Psalm 90:12-17 - So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Return, O Lord! How long? Have pity on Your servants! Satisfy us in the morning with Your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. Make us glad for as many days as You have afflicted us, and for as many years as we have seen evil. Let Your work be shown to Your servants, and Your glorious power to their children. Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!
Learning to number our days may seem like a strange path to wisdom, but I once heard a preacher say that keeping the reality of death in front of us brings us closer to the true meaning of life.
As the author of Psalm 90, Moses considered this sentiment not just good for pondering, but ideal for contemplation at the center of communal worship. Psalm 90 begins a section of the Psalms that has traditionally been used for liturgical worship. Yet, instead of inspiring us with positivity, this Psalm invites a sobriety which brings all of life into sharper focus.
I remember as a young girl after losing my mother to cancer, the sense of clarity and urgency I gained about relationships. Facing my mother's death head on, I didn't want to waste time on things that had little to no significance anymore. Of course, each of us discerns differently what parts of life are most important, but when we listen closely to the psalmist's sober petition, we hear two main themes:
1) Intimacy - "Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us."
2) Impact - "and establish the work of our hands."
When our days are numbered, instinctively the things that matter most rise to the surface. If you knew your own "expiration date," how might you prioritize your life in a radical, new way? Are there areas of relational intimacy you would like to see mended before it's too late? How about the work of your hands -- have you made the impact you hoped to make in the world?
Allowing this Psalm to guide our worship gives us opportunity -- with sober contemplation of our own mortality -- to offer Jesus the deepest desires of our hearts. When we recognize by God's grace that we are redeemed by His sacrificial love for the fullest life now and through eternity, we are compelled to give our lives to Him.
And in so doing we refocus on what is most important and meaningful in this life we've each been given.
THE PRAYER: Dear Jesus, what a precious gift that You laid down Your life for us. Please give us courage to move in the directions You have placed on our hearts now. Grant that our lives would not be wasted, but that Your glory would be evident in the way we live, love, and work, each and every day. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by AmyRuth Bartlett.
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