So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.…
(to children): —
I. WHAT IT IS TO NUMBER OUR DAYS.
1. To find out the number of them. You cannot hope to live above seventy; it is an even chance whether you live to be thirty; and you are not sure that you will live a day.
2. To consider the kind of them. They have all been days of blessing — yet all of sin. Still God has spared you, and all His gifts continue with you.
II. FOR WHAT PURPOSE WE ARE TO NUMBER OUR DAYS.
1. So as to be ready for the last one when it comes. What is the preparation needed? To be in Christ, and so escape condemnation in the judgment (Romans 8:1). To be like Christ, and so fit for the pure joys and company of heaven (1 John 3:2). To be each of these things now, as our last day may come at any time (Matthew 24:44).
2. So as to use them to the best advantage. Time given to sin is wasted and something worse. You must not only be doing, but doing good. Cultivating the garden of life. Digging out the weeds, and digging in the flowers and useful herbs (Ephesians 4:22). Cultivating the garden of your neighbour also. Helping the sinful out of sin, the suffering out of sickness, the sorrowful out of grief (1 John 3:17; Romans 9:1-3; 2 Corinthians 1:4).
3. So as to make up for lost days. Time is a river, and runs only once under the bridge of life. Still lost time may be made up for a little by working extra in the time that remains. The train behind time makes up for it by putting on extra speed. You may do the same. In one hour get through the work of two.
III. HOW WE ARE TO LEARN TO NUMBER OUR DAYS ARIGHT. "So teach us," etc. The text is a prayer. Moses could not number his days profitably. But God could teach him, and he cries to be taught. You cannot begin all this too soon. The Inquisition tortured its victims by putting them in a cell which gradually contracted till at last it crushed them to death. So life — large and roomy-looking in youth — gets narrower year by year, till at last we are pressed in the arms of death. Therefore begin early.
(J. E. Henry, M.A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.