Sunday, November 4, 2012

Psalm 90:12 - Life's Priorities


“Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.” (NLT)  Psalm 90:12

Psalm 90 is attributed to Moses.  In this psalm Moses appreciates just how short our lives are in the overall “big picture” of creation.  He says if we understand this concept we will use the time we have on earth wisely.

I think Moses understands what it means to use his time wisely.  He demonstrates this as he nears the end of his life.

One day the Lord said to Moses, ‘Climb one of the mountains east of the river, and look out over the land I have given the people of Israel.  After you have seen it, you will die like your brother Aaron, for you both rebelled against my instructions in the wilderness of Zin...’”  Numbers 27:12-14 (NLT)

Moses has lived a long, productive life and now knows his death is imminent.  How does Moses respond?  Does he mope?  Does he withdraw from his leadership role?  Does he lash out at God?

“Then Moses said to the Lord, ‘O Lord, you are the God who gives breath to all creatures.  Please appoint a new man as leader for the community.  Give them someone who will guide them wherever they go and will lead them into battle, so the community of the Lord will not be like sheep without a shepherd.’”  Numbers 27:15-17 (NLT)

Moses’ first concern is the leadership of the people.  He immediately goes into succession planning mode.  He’s wants the Israelite nation to have a godly man to lead them into the Promised Land.

What does he do next?  Moses continues in his leadership role.  He addresses the people of Israel reminding them who they are, where they’ve come from and where they’re going, how they got there, and how they’re to live their lives in dedication to God.  His last act is to bestow a blessing on the people of Israel.

We can equate the verses in Numbers 27 as the equivalent of reviewing test results with your doctor, only to find out you have six months to live.  How would you react?  How would I react? 

I suspect I wouldn’t handle this news quite as well as Moses.  Moses sets an extraordinary example of how to die well, but I also like to take this as a lesson in living well. 

I don’t know how long I’ll live.  Like Moses, I’d like enough wisdom to realize life is short.  I’d like the ability to discern the important things to accomplish before it’s too late.

Are you doing things that would be most important to you if you knew how short life was going to be?  Are there dreams or goals you’ve ignored, thinking you’ll get to them “one day”? 

Are you so busy with the stuff of daily life that you don’t have time for the bigger things...
  • time with your spouse
  • time with your children
  • building relationships with friends and neighbours
  • painting
  • writing your book
  • sharing your journey of faith
  • going on a mission trip
  • spending time at the soup kitchen or homeless shelter
  • visiting your sick relative
Fill in your own blanks.  What are you NOT doing that you’d like to be?  What really matters in your life?

Share your thoughts by clicking on “comments” below.

“Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.” (NLT)  Psalm 90:12

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