Summary: The Bible compares our life to many things so that we may realize how short it is and how important it is for us to number our days.

Intro: The Bible compares our life to many things so that we may realize how short it is and how important it is for us to number our days (i.e., to plan for our life well) so we will have a good influence on the world for Christ. To show us how short our life is, God compares our life to nine things:

1. A Vapour (Jas. 4:14)

A vapor is a mist that is easily dissipated by the rising sun.

All our plans depend on our life continuing. But what a frail and uncertain thing our life is. Who can build any solid plans on the permanence of a vapor or a mist?

2. A Wind (Job 7:7; Psa. 78:39)

3. A Cloud (Job 7:9)

As a vapor or wind passes quickly so does the life of man. As we cannot stop a cloud or wind, so we cannot hinder the speedy motion of our days. As a cloud comes to its height and then vanishes, so does our life and our full strength.

4. A Flower (I Pet. 1:24)

Man’s life is compared to a fading flower. Many nice things describe a flower – its fragrance, beauty, color and softness. Job discusses none of these but only of its cutting down. Note the following truths about a flower’s cutting down:

a)A flower is often cut down or cropped in it’s budding. Many people are cut off in the flower of their life by natural death, sickness, sudden death by violence, or road accident.

b) A flower if not cut off, soon withers away and is gone. The “Queen of the Night” flower blooms in one night, gives a beautiful fragrance, and is dead and withered by morning!

c) As the owner of flowers knows best when to crop them, so God knows the best time when to crop off or take away by death any of his choice flowers (cf. Psa. 116:15).

5. A Swift Post (Job 9:25)

As a postman rides swiftly in a hurry so man’s life passes away swiftly. A postman of years ago would ride on the swiftest of horses; would change horses at every stage to keep up the speed; and would only take a morsel of food at each stop then speed on. All people would give way to the post rider. He would only go to bed at the end of his trip.

6. A Swift Ship (Job 9:25-26)

Watching a ship, notice how it passes slowly but disappears over the horizon which reminds us of the passing of our lives.

7. An Eagle (Job 9:25-26)

An eagle is a very swift flying bird. When it hastens to catch its prey, it makes the greatest speed. The life of man is compared to an eagle hurrying to catch her prey when hunger adds swiftness to her wings. So it is with swiftness that our days pass away. What have you done for Christ with your life on earth? “ONLY ONE LIFE IT WILL SOON BE PAST…ONLY WHAT IS DONE FOR CHRIST WILL LAST.”

8. A Weaver’s Shuttle (Job 7:6)

A weaver’s shuttle is a very swift instrument. When the weaver has finished his web, he quickly cuts off the thread. So it is that when a man has run the length of his days appointed by God, his life is cut off from the earth.

9. A Shadow (Job 14:1-2)

Man’s life today is short compared to human lifespan before Noah’s flood. Man’s life is much shorter compared to God’s eternity. See David (I Chron. 29:15)


a) Our days on earth are short and uncertain.

b) The shortness of our life shows the folly of living only for material things (Psa. 49:10-12).

c) Our minds must be focused on eternity (II Tim. 4:8).

e) Let us be “redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:16). To “redeem the time” means “to buy it up, rescue it from loss, improve every opportunity.”

Prayer: Lord, teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts to the wisdom living more and more like the Lord Jesus. May we realize the shortness of earthly life so that we shall be motivated to use our strength and labors to get people saved from hell, teach the Bible faithfully, encourage fellow believers, train more ministry workers, be at peace among ourselves, and bring glory to the Lord.

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