Summary: Are we aware there are only 343 days left of this new year, 2023? Are we living them with abundant, everlasting, satisfying joy; avoiding painful regret like that of a faithless generation led by Moses?
In this oldest psalm, Moses recorded two observations in his prayer.
- Human Life Is Brief. Mortals are insignificant and forgotten. In a lifespan of 70-80 years, we come and go like desert grass that fade and wither. When compared to God, for whom a thousand years are like yesterday, the brevity of human life is like a four-hour-shift watch in the night – and then we are turned back to dust. (vv3-6)
- Human Strength is Frail. God’s wandering people were daily reminded they were stiff-necked – disobedient and disqualified from entering His promised rest. Like Israel in the wilderness, we are ever mindful that our iniquities and secret sins are before God. We are subject to His wrath and judgment, and all our days are but toil and trouble. (vv8-10) We despair in the face of hardship and failure. Who knows what will be, how long a situation will last, except on hindsight. We are not in control. (v13)
The man of God concluded with this advice: Teach us to count our days that we may gain a wise heart. (v12) Moses recognised that God had been His people’s dwelling place – their refuge, security, and rest for generations – from the days of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. (v1, 5-6) Do we recognise that unless we number our days, our lives do not amount to much apart from our everlasting Creator?
Through Moses, God promises us today that despite days of toil and trouble,
a) He who dwells in the LORD shall rejoice and be glad all his days. (v13) He shall experience the compassion and steadfast love of God which satisfies beyond anything this world has to offer. When facing significant circumstances, the one who abides in Christ can thankfully say, “It is a good day in the LORD.” Armed with spiritual disciplines e.g., daily reflecting and journaling, that person rejoices to discover God’s goodness revealed through answered prayers, divine deliverance, comfort, and intervention.
b) Days of joy exceed days of pain. God helps us overcome the consequences of our fallen nature so that we emerge more gracious, pleasant and caring towards others. “Make us glad as many days as You have afflicted us, and as many years as we have seen evil,” (v15) for “our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Corinthians 4:17) Meeting God each day hugely impacts our attitude with gratitude. Forsaking wayward wanderings for permanent dwelling in Christ, we receive wisdom from God and victory over struggles so that our days are joyful.
c) God can make our days count. Despite life’s brevity and frail strength, God prospers the work of our hands with His favour when we align our lives to His purpose and will. (vv16-17) Jesus came to die and redeem us from our wrong choices and sins. He gives us new life, destiny and hope as we worship and serve Him. So, let us not hold back but throw ourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing we do for Him is a waste of time and effort. (1 Corinthians 15:58)
Make God our restful dwelling for the next 343 days and beyond! Whether in wilderness, or when feeling condemned and weary, we gain a wise heart by numbering our days and according fear to the LORD as our refuge, rest, strength and hope. When God is our dwelling place, He reigns central in our home; we depend on Him for safety, and His will becomes our goal. “O God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come; be thou our guide while life shall last, and our eternal home.” (Isaac Watts)
PONDER | REFLECTION QUESTIONS
- What event(s) in the last year reminds you of the brevity & frailty of human life?
- What steps have you taken that God may become the dwelling place for your life.
- How can the next 343 days make a difference & fulfill the prayer of vs.12-17?