Numbered Days

“So teach us to number our days
    that we may get a heart of wisdom.”

  • Psalm 90:12

Psalm 90 is ascribed as a prayer of Moses; it is a beautiful psalm that begins with praising God for being the dwelling place of Israel as they wandered. Throughout the psalm, Moses mused on God’s eternality, majesty, transcendence, wrath, and mercy. But the thread that weaves much of this psalm together is the reality of time – specifically that God exists outside of it while man resides in it. Moses was plain that God lasts for all generations (v 1-2) while man’s life is but a moment of seventy to eighty years (v 9-10). In addition, the psalm beautifully expounds on the immeasurable vantage point from which God sees and orchestrates time (v 2, 4) and compares this to man’s limited interaction with it. Finally, it concludes with anticipation and hope that God will establish the work of their hands as they live out life on this side of eternity.

In light of who the Lord is and how he transcends time, Moses requested that the Lord would, “teach us to number our days so that we may get a heart of wisdom.” Immediately, we see that Moses understood the gift of time against the backdrop of man’s limited life. But moreover, we glean that Moses understood that only the One who exists outside of time has the power, omniscience, goodness, and mercy to impart wisdom to finite, limited, and often-times foolish human-beings.

Praying these very words is a plea that God would guide us in faithful living, that by His grace He would teach us to spend and steward our lives well, and that He would stir us to live with intentionality to share the gospel with others as we wait in anticipation for Christ’s return. Said differently, when we pray for the Lord to teach us to number our days, we are asking that our focus would shift form the here and now to the then and forever. And as our perspective and desires shift from the temporary to the eternal, our hearts gain wisdom.

But there is another truth of numbering our days that is implied. When we number our days, it indicates a passing of time – in other words – waiting. As we wait on the Lord, from the small matters of life to the painful and difficult ones, our hearts learn to trust in the only One who is above and outside of time. And as our hearts learn to trust in His good and perfect timing, our hearts gain wisdom.

But let’s not forget to consider what it looks like to have numbered our days according to God’s ways. There is peace in our hearts when we know that we have numbered our days well, for we are able to look back with acceptance that it all happened according to God’s good and perfect plan. This is true even when the tides of life change or the chapters our lives that we loved so dearly come to a close. God in his grace, grants us peace to look back in acceptance of what came to pass, for none of it was or is wasted (Rom 8:28). And in that acceptance, our hearts gain wisdom.

Finally, this week I was reading in the book of Daniel, and I was struck by the prophet’s words when he prayed, “For we do not present our pleas before you because of our righteousness, but because of your great mercy.”  I pray that as you go forth this week, you know that you can go to God and ask Him for wisdom and training because he will graciously give it to you (Jas 1:5) not because of any goodness in yourself but because of His (Dan 9:18).

Prayer: Father God, you are eternal. You are transcendent. You are omnipotent. You are wise. You are good. You are merciful. You see time from the beginning to the end. My heart is filled with praise. By your grace, teach me to number my days, so that I may gain a heart of wisdom. Help me to live my days with intentionality, seeking your kingdom above my own. Shift my focus from the here and now to the then and forever. Amen.


  1. Social media can be a major time suck if we aren’t careful. In light of that, how are you currently interacting with social media? Is it taking up too much of your time? If yes, what guardrails can you establish to prevent yourself from wasting time on there?
  2. Recall a time for which you are grateful. Why are you grateful for that time? What about that time made it meaningful? Take time to praise the Lord for that special time.
  3. Practically, how you can seek to number your days well? Take time to make a plan. Then, go to the Lord in prayer and ask for His help, guidance, and grace.
  4. We all deal with the reality of regret. Regret is often painful and hard to move past. Take time to go before the Lord, surrendering the regret(s) that is(are) weighing you down. Ask that He would give you peace, comfort, and courage to move forward. Trust that He sees you, is for you, and loves you deeply.

Hymn to Sing: From Everlasting (Psalm 90) by Sovereign Grace Music

O God of light our ways are known to You
But by Your grace You’re making all things new
So satisfy us in our numbered days
Establish every effort while we wait
From everlasting, You are God

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