TEACH US TO NUMBER OUR DAYS
Ps. 90:12; 39:4-8
1. We all have things we don’t like; preferences. One lady took her son Casey to a Dr. because of an ear infection. She was impressed with how well the doctor connected with her son.
2. He asked Casey, "Is there anything you’re allergic to?" Casey nodded and whispered something in the doctor's ear.
3. Smiling, the doctor nodded and said he would send the prescription to the pharmacy.
4. When the mother picked it up, the pharmacist remarked on the unusual allergy her son must have. When he saw her puzzled expression, he showed her the label on the bottle.
5. The doctor's instructions read; "Do not take with broccoli."
6. Tonight we’re going to look at a topic that might not be your favorite, but it’s good for you!
Moses said, “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” Ps. 90:12, KJV.
David said, “4Show me, Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is. 5 You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you.
Everyone is but a breath, even those who seem secure. 6 Surely everyone goes around like a mere phantom; in vain they rush about, heaping up wealth without knowing whose it will finally be. 7 But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you. 8 Save me from all my transgressions; do not make me the scorn of fools.” Ps. 39:4-8, NIV.
1. We consider David to be wise his relationship with God. Here is some of David’s unusual insight.
2. The title of tonight’s message is “Teach us to Number our Days.”
I. DAVID’S STRANGE REQUEST (Vs. 4)
A. CERTAINTY OF DEATH
1. A Jewish Proverb says, “Every man knows he will die, but no one wants to believe it.” Nothing is so certain as death, and nothing is so uncertain as the hour of death.
2. The chances of you winning a state lottery jackpot are 1 in 4,000,000. The chance that you eventually are going to die is 1 in 1.
3. Hebrews 9:27 "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment." Job said, “A person’s days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed” (14:5).
4. For millions, crossing from this life to the next holds sheer terror. They have nothing on which to hang their faith and hope with any certainty.
B. VALUE OF CONFRONTING DEATH
1. David and Moses both realized that the more we confront our impending death, the more likely we are to use our lives wisely.
2. This life is a period of probation and preparation, after which there will be an eternity of recompense and retribution.
3. To the godless death is the end of all joys; to a godly person, it's the end of all griefs.
4. When we look upon death as a thing at a distance we are tempted to delay the necessary preparations for it; but when we consider how short life is, we begin to concern ourselves with our life's goals and achievements.
C. DEATH HOLDS NO TERROR FOR BELIEVERS
1. At death, we all cross from one territory to another, but those who have established a personal relationship with Jesus will have no trouble with their visas.
2. Their representative is already there, preparing for their arrival. Their entrance is incontestable as citizens of heaven.
3. POEM. “Think of stepping on a shore and finding it heaven! Of taking hold of a hand and finding it God’s hand! Of breathing a new air and finding it celestial air! Of feeling invigorated and finding it immortality! Of passing from storm and stress to a perfect calm! Of waking and finding yourself home!”
II. BREVITY/ FRAILTY OF LIFE (Vs. 5)
A. FRAILTY OF LIFE
1. David said, "Lord, give me to consider how frail I am." It's amazing how little holds our spirits in our bodies.
2. Do you know what the average life span of a human beings is? World wide – 67 years; in the U.S., 77 years (M – 74, F – 80). In 1900, life expectancy of man was 47!
3. 18 times a minute, you must breathe; 25,920 times a day. If you don’t, you’re dead within 3 minutes. Only a puff of breath stands between the most powerful or wealthy person, and death. That’s humbling!
B. SHORTNESS OF LIFE
1. David said, "You have made my days is as a hand breath." This is a space, the width/dimension of four fingers.
2. VALUE OF TIME
a. To realize the value of ONE YEAR, ask a student who failed a grade.
b. To realize the value of ONE MONTH, ask a mother who gave birth to a pre-mature baby.
c. To realize the value of ONE WEEK, ask the editor of a weekly newspaper.
d. To realize the value of ONE HOUR, ask the lovers who are waiting to meet.
e. To realize the value of ONE MINUTE, ask a person who missed the train.
f. To realize the value of ONE SECOND, ask a person who just avoided an accident.
g. To realize the value of ONE MILLISECOND, ask the person who won a silver medal in the Olympics. Treasure every moment that you have!
