“LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am (or what time I have here).” (Psalms 39:4)
Why did the Psalmist pray this prayer? Why is knowing your end important?
When one faces a New Year, there are many questions that fill one’s spirit, such as: “Will this be my year to strike it rich?” “Will we be able to get the new house, new car, etc.?” The list is endless. However, it seems that most people are concerned with the physical or the earthly things such as fame, wealth, and position; as the above questions indicate. But, not many are concerned with their end; or how many days are left in their life.
Many would ask, why should we think of the number of our days, for that is depressing. However, men should not live as if they will live forever. Men should take note that all men will have to experience physical death.
(Hebrews 9:27) “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.”
The Apostle Paul said that death will not be by-passed by any.
The problem is that no man knows how many days until his death. Not knowing how many days a man has should cause him to be ready to face God in the Judgment. He should be concerned with his spiritual position in Christ more than any earthly attainment, which will only last for a season. Whereas the man in Christ is a possessor of Eternal Life in Christ, who is Eternal Life Himself (1 John 5:20); and this position will last for all eternity.
The writer of Psalm 90:12 gives us the reason for numbering our days, “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” The Psalmist was instructing the saint (the saved man) to pray that God teach him, not to know the exact number of days, but teach him to consider that he only has a certain number of days. Therefore, to teach him:
- To consider that his days may be few; and ever how many they be, they will pass as a weaver’s shuttle (very rapidly, fast);
- To determine not to waste one second; don’t be idle, but be diligent in the things of God;
- To understand when each day is past, there is no bringing it back to do it over; realizing there is no reliving the day, for it is gone forever;
- To decide that every new day is a day of opportunity to follow God;
- That the new day given you when you awake is a day the Lord has made for you, therefore, “…we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalms 118:24).
The reason is in the “b” part of Psalm 90:12, “…that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” That is, to follow or seek after Christ, who is the Wisdom of God (Psalms 111:10; Proverbs 8:12a; 9:10; 1 Corinthians 1:24, 30). The Psalmist was asking God to teach him to measure his days, to know there is an end to his days on earth. Why is this important to you? So as to:
- Develop your inner man (your spirit), your soul (the seat of your emotions), and your body, to be holy and blameless before God and man (1 Thessalonians 5:23). This is done by feeding upon the Word of God (2 Timothy 2:15), and upon the Living Word (John 6:46-69); and by yielding your body and spirit to God daily (or by surrender and submission to God as Christ and Lord). (See Romans 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; 9:24-27; 2 Corinthians 6:14-18; 10:3-5.)
- Obey the Word of God; not a hearer only, but a doer of the Word of God (James 1:21-25; 2:14-26); to do this you must choose Christ and reject the ways of the world (Luke 14:26-33).
- Determine to endure unto the end as a faithful servant of Jesus Christ. Knowing that His Grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9). Knowing that it will be by His Purpose (Philippians 2:13). Knowing it will be accomplished by His Power (Philippians 4:13, 19); that will allow you to endure to the end.
Therefore, to answer the initial two questions in this devotion, Solomon wrote:
(Ecclesiastes 7:8a) “Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof…” (That is, if you apply your heart to Wisdom (or to Christ).)
(Ecclesiastes 7:19) “Wisdom strengtheneth the wise more than ten mighty men which are in the city.”
(Ecclesiastes 9:16) “Then said I, Wisdom is better than strength: nevertheless the poor man’s wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard.”
(Ecclesiastes 9:18) “Wisdom is better than weapons of war: but one sinner destroyeth much good.”
(Proverbs 3:13) “Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.”
(Proverbs 8:11) “For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.”
(Proverbs 16:16) “How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!”
These are our goals as children of God:
- That the end of our spiritual life will be better than the beginning.
- That we will come from babyhood in Christ to a mature saint of God; by the increase of the knowledge of our God, even our Savior Jesus Christ; that we have borne fruit, much fruit, and more fruit; and that fruit remain (John 15:1-16).
- That we have come to separate from “this wicked world” in body and spirit; and have joined Christ in a walk of love, holiness, and peace.
- That we may know we are One with Him in Knowledge (in Preeminence, Perfection, and Perception) and One with Him in Love (in Power and Performance) (John 17:21-24).
- That when the journey is over we will hear His words:“…Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” (Matthew 25:21)
- That when death encompasses us and we immediately find our spirit in God’s Presence (Ecclesiastes 12:7), we will not “suffer loss”; for see Ecclesiastes 12:13-14:“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.”
(Also read 2 Corinthians 5:1-11.) You will receive the fulness of the Inheritance in Christ Jesus, the fulness of the Crown of Life; for you will be in the very presence of the Lamb of God forever and ever as His wife. You will drink out of the River of Love that flows from the Throne of God in fulness when you are in eternity with Him forever and ever.
Yes, dear Reader, consider your end; ask God to teach you to measure your days and to apply your heart to wisdom; and then the end will be better than the beginning. Hallelujah!
(This is a re-post from January 29, 2013.)