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Teach Us to Numbers Our Days

Psalms  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  22:20
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Last week, on Memorial Day, we as a nation reflect on the lives of those who have gone before us. In Psalm 90, Moses does the same thing. He opens this psalm with a two verse hymn of praise.
Psalm 90:1–2 ESV
Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
This hymn is about God and His relationship with past generations of believers; Moses says of God, “you have been our dwelling place in all generations.”
Generations come and generations go. The graves we decorated on Memorial Day weekend are testimony of this. Take a walk through the Laurel Point Cemetery and you will see the graves of veterans going back to the American Revolutionary War.
Life is fragile and short. As Moses approached the end of his days on this earth, he reflects on this saying:
Psalm 90:3–6 ESV
You return man to dust and say, “Return, O children of man!” For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night. You sweep them away as with a flood; they are like a dream, like grass that is renewed in the morning: in the morning it flourishes and is renewed; in the evening it fades and withers.
As Moses reflected upon past generations, he saw something else; humanity is sinful and suffers the consequence of sin.
Psalm 90:7–11 ESV
For we are brought to an end by your anger; by your wrath we are dismayed. You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence. For all our days pass away under your wrath; we bring our years to an end like a sigh. The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away. Who considers the power of your anger, and your wrath according to the fear of you?
In light of the twin realities of the shortness and sinfulness of human life, Moses prays this simple prayer.
Psalm 90:12 ESV
So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.
Is this your prayer this morning? It should be.
Every grave you see contains the remains of a wise person or a fool. Those that numbered their days were wise. Those that did not were fools.
There are three reason we must learn to number our days. The first is:

Our Days are Short

Most people realize they will die someday, but they live their lives as if that day were far off, but the day of our death is not far off.
From the perspective of God, our lives are like the grass and flowers that spring up in the morning and by evening are faded and withered.
This phenomenon was quite familiar to Moses and his original readers. In the desert and semi-desert regions of this world rain is so scare that plants literally have only hours to bloom and reproduce. Even in a very temperate and rainy region such as our own, the spring bloom is very short lived. As you drive home today, look at the fading flowers—that is how short lived your life is!
Of course, it takes an eternal perspective to see this and this is why Moses asks God to teach him to number his days. Only by God’s help can we properly understand how fleeting our days here in this life are. Without this eternal perspective we will get the priorities of life wrong. Jesus told a parable that illustrates this.
Luke 12:16–21 ESV
And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.” ’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
Most people are living their lives like this man. Recently I spoke to a person about coming back to church. They grew up in this church and still claim, “Jesus as their Lord and Savior”. They acknowledge that they should be worshiping God with God’s people, but according to them, they are too busy for corporate worship.
What dare I ask is more important than God? What are they investing the short amount of time they have in this life? Extra sleep? Soccer games? Mowing the lawn? The sad reality is this, at the end of their lives, their earthly barns be full, but their treasure in heaven will be empty!
Don’t waste your life! Ask God to teach you to number your days, so that you may gain a heart of wisdom.
The second reason we need to pray this pray is this:

Our Days are Full of Sin and Misery

In verse eleven, Moses asks a very penetrating question.
Psalm 90:11 ESV
Who considers the power of your anger, and your wrath according to the fear of you?
Very few people in Moses’ day were considering God’s anger against sin, the problem is even worse today. As I reflect on past generations this Memorial Day weekend, I can say with confidence that they were much more aware of God’s anger against sin.
Very few preachers today who would dare to preach on sin and God’s judgement. This is why the biblical gospel is rarely preached. The biblical gospel offers a solution to a problem people do not think they have. Consequently, the Good News of Christ dying for sinners has been transformed in to the message of health, wealth and prosperity.
This is why people don’t find biblical preaching practical. They want sermons of “real” problems such a weight loss, child rearing, financial and marriage counseling. The bible does speak about these issues, but always in a way that relates to the Big Message of the Bible: Christ as the Savior of Sinners.
This is why we need God’s help in numbering our days.
When we honestly examine our lives in the light of God’s Word we see what Isaiah saw.
Isaiah 59:12–13 ESV
For our transgressions are multiplied before you, and our sins testify against us; for our transgressions are with us, and we know our iniquities: transgressing, and denying the Lord, and turning back from following our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart lying words.
Isaiah 64:6 ESV
We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
On top of all this, we see the ugly consequences of sin all around us; the most obvious of these is mankind's hatred against the fellow man and physical death. Memorial Day is a testimony of war and death. How true the words we find in Romans 5:12 are:
Romans 5:12 ESV
Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—
The shortness of our lives and the ugliness of sin is meant to teach us that we need the forgiveness that Jesus provides. We have a brief window of opportunity to repent of our sins and seek God’s forgiveness and then comes judgement. The author of Hebrews writes:
Hebrews 9:27 ESV
And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,
After death, there will be no second chance, only judgement. This is why the Heidelberg Catechism stresses that the first thing every human being needs to know for their salvation is “how great our sin and misery is.” (Q&A 2)
Remember the first two of those Faith Shaking Questions we looked at last week in Psalm 89:
Has God Forsaken Me in His Wrath?
Has God Forgotten How Frail I Am?
God has not forsaken nor has He forgotten; the proof of this is that you are alive and that you are hearing this sermon this morning! In 2 Peter 3:9, we are taught that the Lord, “is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”
This brings us to the closing section of this psalm.
The third and final reason we must number our days is because...

Our Days Can be Redeemed by God’s Mercy

Let us hear Moses as he continues to pray.
Psalm 90:13–17 ESV
Return, O Lord! How long? Have pity on your servants! Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, and for as many years as we have seen evil. Let your work be shown to your servants, and your glorious power to their children. Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!
Only God’s mercy can redeem our sinful lives.
This morning is a Memorial Day, a much more important one than the one we celebrated last weekend. This morning we are remembering the redemption that Christ’s body and blood provided for us.
Only by being united to Christ’s body and blood by faith, can we have any hope that our short life on this earth can be redeemed and have any lasting value. This is what Moses meant when he wrote,
Psalm 90:17 ESV
Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!
A life lived apart from the redeeming power of God is a wasted life.
We “number our days” by remembering:
Our Days are Short
Our Days are Full of Sin and Misery
But most importantly:
Our Days Can be Redeemed by God’s Mercy Found in Jesus Christ!
Let us pray.
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