So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.…
That cannot mean merely counting them. Whether they are to be few or many we know not. The rich and self-centred farmer thought he could count his days, "Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years" But the truth was that for him there was not even a "tomorrow." "This night thy soul shall be required of thee." We can value, estimate, appraise our days. We can realize their responsibilities, their work, their possibilities, their issues. When should the numbering work be done? Will it do to leave it until we are on the threshold of eternity? In this matter "now is the accepted time." Number them as you number the days of a holiday time, so that you may crowd every day with the best and worthiest things. Number them aright, and you will not fail to ask grace of God, saying, "So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom."
I. Days, to be well numbered, must be ESTIMATED IN THE LIGHT OF ETERNITY. How changed a thing life would become to us if there were no eternity! Compare two lives, one without, and one with, the thought of eternity.
1. Days may seem many; they are really but few. Seventy years is but a little while to look back on. See striking Bible figures of our life - weaver's shuttle; passing shadow; shepherd's tent; breath of mouth in winter. The generations are like the changing sentinel watch in the night.
2. Days may seem to go slowly; they really hurry by. "Thou carriest them away as with a flood." Swifter than the post.
3. Days may seem to be made up of little things; really there is nothing little; because everything has its bearing on the future, on character; and everything has eternal issues. It is a cause with a consequence. A little pebble may make ripples that shall never die away.
II. Days well numbered will not allow THE PUTTING OFF OF DUTY. Every day has its work. There is no possible overtaking the ends of life, save in daily faithfulness. If we are faithful every day, life cannot be unfinished. A faithful man can be stopped at any time. He wants no time in which to get himself ready.
III. Days well numbered must seem TOO SOLEMN FOR UNAIDED SELF-EXERTION. The man who rightly values them will tremble to step on them alone. Even the lesser claims of life overwhelm a thoughtful spirit. We all fail to be what we desire to be, even in common life. Much more the higher. We have a soul to save, a crown to win; and there should be jewels in the crown. Can we do it alone? - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.