By Charles W. Wages
“So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12)
Much is being said and written about accountability in every medium of communication today. It means different things to different people, but what place does it have in the life of a believer in Christ? God is not particularly interested in the counting of our days as He is in our being accountable for our words and deeds. Most of us are not really serious about the day by day business of living for the Lord.
The Psalmist spoke of “spending our years as a tale that is told” (verse 9). It appears that he was pointing up the fact that life is often taken lightly or as fiction instead of fact. Some people go through life in a “make-believe” world like Cinderella or Snow White. Others follow the view of “eat, drink, and be merry,” never thinking that they really will die in time.
To “number” our days simply means to make our time count for the Lord as we realize that we are accountable to God. We must realize that the quality of our days is more important than the quantity of our days. If we are not careful we are in danger of letting our lives gradually slip away without accomplishing God’s “ordained good works.” The captain of a ship often does not realize that an anchor is slowly slipping until it is too late.
Oftentimes we become too familiar with important things, and we fail to see the real reasons for them. The story is told of a man in a restaurant who called the waiter and said, “I cannot eat this soup.” The waiter became alarmed, thinking something was wrong with the soup. He called the manager, who in turn called the chef from the kitchen. They all asked in chorus, “Why can’t you eat the soup?” the man replied, “I don’t have a spoon.”
We might well ask, what is the purpose in numbering our days? The answer is quickly forthcoming from God—”that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”
God’s ancient people used to say, “that we may bring home a heart of wisdom.” This can often be accomplished by not rushing through life. I read not long ago of a man who waited two weeks in line to watch men travel at 140 m.p.h. in cars. In reverse, an old military expression used to read, “hurry up and wait.” It is wonderful to see and feel God work every day. That most beautiful passage in Lamentations 3:22-26 is always appropriate.
“It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; Therefore will I hope in him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for Him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.”
It is very instructive to see that when the children of Israel were in the wilderness, God only gave them bread enough for a day at a time (Exodus 16:4). Not only did this allow them to know that God was the giver of every good gift, but served as a test of their dependence on the One that delivered them. This dependence required their faith in God to be exercised every day. It also gave them a means or source of continual rejoicing. It is a wonderful and exhilarating feeling to see God work in the fulfilling of our needs. The Lord led Paul to say,
“But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:19)
We must understand that God supplies our needs not only for us to rejoice, but that we may be able to serve Him. The provision of God should not be used to satiate the flesh or even satisfy a spiritual longing, but rather to bring glory to His name.
In closing, it must be seen that we need to be taught how to “number” our days. In order for this to be accomplished we must feed upon Christ and His Word every day. The most responsible or accountable persons are those who look to God for their strength (Phil. 4:13) through food He supplies, continually rejoice in His bountiful provisions, and “apply their hearts unto wisdom.” May we all be diligent to follow and apply these fundamental principles in our own lives.