So teach us to number our days,
That we may gain a heart of wisdom. (Psalm 90:12)
It is important to know that learning to number our days is essential in order to gain a heart of wisdom. Learning to number precedes wisdom. Fear of God is essential in order to rightly redeem our time.
This psalm is written by Moses, God's servant, at an age somewhere between 90-100 or beyond perhaps. He is really old. But, great men of God have often written great hymns, and this is one. We still sing those great hymns by the Wesleys, Luther, and others. We know that even Jesus sang hymns, He sang in Gathsamane. The angels sing praises to God in heaven. Singing is not something one should feel ashamed or too reserved about. It is a great way to glorify the Lord and also to remind ourselves of His attributes and His great works.
A bit of background about Moses: He had to run away from the glorious and glittering Egypt at the height of its civilization. Hebrews 11 tells us that he considered suffering for Christ better than the life in the palaces. Now, he's out in the wilderness with obviously no hope and no way ahead. All his education and training in Egypt were left behind, and would not work as much for the wilderness. He was 40 then.
He finally reached Midian, and we know of how he met Jethro, married Zipporah, and became a shepherd who tended sheep. This continued for years. One day, when he was 80, the Lord appeared and called him to go and bring his people from Egypt. That sounds interesting for a person at the age of 80. I wonder if Moses had submitted a resume, what it would look like. A rugged shepherd, who knew very less anymore of the outside world than the few sheep that he kept. Now, God is calling him to lead a great multitude to the Promised Land. Also, he wasn't any orator now; what would oratory matter in the wilderness among sheep. But, God doesn't look for qualifications before he calls someone. On the contrary, the Lord calls first and qualifies the one He has called later. He equips whom He calls. It's by His grace.
We learn a number of things here.
1. We shouldn't give up hope saying that it's all over or it's too late, at any time.
God called Moses when he was 80. Life was not over for him then; it was the beginning. Sadly, many young people conclude at a very young age believing that it's all over. It is the devil who comes to steal, to kill, and to destroy. Jesus came to give us life and life more abundantly (John 10:10). It's never too late for God. Let's learn to watch for His time and redeem "today" for His glory.
Remember the parable of Jesus where he mentions a man going out to hire people at various times. Some he hired in the morning, some in the noon, and some close to evening. Yet, they were all paid equally. It's His grace and not our ability. But, we must be available always for the Lord.
2. We shouldn't restrict God to a time-frame.
Moses sings that a thousand years are like a yesterday that is past in God's sight (Ps.90:4). God can do more in a second than all man has done in centuries together. Jesus ministered for only 3.5 years. Yet, John says what He did couldn't be summed up in all the books put together. Someone mentioned that all days of activity put together in the Gospels amount to some 21 days. We sure don't know many other things that the Lord did in those few years. They are innumerable. God is not restricted by time.
Sometimes, it may seem things are rewardless; but, God views things differently. The apostle James, for instance, died first among the disciples, being beheaded very early by Herod. Was his life and all those years of training with Jesus useless? Absolutely not. God's servant has his time-frame ordained by God in His kingdom. He lives or dies according to God's will. Jeremiah preached for several years and no one repented; but Jonah preached only some 3 days and got over 1 lakh turned away from their sins. Was Jeremiah a failure and Jonah successful? Of course not. All this is part of the work of the Kingdom, and God is in control. But, a person who seeks God's Kingdom and His will above everything else will obtain an ever enduring reward.
Let's wait on His will to manifest and be obedient to His leading.
3. Investment in God's work has eternal rewards.
"Even if one offers a cup of water in my Name," said Jesus, "he will not lose his reward." We should make best use of our time by investing eternally. I heard of a woman who ran three shops; by one she managed her family, and by the other two she supported missions. She had 5 boys and she sent them all out to be missionaries, and supported them in the mission field as well.
Let's learn to number our days in order to know God's will and follow it. Let's not just drift with the current of the world. Let's do something for the Kingdom. Let's pray, plan, and move forward. Let's not just be hearers but doers of the Word.