Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Number My Days

This semester my ladies' Bible study group is doing a study called Replenish, on the book of Psalms. It has definitely been living up to its name. So far we've studied psalms of worship (Psalm 29), intimacy (Psalm 139, my favorite!), hope (Psalm 42), and celebration (Psalm 90).

This week's lesson on Psalm 90 both sobered and thrilled me. This psalm, which is the oldest psalm and the only one written by Moses, contrasted God's eternal nature with the brevity of human life:
Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.... For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night. You sweep men away in the sleep of death; they are like the new grass of the morning--though in the morning it springs up new, by evening it is dry and withered. (Psalm 90:2, 5-6)
When I first I read this, I felt so insignificant, like dust or a wisp of smoke. As I read on, I was challenged to be a better steward of my time. With Moses, I prayed, "Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." (Psalm 90:12)

One of the homework exercises was to literally number my days. I determined that I've lived almost 14,600 days, and that I might have around 10,950 left assuming I live to be 70. This somehow came as a shock to me--I'm well past halfway! These days have passed so quickly, and I know the rest will go at least as quickly.

My favorite part of this psalm is verse 14, where Moses asks God to "satisfy us in the morning with [His] unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days." If only I can learn to be satisfied with God's love every morning, I will be well equipped to deal with all the challenges and disappointments the day might bring. As I bask in His love, I can stop obsessing over the things I hope will happen someday to make me happy, and instead I can rejoice for the blessings I've already received.

The psalm concludes with a request for God's favor to rest upon us, and for God to establish the work of our hands. I love the word "establish," which means to make firm, stable, and enduring. I long to be obedient to God and leave an enduring legacy! Contemplating one of the homework questions, I decided the work I most need God to establish is my parenting; I need His wisdom, unconditional love, and supernatural patience.

I struggled with many of the homework questions, and my workbook was littered with question marks. This reminded me of studying poetry in high school English. It was challenging to interpret the figurative language, and it frustrated me that there were no definitive answers. At the same time, I was in awe of the rich mysteries that were ALMOST within my grasp.

I thoroughly enjoyed the discussion in my small group last night, and I was thankful for my friends' insights and the experiences they were willing to share. Two things really made an impression on me:
  • One friend told us how a verse she was studying last week in her Faith Basics class stood out to her during this lesson: "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men." (Colossians 3:23). She realized that she needed to apply this scripture to her attitude at work, where she was feeling terribly bored. She committed to think of God in all she did for a full day, to be kind and loving with her coworkers--even the ones who usually annoy her. She was amazed at how pleasant her day was, and how much more quickly it passed.

    Later, the speaker mentioned the same verse, and I smiled knowingly at my friend. I love it when God does this, as if to say, "Are you getting this? This is really important."

  • Another friend said that we can number our days well if we remember that God has given them to us to use for his purpose. If we give God the best portion of our time, he will make all of our time more rewarding. I had heard this philosophy before in conjunction with finances; I've long believed that God gives us our resources and expects us to use them wisely. But I'd never thought of my TIME this way. What if God could somehow multiply my time just as he multiplies my money when I am faithful in giving?
I'm so excited to let God help me apply what I've learned from Psalm 90. I don't want to waste even one of my precious days.

How many days have you lived, and how many do you have left? Does this fill you with urgency, or make you depressed?


Gentle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gentle said...

It fills me with urgency to learn the word...remember my priority rant. Working at it with all your heart is the verse that I stand by with being a parent and a wife...gosh, sometimes you just don't want to give all you can and other times you feel you have nothing left to give, but I think of Jesus on the cross and His Father in heaven with a breaking heart....somehow they both gave more than they may have wanted to and more than they thought they had. Do it with ALL your heart! Now I am working on getting to know the word with all my heart! How exciting is that?! It sounds like you have some great gals at your table-what a blessing to be able to share with them. Thanks for sharing with us! Love you!

Melissa Irwin said...

14,373. It's hard to comprehend.

I am really learning to appreciate the Psalms. That sounds like a fantastic study. I am really soaking up my new study too. Praise God, really. We would be so empty without the word.

Jenny from the Block said...

I love your theory about time, giving it to God first and Him blessing you with even more time. And I loved Gentle's comment too!

NC Sue said...

Sarah, it sounds to me like God is giving you a rich harvest of insights through this study. You have given me a lot to consider, and you have worded it in a way that touched my heart and my spirit.

Thank you for sharing what you have learned..

Kristi said...

I found it interesting what you mentioned about time...our preacher was just mentioning yesterday (in a much more eloquent way than I am describing) how important it is to give of our time - because even though it can seem like such a sacrifice with family, work, life - we receive so much more back from it.

Thanks for describing your journey - love reading about it.


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