Life is too short.
How many times have we heard this saying? Personally, I’ve lost count. And I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve said this to others, often preceded by “let it go….” It is my go-to phrase when someone is obsessing on a petty issue in his or her life.
But did you know the concept of this thought is in the Bible? Psalms 90:12 reads, “Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.” This psalm was written by Moses as prayer. I enjoy reading the prayers of Biblical characters. Those words can give great insight into their state of mind (just as our prayers reveal where our hearts really are. But that’s for another day).
We can sense the gravity of Moses’ words. God’s sense of time, he says, is very different than ours, a thousand years being like one day to him and as brief as a night watch. Moses also compares human life to new grass that grows in the morning but is withered by the evening.
That grass, according to Moses, is exactly how sinful people end up. Under the heat of God’s wrath, they wither. Even more sobering, Moses laments that, if our lives last to seventy years, eighty if we’re strong, most of that time is spent under God’s anger. After all this, Moses asks the Lord to teach us to number our days. In essence, life is too short to spend it under God’s wrath.
I’ve read Psalms 90 before and I can’t say that I fully grasped the truth of verse 12 until now. I never made the connection between wisdom and numbering our days even though it’s there, loud and clear. Most of us would think that considering the brevity of life is depressing, and that it’s not wise to spend our times thinking about it.
But there is wisdom in this practice. If we understand how short life is, then we will wisely decide what to spend our precious few days on. I don’t want to be like Moses, feel like the majority of the days are lived under sorrow because of my sin.
Who wants to spend their entire life withering under God’s wrath? That’s simply not wise. It is wise, however, to consider how our actions affect the few days that we have. Even more wise would be not to waste any of those days.
Sin is a waste of time. Yes, God can use the sins we’ve repented from and allow us to bless others with our testimonies, but who wants to intentionally live life that way? Think about all that Moses witnessed. He watched a whole generation over the age of 40 die in the wilderness because of their rebellion and unbelief. What a waste.
It may be tempting to look at the children of Israel and say, “They committed a big sin by not trusting God and believing the report of the spies. I’m not bad.” But what about unforgiveness? Talk about a colossal waste of time. And pride? Spending day after day thinking you’re better than everyone else, when in truth you’re just as bad, if not worse? Waste. And what about all the works of the flesh listed in Galatians 5:19? Sexual immorality, impurity, debauchery, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, fractions, envy, and drunkenness? Is that the way you want to spend your seventy, maybe eighty, years?
What are you wasting your days on? What sin is eating away minutes from your life clock? Ask the Lord to teach you to number your days so you can learn how to wisely spend your time. Life is too short.