Mark D. Roberts

Numbering Our Days

READ Psalm 90:1-17

Teach us to realize the brevity of life,
so that we may grow in wisdom.

Psalm 90:12

I have chosen to use the New Living Translation (2nd ed.) of the Bible because it is quite readable and usually quite accurate in its translation, even though it renders the sense of the original language even when it doesn’t mirror the ancient words. The NLT version of Psalm 90:12 provides an excellent example of what I’ve just said. It reads, “Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.” This captures the meaning of the original Hebrew, though not its poetic character. If you were to translate this verse more literally, you might come up with: “So teach us to number our days, that we might bring a heart of wisdom.”
What does it mean to number our days? It’s not the ability to count how many days we have lived, or to predict how many days we have left. Numbering our days means, as the NLT indicates, realizing the brevity of life. It means knowing that we only have so many days on this earth, and therefore we want to “seize the day,” living each day to the fullest.
When we recognize that we have only so much time on this earth, that will help us to think rightly about how to spend our time. This, in turn, will encourage us to grow in wisdom. We will want to judge well how to use the time allotted to us, and this requires godly perspective. It’s not just knowing what we can do, but also what we should do. When we number our days, we will strive to fill each one with value, living every moment for God’s purposes and glory.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: What helps you to number your days? What helps you to live each day to the fullest? Are there regular activities in your life that you would eliminate from your schedule if you were to number your days wisely?
PRAYER: Gracious Lord, thank you for the gift of life. Thank you for the days you have given me. Thank you for the chance to live with purpose each day, to serve you in every facet of my life.
O Lord, I do need you to teach me to number my days. I can so easily live my life as if it will go on forever. In a sense it will, of course. But I don’t want to waste one moment of my life in this age. I want to experience all that life has to offer and to offer all that I am to you.
So teach me, Lord, to number my days, so that I might grow in wisdom, so that I might live each day in the best possible way. To you be all the glory! Amen.


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This devotional comes from The High Calling of Our Daily Work (, a wonderful website about work and God. You can read my Daily Reflections there, or sign up to have them sent to your email inbox each day. This website contains lots of encouragement for people who are trying to live out their faith in the workplace.

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