How many days do you have left on planet earth? 50 years? 10 years? 6 months? 25 days? How will you use your time? How will you invest your days for the kingdom of God?
Moses was no stranger to conducting funerals. Over the course of 40 years of wilderness wanderings, he buried 1.2 million people. It comes out to one funeral every 17 minutes; over 82 funerals each day for 40 years.
Spending time with death gives you a unique perspective about life. In Psalm 90, which was written by Moses, he encourages us to count your days to make your days count. He communicates this theme in three movements.
Man is immortal, but God is eternal (1-6). If we want to characterize someone as old, we say they are older than the hills. Moses pictures the oldest object he can imagine, the mountains, and recognizes that God is older still. He has no beginning or end (2). Throughout the generations, people have found him to be a welcoming presence (1).
While our soul may be immortal, our lives are relatively short (4-6). We came from dirt and will return to that form. Even if we live as long as Methuselah who reached 969 years, our lives are a blip on the timeline of eternity. We are like a page on a calendar, a 3-4 hour night watch, a puddle after a rainstorm, or a short dream. Like the grass, we are here today and tomorrow in the compost heap.
Life is short because of sin (7-11). As sinful people, we live under the wrath of God (7, 9, 11). Our days are brief and filled with pain and sorrow. While we may put on a mask and hide from each other, God knows the secret sins of our hearts (8). Life on earth is brief, even for God’s best (10).
Because sin mars our lives, we need help to enjoy any kind of significance or success. Consequently, Moses begs, “God, help me count my days to make my days count” (12-17).
Moses asks God for four things:
- “Give me wisdom” (12). Moses asks God for a sense of perspective about the shortness of life.
- “Give me mercy” (13). Moses recognizes he desperately needs God’s help.
- “Give me joy” (14-15). Enduring a dark night of the soul, Moses longs for joy just as a night watchman looks for the sunrise.
- “Give me success” (16-17). Moses asks for sense of success and significance.
The movie, Papillon (1973), starred Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman. It told the story of two prisoners in the French penal system who were sentenced to Devil’s Island. Throughout the movie, Steve McQueen’s character proclaims his innocence. Towards the end of the film, there is a dream sequence where stands before a judge. The judge declares him guilty and McQueen continues to proclaim his innocence. The judge states, “I accuse you of a wasted life.” McQueen drops his head and says, “Guilty. Guilty.”
Each of us should ask God the question, “What do you want to do with my life? Where should I invest my time?”
Count your days to make your days count.
This is the synopsis of a message preached at First Central Bible Church in Chicopee, MA, on October 29, 2017. It is the final message in a series of sermons on the life of Moses. Please click on the link to download a copy of the sermon notes.