3. When as a child I laughed and wept, time crept. When as a youth I dreamed and talked, time walked. When I became a full grown man, time ran. And later as I older grew, time flew. Soon I shall find while traveling on, time gone.
4. We give away our health trying to make more money and then we spend all our money trying to get our health back. Such is life!
C. HUMOR: Doctor’s advice
1. Alex was in a terrible state. He kept having premonitions that he was going to die soon. So he went to see Dr Myers, a psychiatrist.
2. "Doctor, I need your help in a big way. I don’t feel like I’m going to be alive much longer. What should I do?"
3. Doctor Myers replied, "Well the first thing I want you to do, is pay me in advance!"
4. What a comfort!
III. FOCUS FOR MAXIMUM LIFE
A. PERSPECTIVE OF 3 DIRECTIONS
1. It’s a mistake to try to live in the past. If you do, you’ll probably experience undo regrets or guilt.
2. It’s also a mistake to try to live in future. If you do you’ll probably experience too much anxiety, fear, and possibly despair.
3. Living in the past or future is a form of not trusting God now. A proper view of the past and future are simply memory and anticipation.
4. Where we need to live, for maximum impact, is in the present!
B. WE CAN’T TRAVEL BACK IN TIME
1. ON LIVESCIENCE.com - Scientists made a fascinating discovery – you cannot travel back in time. Apparently we are stuck in the present. Many times the enemy of the present is our past. [You Can't Travel Back in Time, Scientists Say, Sara Goudarzi, March 07, 2007].
2. We can change our future by merely changing our attitude toward the past. God says, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past” Isa. 43:18.
3. Paul said, “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” Phip. 3:13-14.
4. We all have baggage from the past. God and Paul tell us to jettison that baggage and aim to excel in the present! Great idea!
C. PRIORITIZE FOR BEST LIFE
1. Common advice given to people who want to improve their use of time is to focus on what contributes most. The inverse, however, is also a worthy pursuit.
2. What does not contribute, but only wastes time? Try listing all the "time wasters" in a typical week and then rank them on the basis of their degree of time misuse.
3. Ask questions: "What would happen if I didn’t do this? Would it make a significant difference?
4. “It’s difficult to kill time without injuring eternity.” The decision you need to make today is whether you will waste your time or whether you will make the most of your days.
5. William Wallace said, “Every man dies; but not every man lives.” Martin Luther King observed that bad people “use time much more effectively than the [good] people.” We must be wise in our use of time!
6. What Really Matters Most in this Life? God matters. People matter. At the end of your life it won’t matter how much money was in your bank account or how many awards you won, but did you love God? Did you love the people in your life?
7. The greatest enemy is not death, but a life unlived!
A. ILLUSTRATION: Make the Most of your Time
1. Zig Ziglar tells the story about a thief who was robbed. Back in 1887, a middle-aged gentleman, Emanuel Ninger, used a $50 bill in a store. Some of the ink came off on the checker's hands, which were wet. The authorities were called & Mr. Ninger's house was searched.
2. In Emanuel Ninger's attic they found the tools he was using to reproduce the counterfeit $50 notes. They found an artist's easel, paint brushes, and paints which Ninger was using to meticulously paint the counterfeit money. He was a master artist.
3. The police also found three portraits that Ninger had painted - paintings that sold at public auction for a little over $16,000!
4. The irony was that it took him almost as much time to paint a $50 note as it did to paint those portraits which sold for more than $5,000 each.
5. We are shocked that someone would waste their time doing something so foolish when he had the opportunity to do something so valuable.
6. But aren’t we guilty of the same thing? Think how you spent your time in the last week, the hours wasted dong things that were unimportant.
7. We’ve each been given a gift by God of 1,440 minutes every day. Paul said, "Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil." (Eph. 5:15-16) [Alan Smith]
B. THE CALL
1. A man ran to his friend’s side when he made a terrible public disgrace.
2. His friend said, "At the moment, I am not very proud of myself," he said.
3. He answered, "But will you be at the end of the day?" Meaning, you can change your situation.
4. A prison chaplain once told the prisoners, “You can live it (your past) down.” So can we.
5. What will we do with our days ahead? Will we make them count for God?
[There was some input from Matthew Henry, Jerry Flury, Brooks Sayer and Rob Yanok in this message.]