The ESV says: So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom, most folks just sort of shorted it to ‘Life is short so live wisely.’
Unfortunately that does not really take into context the whole Psalm. First it is a Psalm of Moses, and more than just life is short (v.2,3,4,10,12,14) it has two other themes of note: God’s Eternal Greatness (v.1-17) and Mans Frailty (v.3,5,7,11,).
So teach us – Who do you rely upon for wisdom? Is it your friends, family, Pastor? While the Bible certainly encourages us to seek wise counsel, it also makes it abundantly clear that the best advice comes directly from God.
to number our days, – One plus one equals, Math is not really what Moses or God is speaking of here. Neither is the subject matter just an accounting of all we accomplish on a daily basis or plan to accomplish (we know not when God will call us home).
Moses under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit is saying count each day as your last, (our days are certainly numbers v.3) make each worthy, make it count for something towards the Kingdom of God and His Glory.
that we may apply – The bible says Jeremiah 17:9 (ESV)The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? Man cannot on his own apply the things of God to himself. Man is weak and Frail in his natural state and only with God’s help can he apply…
our hearts unto wisdom. – As John Gills commentary says:
“to seek the way of salvation by Christ – to seek to Christ, the wisdom of God, (for it to fear the Lord, which is the beginning of wisdom) and to walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise…For unless a man is taught of God, and by his Spirit convinced of sin, righteousness, and judgment, he will never be concerned, in good earnest, about a future state. Nor inquire the way of salvation, nor heartily apply to Christ for it: he may number his days, and consider the shortness of them, and apply his heart to folly, and not wisdom.”
Having survived over 6 decades now I am realizing that there are advantages and disadvantages to prolonged life. The older I get the more knowledge I am able to gain; I love to study especially God’s word. At the same time the older I get the more forgetful and absent minded I get especially it seems with remembering Bible verses.
Also unlike some, I came to saving Grace later in life and I find that my momentary lapses, frailty of human nature surfacing, are usually caused by my failure to prepare each day by asking God to ‘teach me to number this day and apply His wisdom to my heart.’
How are you beginning each day as a frail loner or entrenched with the Wisdom of God in your heart?