So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.
Psalm 90:12 (ESV)
None of us know how many days we are going to be on this earth. So when Moses prays for God to teach us to number (literally: to weigh out) our days maybe he is asking God to help us realize that, even though we may live a long life, our days on earth are relatively short compared to eternity. The apostle James wrote, What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. (James 4:14)
It could also be that Moses was asking God to help us realize that our days could end in the next moment. And to realize that for a certain our days will end. King David prayed a similar prayer to that of Moses. He prayed, O LORD, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am! (Psalm 39:4 ESV)
The reason Moses gives for our learning to number our days is, that we may get a heart of wisdom. Maybe a heart of wisdom is needed to help us know how to live out our remaining days. If we knew when we were going to die it would greatly influence our behavior and choices. We need to get a heart of wisdom so we will know how to live and live as if we know when our last breath will be.
How do we get a heart of wisdom? Well, we begin by asking. James wrote, If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. (James 1:5 ESV) The psalmist also gave us insight into obtaining wisdom. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever! (Psalm 111:10 ESV) We cannot gain true wisdom without the fear of the Lord.
The fear of the Lord sets the standard of how we should number or live out our days. Here’s why. The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil (Proverbs 8:13), and a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death (Proverbs 14:27). By the fear of the Lord one turns away from evil (Proverbs 16:6). Aren’t those good ways to live out our days, hating and turning away from evil?
What does a heart of wisdom look like? James answers that question this way: But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. (James 3:17 ESV) So, it would seem that James is describing the character traits that will be evident in the lives of people who are seeking to gain a heart of wisdom.
These character traits are only gained by the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of a person who has come to know Christ. It is through the Lord Jesus Christ that the wisdom of God has been made available to us. Paul wrote, And because of him [God] you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption. (1 Corinthians 1:30 ESV)
Have you taken the time to weigh out your days? Are you seeking a heart of wisdom? Do you know Christ?
Scriptures for meditation:
Proverbs 9:10; 15:33
1 Corinthians 1:24