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“Teach us to Number Our Days”
How quickly the time passes! How rapidly things in this world change! Here is a prayer I find in my heart almost unceasingly. It is a prayer that weighs more heavily upon my soul with every passing year. — “So teach me to number my days, that I may apply my heart unto wisdom.” Of all mathematical problems, this is the most difficult. Men can number their herds and their flocks. They can estimate the revenues of their farms and businesses with relative ease. We can count our cash, balance our checkbooks, and calculate what our retirement income should be.
Yet, mortal man foolishly imagines that he is immortal. Most are persuaded that their days are innumerable. Therefore, they do not number them. We look at a strong young man, one who watches his diet, exercises regularly, and seems to sparkle with life, and say, “He has a long life ahead of him.” And we look at an old woman, weak, worn, wrinkled, and ever weary, and say, “She will not be with us very long. Her days are few.” Thus, we imagine that we can number the days of others; but few will number his own days. What folly! It is evident that the great thing needed to persuade us to prepare for eternity is the persuasion of our own mortality and the brevity of our lives in this world. We will not apply our hearts unto wisdom until we are brought to the numbering of our days. Yet, none will number his days and apply his heart unto wisdom until he is taught of God to do so. Thus, Moses prayed, “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”
As we reflect upon the brevity of time, we ought to be persuaded to set our thoughts upon things that are eternal. As we look into the grave, which must soon be our bed, we ought to be humbled and made to know how frail we are. But we are not wise. Only the grace of God will cause a mortal man to number his days and apply his heart unto wisdom. Let this, then, be your prayer and mine, as we stand here, at the close of the year and look forward toward the dawn of the new year tomorrow. — “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” A sense of mortality ought to make us wise and cause us to apply our hearts unto wisdom.
Christ is the Wisdom to which we must apply our hearts. He is that Wisdom that is “better than rubies,” to which nothing that can be desired may be compared (Proverbs 8:11). He was made of God unto us Wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:30) and stood as our Wisdom “from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was” (Proverbs 8:23-24). From old eternity his delights were with us, and are with us still (Proverbs 8:30-31; Hebrews 13:8).
O my heart, make Christ your delight! Blessed Holy Spirit, graciously, effectually, and constantly set my heart upon my Savior! Ever cause me to apply my heart to Christ, setting my affection upon him who loved me and gave himself for me! Set my heart upon his blood and righteousness, his love and mercy, his goodness and grace. Set my heart upon his fullness and his forgiveness, upon his will and his glory. Oh, set my heart upon Christ, upon heaven, upon eternity, that I might live only unto him all the days of my life!