Tuesday, January 09, 2007

A Heart of Wisdom: Conclusion

"The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty...
So teach us to number our days, that we may get a heart of wisdom."
-Psalm 90:10, 12

Over the last week, I’ve been posting thoughts on Psalm 90, covering 4 characteristics of a heart of wisdom:

1. Stands in awe of the eternal God
2. Recognizes man’s insignificance
3. Acknowledges God as holy Judge
4. Runs to God for mercy

Every year, I make a list on a piece of paper, numbering 1-80. I use it to jot down milestones of God’s grace in the past, and look ahead and prayerfully consider what will be most important in the upcoming stretch of my life. I do know that I’ve got two driving priorities the next 15 years: to faithfully care for my family, and faithfully teach God’s word in this church.

I’d encourage you to do this, to sit down and consider where you are on your way to 70 or 80 years. Consider where God has brought you from. Consider how quickly your life will be over. Consider the holiness of God. How does that reality adjust your plans for 2007?

I don’t know what resolutions you’ve made (and which ones you’ve already broken) by now, 9 days into the New Year, but here’s something for consideration--How will we live this year if we number our days and have a heart of wisdom?

Here are some thoughts:

1. We will pursue satisfaction in God alone.

(Verse 14) What have you sought satisfaction in apart from God in the past year? When we see the fleeting nature of life, we see that knowing and being satisfied in the steadfast love of God is our greatest purpose. Let’s commit ourselves to being people who love and study and memorize God’s word. Let’s be people who pursue private communion with God. Who attend each Sunday meeting expecting to hear and be changed by God’s word. Let us be a people who pursue God in prayer.

[For those looking for a good Bible-reading plan, Discipleship Journal has a good one I've used.]

2. We will pursue holiness and cast off the sin that so easily entangles.

If we really see how short our time is on earth, if we see God in his holiness, would we make such allowance for sin? Verse 8 reminds us that there is no sin hidden from God. Where are you trifling with sin? Where are you harboring it? Where are you toying with temptation? Number your days and hate your sin. Flee from it.

3. We will be passionate about God’s work around us.

(Verse 16) If we number our days, our hearts are going to beat for the work of God in our local church. For the work of God in other countries. For the spread of the gospel.

4. We will spend ourselves for God’s glory.

Numbering our days doesn’t lead to timidity and fearful conservation of our life. It leads to boldness. To faith-filled risk taking. It leads to mountain-moving prayer. The missionary Jim Elliot said “Wherever you are be all there. Live to the hilt every situation that you believe to be the will of God.” What season are you in? Live it to the hilt.

There’s certainly a place for caution...but not when it’s motivated by desire to preserve our comfort and advance our selfish desires. Let’s attempt great things for our great King this year! What if we worried more about the lost than our comfort? What if we spoke with humble boldness instead of remaining silent. What if we attempted what only God’s power could enable?

Consider v. 17—Only what we do for him will last.

5. We will be humble, grateful and joyful because of the gospel!

In Psalm 90, we see Moses looking ahead with faith for God’s future salvation. Friends, we have seen it. And it’s more wonderful than words can express!

When we number our days, we will be humbled and will live in holy fear of our Holy God, but we will also run to and receive and rejoice in the glorious salvation that He has provided for us in Jesus Christ. This coming year will be marked by toil and trouble. For some of us, it will be our final year on earth, but because Jesus has come we can have joy and hope in it. Because Jesus shed his blood as the perfect once for all sacrifice in our place, our iniquities have been removed from us and God’s wrath has turned to favor. He is for us!

Lord, teach us to number our days in this life. Teach us to long for the day when we see you. Teach us to live our life for you and your glory!

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