Numbering Our Days in External Focus Ways

As our body continues to journey through the Psalms, the External Focus team is looking through outreach-tinted lenses at some passages! Here's the first of those entries. (And be sure to read other great thoughts on Psalm 90 at Join the Journey.)


Psalm 90 was not written by David or Asaph but by Moses, a servant leader of God. I'm pretty sure Moses had many days that were satisfying – and even more days that were unsatisfying. As he led the Israelites out of Egypt, he had countless opportunities to reflect back on his life. I bet he remembered growing up in a palace, compared to the memory of all the years the nation of Israel wandered in the wilderness.

He was a man that was keenly aware of each day God had granted him. Just like you and me, he had no promises for tomorrow. And through him, God shared a formula for making each day satisfying.

I want to zero in on 3 verses in chapter 90: verses 12, 14, and 17.

The Limit of Our Days

First, 12 discusses prioritizing our lives: “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (NIV).

How many days do we get out of bed, jump into full motion, and not even realize this day was not guaranteed us? So often we take for granted the days that we are given. There are many places in the Psalms that push us toward the wisdom of realizing the shortness of our days (such as Psalm 39:4-6).

So often we look to the world, work, material things, or personal influence for our satisfaction and think these will bring a long life of joy and fulfillment. But our clock is ticking down, and our 70 or 80 years on earth, when compared to just 10,000 years in heaven, is like 70 seconds. How are you using your 70 seconds here on earth? (Check out the recent mini-message from John McGee for more.)

The Source of Our Satisfaction

So if we recognize that our days are fleeting, where should we look for satisfaction?

Verse 14 tells us exactly where satisfaction comes from: “Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days” (NIV). We find our satisfaction only in looking to the Lord every morning for our daily source of contentment. It's through His unfailing love that we can sing for joy and be glad all our days.

“Yeah, right!,” you say. How does that pay my bills or give me influence over others? As I mentioned earlier, those things don't bring true satisfaction. Knowing that God's mercies are new every day and He sustains all things – this creates contentment and a true joy. Do you make it a practice to get up each morning completely giving the day to the Lord, which creates in your soul a song of joy that lasts throughout the day? If we know we possibly don't have tomorrow, why don't we do this each day?

The Work of Our Hands

And once we realize the brevity of our days and find our satisfaction in the right place, we can turn to the last question: How do we spend our limited days?

Moses concludes his Psalm with a hint : “May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us; yes, establish the work of our hands” (v. 17, NIV).

Wow – Moses even repeats the thought! It brings such deep satisfaction when we know that God directs our hands to be used by Him. If we allow Him to create in our hearts a desire to serve others and to be used by the Lord, there is no greater joy.

But are you living and serving in a way that God would want to “establish your work”? Are you using your talents and gifts at your workplace? Is your community group serving others on a regular basis? Is your family known for investing your time, talents, and treasures in worthy endeavors to serve the Lord and others?

We've been given three verses in this psalm that we need to take to heart:

  • The first one tells us to realize how short life is by numbering our days,
  • the second one tells us where satisfaction comes from,
  • and the third tells us to use our hands and feet as directed by the Lord.

Ask the Lord to show you areas you can best be used by Him. There are so many hurting folks all around you. Are you in the game or sitting in the sideline? The game clock is ticking down! When it's done, we will stand and give an account.

As Todd says, “Let's go, Church!”

Photo Credit: greg.simenoff Flickr via Compfight cc

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