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Reading:                                      Psalm 39

(Verses 6-13)

“Surely everyone goes around like a mere phantom;     

in vain they rush about, heaping up wealth     

without knowing whose it will finally be.

“But now, LORD, what do I look for?     

My hope is in you. Save me from all my transgressions;     

do not make me the scorn of fools.

I was silent; I would not open my mouth,     

for you are the one who has done this.

Remove your scourge from me;     

I am overcome by the blow of your hand.

When you rebuke and discipline anyone for their sin,     

you consume their wealth like a moth—surely everyone is but a breath.

“Hear my prayer, LORD, listen to my cry for help;     

do not be deaf to my weeping.

I dwell with you as a foreigner, a stranger, as all my ancestors were.

Look away from me, that I may enjoy life again     

before I depart and am no more.”  (NIV)

 Reflection

Today’s reading is the concluding portion of Psalm 39. In this psalm we find David in a silent, reflective mood. He contemplates the brevity of life and the certainty of the grave. In the previously posted psalm portion he prayed, “Show me, LORD, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is.”

Central Park, NYC -- David Kitz

Central Park, NYC — David Kitz

Why would knowing the number of our days matter? Well, it should focus our minds on making the most of the time available to us. Our days on this earth are not infinite. We are each allotted a predetermined number of days. In Psalm 139, another psalm attributed to David, we read, “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139:16).

We have no control or at best limited control over the number of days we live on this earth. But how and with whom we spend those days is within the range of our effective will. I can break my marital vows and my wife’s heart, or I can be true to her and my words spoken before God. I can love and raise my children in godly discipline, or I can neglect them or alienate them through harsh punishment. These are decisions that fall within the scope of my will. In this life and the next I will be accountable for the decisions I make. Undoubtedly, this is why David cries out, “But now, LORD, what do I look for? My hope is in you. Save me from all my transgressions.”

Response: LORD God, I need your saving help. Through the redemptive blood of Jesus keep me from being trapped and controlled by my transgressions. I need your presence in my life so that I can make the most of my days. May your Kingdom rule extend to me and through me to others. Amen.

Your Turn: Do you think you would live your life differently if you knew how many days you had left?