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[a] 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?
So teach us to number our days
that we may get a heart of wisdom.
I had already written a piece about Psalm 90:10-12 but after reading these verses again I felt like I had a bit more to say. Forgive me if I repeat myself.
In verse 9 King David speaks of wasted lives, of not doing all we can do. David speaks of how most lives come to an end as a whimper or a sigh. Perhaps he was referring to a sigh of regret, regret of what should have been done.
In verse 10 King David speaks of the seventy to eighty year life span and even though in this day and age it keeps increasing, most of us spend our entire lives in toil and trouble. He is speaking of a wasted life a wasted gift from God. David tells us we are so wrapped up in ourselves, just existing and before we know it, it’s gone.
Verse 11 are David’s thoughts on who considers what they are doing with their life. He speaks of those who put value on their gift from God and not wasting what they have been given. David speaks of those who fear the Lord. I do not translate “fear of the Lord” as many do. I don’t conceive of God as some superhero floating in the clouds above the earth waiting to punish us for our sins. We make our own punishment. I think of “fear of the Lord” as what David is talking about in these verses. It is fearing that we may waste the gift of God, our life.
God has given us all the tools and knowledge to make the most of our lives. No matter how crappy of a hand we feel we may have been dealt, we have the means to overcome and be the best we can be. Doing so is to “fear the Lord”. The work to be the best we can be is so very hard, but it is simple. Seek righteousness and live righteous. But the world fills our hearts and pushes God aside.
As David says in verse 9, we bring our years to an end with a sigh.
So in verse 12 David asks the Lord to teach us, remind us that we aren’t going to live forever and every day is a gift. God does that every day and yet somehow we manage to ignore that one simple truth.
David asks God to give us a heart of wisdom. If we realize how precious our lives are and how valuable our time is, we wouldn’t spend it chasing the latest fad, the latest gimmick. We’d stop coveting what our neighbor possesses and start fearing that we are wasting a precious gift. We are wasting the seventy or eighty years we have.
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