"Teach us to number our days..."

Glenn Addington By Glenn Addington, 1st Jul 2018 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Religion

A challenge to give serious, intelligent thought to our limited time here on earth.

Why did the Psalmist make the request, "Teach us to number our days..."?

When we are young, we often have an indomitable spirit – a dare-devil attitude. Our youth and strength allow us to take on the challenges that come our way. Things that may seem crazy to our parents or those in older generations we are quick to pursue, oftentimes simply for the thrill of it.
A poster showing teenagers spoke a cautionary word to them..., but at the bottom there was the statement, "but you don't understand..., we're going to live forever."

As the years and decades go by...

When we’ve come to our final days, we may look back with regret. I remember encouraging my children to consider carefully their plans and decisions. I said to them, “As you look back on life during your greying years, I want you to be able to say, “I’m glad that I…,” instead of, “I wish I had….,.” Often times, we see posters or even funny greeting cards that remind us of the changes that occur to us as the decades and years go by. One one-liner stated, "Middle age is when the broad mind and narrow waist change places." From a cartoon show years ago, I heard two statements placed back to back. The first was, "Time heals all wounds." It was followed by the statement, "Time wounds all heels", which might be summed up with the idea that the bad we do will eventually come back around to us.
Hopefully, wisdom and discernment come with age.

Back to the original question...

But back to the Psalmist and his statement. The translations differ on the last part of this verse. The New Living Testament ends with the words, “…so that we might grow in wisdom.” Two others end the verse with the words, “… that we might get a heart of wisdom.” The New American Standard Version ends the verse with these words: “that we might present to You a heart of wisdom.” While all three might hint at serious thinking about our mortality, only the New American Standard addresses the idea of facing God at the end of our lives, and that His assessment of our heart will take place – with the desire being that ours will be judged as being one noted for our wisdom. A Hebrew/English Interlinear Bible translates this latter portion: “…that we may bring a heart of wisdom.” The obvious question would be, ‘to whom?’ So the New American Standard’s translation may be a rhetorical response, since God is the logical one to whom presentation is made. And since Hebrews 9:27 informs us that it is appointed for man to die once, and then comes the judgment, it should be our determination to strive to develop the heart of wisdom spoken of, one which will be found pleasing to God when we are required to stand before Him.
Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Version or the English Standard Version. Your comments are welcomed. Click on the line beneath my picture at the beginning of this article to see a list of the rest of my articles. Thank you!


Mortality, Wisdom

Meet the author

author avatar Glenn Addington
I am an American, former Viet Nam veteran, and a Christian, living in East Tennessee. I am now retired and am pursuing a writing career. I would welcome writing assignments.

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