To number our days

As the New Year continues to unfold, the Verse of the Day for January 2, 2019 offers sound advice from the Psalmist:

Psalm 90:12 (New American Bible Revised Edition):

Teach us to count our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart.

Here is the more familiar expression from the King James Version:

So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.

Proverbs 4:7 also reminds us that

Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.

In thinking about applying wisdom to our lives, we must recognize that wisdom is not a static entity; it is not a trophy to be displayed with pride, but wisdom connotes action; it is something that must be applied.

The Psalmist further states, “I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when will you come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart (Psalm 101:2).

Wisdom is said to be the application of knowledge. We, thus, see that knowledge, wisdom, and understanding are intertwined as a three-fold cord. Furthermore, in discussing wisdom, we see that the Book of James identifies two sources of wisdom:

James 3:13-18

13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.
14 But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth.
15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic.
16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.
17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.
18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

In the Book of Proverbs we find two additional references to a synonymous phrase for “applying our hearts unto wisdom,” and they are “walking in wisdom” or “to walk as the wise”:

Proverbs 13:20

He who walks with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.

Proverbs 28:26

He that trusts in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walks wisely, he shall be delivered.

Two of the most enlightening scriptures regarding walking in wisdom occur in the New Testament:

Ephesians 5:15

See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,

To walk circumspectly, means to walk carefully, accurately, “to be watchful on all sides.”

Colossians 4:5 instructs believers to

“Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.”

The exhortation to number our days begins with today, as we learn to take one day at a time. The lyrics to the song “Day by Day” from the musical Godspell, based on the Gospel of Matthew, offer this reminder:

Day by day
Day by day
Oh Dear Lord
Three things I pray
To see thee more clearly
Love thee more dearly
Follow thee more nearly
Day by day

Walking in wisdom also involves being intentional and making deliberate choices that determine the direction and ultimate fulfillment of our purpose in God. Here is another reminder to heed the words of the Psalmist in the Verse of the Day:

To Number Our Days

Psalm 90:12

To number our days we must ascend to this place
To view another day beyond our three score years
Symbolic sum of God’s divinely ordered grace,
Flowing to each grateful heart that still perseveres.
From this summit of sweeping vistas now we see
The Great Divide where streams of understanding flow,
Unfolding golden days beyond our jubilee.
Even as we are known, so may we also know
The fullness of the love of God in word and deed:
This passion burns within as an enduring flame.
With ears near to the lips of God may we still heed
The call heard long ago when He first called our name.
Let us walk with wisdom and seek to know His ways
As we continue to learn to number our days.

We close with the Family Radio Broadcasting offering a musical reminder: “Teach Us to Number our Days.”

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