ESV - 12 So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.
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The context of this verse is a plea by Moses for God to remind us how short life is and how much we need God to teach us to spend our time wisely. God exists outside of time (v2: from everlasting to everlasting you are God) and is not affected by time (v4: a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by). Human life is relatively short (v10: our days may come to seventy years, or eighty if our strength endures) and really short in God's sight (v5-6 we are like the new grass of the morning, it springs up new but by evening it is dry and withered. So how will we spend this human life? Moses laments that his people suffered God's wrath (v9,11), anger (v7,11), and indignation (v7) because of their iniquities and secret sins (v8). Moses is pleading for God to teach his people so they would have wisdom (v12) and have compassion on them (v13) so they would experience God's unfailing love (v14) and sing for joy (v14). He is pleading for God to make his people glad for as many days as he has afflicted them, for as many years as they have seen trouble (v14,15). He longs for God's favor to rest upon his people and establish the work of their hands (v17). This lament is an important warning for us. Will we spend our human lives indulging our sinful desires and then suffer God's discipline until we repent or will we engage wholeheartedly in the plan and purpose of God for our lives. God has equipped us for the good works he wants us to complete in this lifetime (Eph 2:10) and his will for our lives is good, pleasing and perfectly suited for each one of us (Rom 12:2). Jesus, too, warned us not to waste the time we have. "The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard" (Matt 20), "The Parable of the Tenants" (Matt 21), and "The Parable of the Wedding Banquet" (Matt 22) teach us something about how we are to spend our time in a God honouring way. Then Jesus really hits the nail on the head with his prophecy of the signs of the end times in Matthew 24. He makes it crystal clear that: 1) we are to watch out that know one deceives us (this includes chasing the things of this world), 2) we will be hated by all nations because of Jesus (are we offending anyone with the message of Jesus), 3) the love of most people will grow cold (do we love the lost enough to tell them the good news), 4) we who stand firm to the end will be saved (we stand firm by exercising our faith and following Jesus ministry), 5) false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive (are we in awe of the technology that controls our lives), 6) people will be eating, drinking and getting married just like the days of the flood of Noah (are we caught up in the things of this world and missing God's will for us) 7) will we keep watch because we don't know on what day our Lord will come (could it be today) 8) so we also must be ready because Jesus will come when you don't expect him (will we be caught off guard) 9) who is the faithful and wise servant whom the master has put in charge of the servants to give them their food at the proper time - it will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns (will we be the faithful and wise servants). Today is the day to fulfill the will of God, to complete the good works that God has already prepared for our lives. Let's not delay for Jesus may come at any time.
1. Appreciate each and every moment of our short lives (the shortness of our days; that they are but as a shadow) so as to be wise. 2. Recall that some days in our past have been wasted so be warned there's no repeat of these. 3. Be aware that what we do today must certainly have a bearing, good or bad, on our future. I.e. when we have taken advantage of the acceptable time to be saved, or whether we have done the will of the flesh. 4. Realize that we may not have much time left (not just my case (I'm a senior), but for anyone. Then we will more likely do something that lasts for eternity, doing all the good we can to as many people as we can. 5. Pray, "God, teach us to number our days, as if the present one was the last; for we cannot boast of tomorrow; we know not but this day, or night, our souls may be required of us. 6. Know that this day is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. 7. Be cognizant of the fact that this day that we have (we actually have only this day, really) is a gift of the Father of lights, part of his "every good and perfect gift." 8. Live each day with eternity's values in view by meditating on the heavenly joys awaiting all and only Christians. 9. Don't be earthly-minded. Be heavenly-minded so you can be some earthly good! 10. Recall that what others do with their days, even what other Christians do, may have a bearing on you, e.g. the incident of the spies being sent into Canaan and the following action. "The older generation that came out of Egypt fell a prey to the sentence of punishment, that they should gradually die off during the forty years' journey through the desert; and even Moses and Aaron, Joshua and Caleb only excepted, were included in this punishment on special grounds, Numbers 14:26., Deuteronomy 1:34-39. This it is over which Moses here laments."
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