This sermon series is about the Psalms – the songbook or playlist of the ancient people. Knowing our location in life, in every way, is incredibly important. The Psalms locate God and us. They show us where we feel dislocated in life and how we can be relocated to a place of truth that reflects God’s way and His heart.
Think of the minutes and the moments of our lives. Where is our time located?
Time is the great equalizer. It doesn’t matter whether you’re rich or poor, where you come from, or where you live. We all have a fixed amount of time.
Ever heard of the phrase, “time is money?” Like time, money is limited. But unlike money, you can’t make more time. You can’t work harder. You can’t borrow time or go into debt for more time.
When we’re young, we trade our time (our lives) for more resources. When we’re old, we trade our resources for more time (life).
Unlike money, most of us rarely think about how much time we have and even how we spend it…
…until we hit a speed bump…
And we’re faced with our own mortality or that of someone close to us.
Moses was known as the one who led the Israelites out of Egypt. But he actually lived 4 lives.
Interesting life. What a perspective on time and the seasons of life.
Talking about the nation and people of Israel – God has been the foundation and context of everything. Before the mountains were even born, that’s a cool image. God was before the things we look at and can’t imagine when they weren’t there.
There’s another part to it.
He’s even more permanent. And He’s above and beyond them.
From everlasting is like saying, “God, you know the arrows go in both directions. We’re in the middle, a blip in time. We had a start date, and we’ll have an end date. But you don’t.” So then he makes this dramatic statement.
Sort of like Gandalf, “You shall not pass!” This is hard for us because it exposes just how out of control we are. Does God just know how long we’ll live, or does He decide? We aren’t sure, but we know we don’t control that.
Most of us believe, even if we’re not Christians, that God has something to do with the length of our lives. What happens if you don’t acknowledge God when you or a loved one is faced with a health scare? You pray. You ask for prayer.
As we get older, we feel like the seasons are flying by. Imagine how it is for God.
Have you ever pulled weeds in the morning, and by the time you come back a few hours later, they’re wilted? He’s saying our lives are like that. First, we see a baby born, then in the blink of an eye, they’re in school, driving, and off to college. It’s fast for us, but it’s even faster for God.
But even when we see the tremendous goodness of life, we are also aware of the struggle. Moses is saying, "I get it. I grew up the golden boy and then spent 40 years tending sheep, thinking that was it. Then things pick up, and we're back in the driver's seat, only to get inches from the finish without crossing the line."
He’s saying, “Don’t lose faith just because you’re dwarfed by the magnitude of the universe and the magnitude of God, and you feel small, and life feels confusing. But look at your years and cherish your days.”
They quickly pass, and we fly away.
This is a tricky verse to translate. But here’s the essence of what it means:
When you recognize that you have a limited resource, you are careful with it. The result of doing this is that we may gain a heart of wisdom. And when we do this, it changes our perspective.
See how Moses ends:
The “work of our hands” here is not our great accomplishments. It’s the day-in, day-out. What we do every day. So when we number our days before God, we can trust that His favor rests on us and that He’s the author, the source of what seems routine, unglamorous, and unimpressive.
So think of these questions as you reflect.
The older we get, the more responsibility we carry, and the more impressed we become with these sidebar comments in the Gospels, where Jesus slips off to a lonely place to pray. Really? With all He had going on?
Here’s the trick. We can’t increase something without decreasing something else. If this were easy, we’d all do it.
What do we need to add or remove? Increase or decrease?
Start by praying the verse as a prayer, “Teach me to number my days that I may gain a heart of wisdom.”
When we were kids, our parents would take us to the store and give us money to spend on one item. It took forever to decide. Why? We were so careful because we wanted to get the most out of our limited resources.
When we truly look at our time – our days – as a limited resource, we will become much more careful with how, where, and on what we spend them.
We'll spend them in the places that matter, where a return is produced. Whether that’s people, relationships, serving, giving of us in the right ways, or making an impact that matters.
Teach us, Lord, to number our days so that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
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