we will give an account, causes us to seek his will and desires. This is the wisdom we all need and this is the wisdom we should all pray for.

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