12 So teach us to number our days, That we may present to You a heart of wisdom.
The year has started and we survived the first day. Now there are 364 more to go. What do we want to accomplish in those 364 days? What are the promises that we have made to ourselves that may or may not be kept in 364 days? Is it to get a new job, give up a habit, start a new habit, learn a new hobby, or make a significant purchase?
Knowing that we have 364 days to achieve a promise helps us to work towards that goal. We don’t want to be sitting in our room on New Years Eve 2022 regretting how we used the year. Somehow having that marker can be a motivator.
The Psalmist understood this simple truth. But how is it possible to know how many days we have left on this earth? If we only had 364 days on this earth would our promises look different than they do today? What If there would not be a New Years Day 2023?
This is the simple profound truth. The Psalmist is looking at his infinite God realizing that his days are numbered and only God knows that number. The Psalmist is fínite and he numbers his days with that realization. Each day is significant. Our choices today are significant. Psalm 39:4 says,
“LORD, make me to know my end And what is the extent of my days; Let me know how transient I am.”
It is a blessing to be cognizant of how transient our lives really are. This frees us from being controlled by goals that we may never reach. This empowers us to make decisions that focus not on what we attain but who we become. For this Christ died for us to free us from the shackles of human time.
There are 364 days to go. What are your promises?
“There is hope for your future,” declares the LORD, “And your children will return to their own territory.
Hope is a popular topic at the beginning of a new year. It is especially meaningful when life has been so challenging. We finish a year that has been difficult and we have hope that the next year will be a little less challenging.
So we turn to a verse like Jeremiah 31:17. We proclaim that there is hope for the future because of our God. And this is true. What is a little more challenging to process is what does hope look like?
The Israelites had lost their land. They had lost their inheritance. They had suffered. What did hope look like for them? In this verse it says simply, "your children will return to their own territory." In fact the word future can also be translated as descendants. The hope of the Israelite was that God would fulfill all his promises even if they never saw it in their own lifetime. They were a part of the fulfillment of those promises.
How can this give us hope for 2022? Well, we have no idea what is going to happen. We have no idea if life is going to get a little easier or a little more "normal." What we do know is that every trial, every challenge, every sickness has a purpose in the plan of God because He will bring our children back to the land.
This year there will be wonderful times. This year there will be hard times. This year will be one full of purpose, promise, and hope because God is the master planner who will sustain us, encourage us, give us the strength, provide the purpose for every experience of life.