Over these past few weeks, our nation has been brought face-to-face with the reality of mortality. As Christians, we understand that this life is “…even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (James 4:14b). As much as we try to cling onto this earthly existence, we all know that life is frail and transient. The tragedy is when mankind goes through a pandemic and still trusts in the “arm of flesh” rather than turning to God who is the giver, sustainer, and taker of life.
Moses was one of the wisest men in human history. And we are privileged today to hear from Moses twice in our Bible reading. In Psalm 90, we have the only Psalm in the book that was written by Moses. And although it was written many years ago, its relevance is astounding in our current situation. Moses understood what most avoid thinking about. He understood the frailty of man in light of the eternity of God. He said, “For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told. The days of our years are threescore and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. Who knoweth the power of thine anger? Even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath. So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” (Psalm 90:9-12). God is eternal but man’s earthly existence is temporal. God is powerful but mankind is frail. When Moses considered the frailty of man, it made him also consider his great need of wisdom to understand the shortness of our earthly existence. To number our days is of great importance, yet it is often neglected by most people. To number our days is to consider the brevity of them. When we reflect upon the brevity of life, it leads us to make wise choices in light of eternity.
In Deuteronomy 32, we have the “Song of Moses” as he nears his final days on this earth. Moses, likely with sadness in his heart, recounts the rebellion of the people of Israel in light of the faithfulness of God. As Moses considered the apostasy of Israel, he expressed the root of their rebellion- “For they are a nation void of counsel, neither is there any understanding in them. O that they were wise, that they would understand this, that they would consider their latter end!” (Deut. 32:28-29) If they would have considered their “latter end” of judgment, it may have given them the wisdom to deter them from rebellion.
Let us consider the “latter end” of our choices as we number our days and apply our hearts unto wisdom. “How much better it is to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver! (Proverbs 16:16)