It was one of those days that I had been thinking, “Anytime You want to take me Home, Lord, I’m ready.” It wasn’t anything major, mind you. Rather, it was all the little irritations and frustrations of life that were exhausting me and making me yearn even more for Glory. It was the fussy infant who wouldn’t be quiet unless he was being held; it was the husband leaving me home with all of the children so he could serve as a deacon at church; it was the tears during spelling for my sixth grader; it was my oldest son asking for last-minute help on a college composition; it was my four-year-old yelling for help from the potty; it was the pile of dishes in the sink, and the pile of laundry in the dryer, and the pile of toys scattered all over the house; it was the ungraded schoolwork sitting on the table…. Well, you get the idea. It was a typical day of home schooling (at least at my house). What a day! It was not one of those days I wanted to number as Psalm 90:12 exhorts us to do: “So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
It was that very verse, nonetheless, that prompted me to do a bit more research into its author and its surrounding verses. Psalm 90 is actually a psalm of Moses, who my Bible notes was “the man of God,” in the subheading of that psalm. Moses was more than Israel’s leader in the exodus from Egypt. Deuteronomy 34:5 defines him as “the servant of the LORD.” He was one hundred and twenty years old when he died, but “[h]is eyes were not dim nor his natural vigor diminished” (Deut. 34:7). Don’t skip over that concept too quickly. This is a man who had led thousands of Jews from Egypt to Israel, a man who had every right to be weary in every sense of the word, but he is a man of vigor and dynamic action even at 120! In fact, Moses has a place in history that is unrivaled. There is not another prophet like Moses who has ever arisen in Israel, “whom the LORD knew face to face” (Deut. 34:10).
So when the prophet, this leader, this servant of the LORD, this psalmist of Psalm 90 instructs us to take note of our days and weigh them out, we need to heed his counsel. It’s interesting to note that in that same psalm, just a few verses before we’re told to number our days, Moses points out that “The days of our lives are seventy years; and if by reason of strength they are eighty years, yet their boast is only labor and sorrow…” (Ps. 90:10). He warns us our lives will be full of toil and sorrow, but then he reminds us why we need to count our days – so that “we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
God doesn’t put me through difficult home school days just for His own pleasure (which would be rather warped) or so I can do a better job of teaching my children than some other teacher at any other school. No, He wants me to gain a heart of wisdom. It is ridiculous how many times I have failed to learn that lesson or believe its truth.
I’m more than halfway through my expected lifespan now. Generally, I do not feel undiminished natural vigor on my own. And therein rests my problem: I’m not relying on God’s grace and mercy. Moses was a man of God, a servant of the LORD. It was because of that deep personal relationship with God that Moses could be a man of usefulness and energy. And it was because of Moses’ reliance on God’s mercy that he could exclaim, “Oh, satisfy us early with Your mercy, that we may rejoice and be glad all our day!” (Ps. 90:14)
Moreover, at the end of this psalm, Moses reminds us that a wise heart is one that strives to glorify God and serve Him.
Let Your work appear to your servants,
And Your glory to their children.
And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us,
And establish the work of our hands for us;
Yes, establish the work of our hands.
(Ps. 90:16, 17)
We need to be people that weigh out each day, enumerate our days... not just in anticipation of Christ’s return or of life in Heaven (though we are to hope with earnest expectation for those things), but also in light of the truth that we can gain hearts of wisdom that will glorify God and establish the work of our hands to His honor and praise.
We serve a God who is changeless (Ps. 90:1), ageless (v. 2), timeless (v. 4), righteous (vv. 7-9), and matchless (v. 17). May we finish our lives strong, like Moses. And may we be women and men of God and dedicated servants of the Lord. Our days are numbered. May we pursue lives that are clear testimonies of our Savior and His love.