Devotional on the Psalms | Counting My Days | Psalm 39:4-5

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Counting My Days (Psalm 39:4-5)

When I started swimming several years ago, I counted my laps in my head as I swam. That presented a problem—I would start thinking about something, and I would forget what lap I was on.

So, I was thankful to get a watch that would count laps for me. Every now and then my Apple watch will add 25 yards or so to my swim, but 99 times out of 100 the watch gets things right. In fact, while I’m swimming, I have a host of numbers on my little display—my time, my calories burned, my heart rate, and my distance. I use all those numbers to determine how much more I need to swim. This morning, I wanted to do three things: swim laps for at least two hours, swim at least 3,000 yards, and burn 1,500 calories. Thanks to my watch, I was able to keep track of what I was doing, and I accomplished all three of those goals.

David was also worried about numbers and goals: Psalm 39:4-5. David was likely an old man when he wrote this psalm. As he looked back on his life, he realized just how short it had been—especially in light of eternity. Yet, David’s life was not yet over, and he wanted to be mindful that his remaining time on earth was also short.

David wrote those verses in Psalm 39 to remind his readers of this truth: “Life is short.” You know life is short: “What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes” (Js 4:14). What can you do because “Life is short?


Because “Life is short,” you need to PRAY.

Why would I say you should pray since “Life is short?” Simply put: That’s exactly what David was doing in this psalm! “O LORD, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!” (Ps 39:4).

Ask God to make you know your end and the measure of your days. Ask God to help you remember the brevity of life. Ask God to help you keep your priorities in order. Ask God to help you keep an eye on eternity.

Because “Life is short,” you need to PLAN.

We don’t see David’s planning for his end per se in this text, but why would he want God’s help to number his days? It doesn’t make much sense to think David simply wanted to sit around thinking about the end of life. What makes much more sense is that David wanted life’s brevity at the forefront of his consciousness so that he could complete his work before he left this world.

What plans do you need to make before you go the way of all the earth? Obviously, the most important plan you need to make is to be obedient to the Father and join him in that heavenly city.

But what other plans do you need to make? Are there words you need to speak to your family? Are there divisions you need to heal? Are there talents you need to use for God’s glory?

Look at your life’s brevity and plan for when you’re no longer in this world.

This devotional was originally presented by Dr. Justin Imel, Sr., at Church of Christ Deer Park in Deer Park, Texas.

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