We surely have to deal with a lot numberings these days. For instance, we have to know our credit card numbers, bank account numbers, and security numbers. Of course, there is the all-important cell phone number. It amuses me that many cell phone users may know the numbers of people they have assigned to their contacts list. But, they do not know their own number because they never call themselves, they say.
Sometimes, we have to record numbers so we have reference to them. Some numbers are conveniently memorized. Times are that when we do not have our needed numbers at hand, we lose an important asset for verifying who we are and for what we are seeking. Without a correct defining of numbers associated with us, other identifying references are not acceptable.
While we may feel a bit inadequate to deal with all the numberings required of us these days, allow me to add to the load with reference to a most important numbering to consider. And, it comes from the Word of God.
One of the Psalmists cited a certain prayer ascribed to Moses, who wrote, “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.” Actually, this amounts to a prayer request to God. We all are encouraged to purposely ask God for a divine understanding concerning the length of our days.
Why is it so important to be concerned with a numbering of how long we may live when, generally, we do not know exactly how many days are in store for us to live anyway? There are some possibilities to meditate on that we may “apply our hearts unto wisdom.”
First, to consider that we learn about the numbering of our days places a respectful value on the life we have been given to live. This life is supremely valuable because it comes from God. Many people do not have respect for the life and living God gives, which is unfortunate. Some people complain incessantly about themselves and others for having to live it. But, asking God to give us an understanding that our days are numbered leads us to have a necessary respect for the existence of and length of our life.
Second, asking to be taught what is the numbering of our days respects the fact that God in His eternal wisdom has willed it to be brief. The “seventy to eighty years” cited by the Bible are certainly a brief span compared to the extent of eternity in which we will eventually exist.
Our life length is also Scripturally relegated to being nothing more than a “vapor” as well. And, according to Moses, our life “is soon cut off, and we fly away.” What the concept of brevity does is that it impresses us to have a qualitative perspective of our life. In other words, if it is brief, then we should make the most of our days, which leads us to understand another point of being taught to number our days.
It is found in the fact that God has also, according to His eternal wisdom, willed that our lives be effective. Are you aware of what effective living actually entails? Are you aware of what is actually the main purpose for our living? According to Scripture, the bottom line purpose of our lives is to bring God honor and glory. That being true, it is wrong for us to emphasize our living with just our selves at the core of our life’s focus.
Now, what would be the result if every one ascribed to and practiced that Bible-based truth? Would not, then, every life matter to every life? Would not wars cease? Would not selfishness and greed be eliminated? Would there not be peace to replace the trouble that plagues our world? For, you see, when God is prioritized, things change for the good. When God is prioritized, the presence of evil dwindles.
Ultimately, it would be to a distinctive advantage for us all if we put this numbering of days at the top of our numberings. As the Scripture indicates, we would be wiser if we did: “that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.”
The Rev. Ron Branch is pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va.