So teach [us] to number our days, that we may apply [our] hearts unto wisdom. KJV
So teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom. NKJV
Teach us to make the most of our time, so that we may grow in wisdom. NLT
- Psa 90:12 -Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. NIV
So teach us to number our days, That we may get us a heart of wisdom. ASV
Oh! Teach us to live well! Teach us to live wisely and well! The Message
But in looking up the Hebrew words in that verse, the NASB gets it right when it translates, "So teach us to number our days, That we may present to You a heart of wisdom." Oh, that changes everything! The pursuit is not just gaining a heart of wisdom, but in presenting it to God. Let me just go through the verse a bit and come back to this little gem.
Teach us. The only way to learn is from God. Having the perfect planner won't do it, reading the blog of an amazing mom won't do it, not even the best book by the best Christian author can provide you with this knowledge. We need to ask God to teach us. We already know that true wisdom comes from Him and He delights in us asking (James 1:5). We are told to ask, seek and knock (Matthew 7:7-8). So where am I finding my knowledge? Is it from the One who is the Way, Truth and Life, or am I searching for outside sources to teach me? Is it a magazine, a blog, even a close friend? I need to get my knowledge from the Source.
To number our days. And it's not just a literal numbering of the days, although before this verse it talks about the years of man being about 80. We don't know how many days we have left; the idea here is to view our lives in light of eternity. Given that this life is not eternal, how am I spending my days? I definitely struggle with the temporal and eternal, because having an organized day or clean house makes our home a nice place to be, where I can minister to my children. But if I'm letting my kids run wild while I blog search (you know, that never happens in my home!) I'm not numbering my days, I'm not having the right perspective. What I've taught my children, and Lord willing they'll know God some day, that will last long before my home management notebook has turned to dust. Perspective.
That we may present to You a heart of wisdom. We ask God for help. We keep eternity as our perspective. Why all the fuss? To show God that we didn't squander our time and talents. That we may present to God a heart full of His wisdom on judgment day. There is great vanity in pursuing knowledge just for the sake of pursuing it. And it's wrong to do it to impress others. We aren't here to get a big head of good learnin' and then just walk around with our big head. The goal of life is use it to bring God glory. Again, if I spend all my time pursuing perfection (which will never be accomplished in this fallen world by me, because there is just One who is perfect), then I shy away from doing anything. And if I'm doing nothing, I am not being a good steward of my time.
Ultimately, having a heart full of God's wisdom will help us with all the other things. A heart full of God's wisdom will provide peace in the midst of the craziness that descends on our house right as I'm fixing dinner and the kids are playing underfoot while begging for the food I'm trying to fix. It will provide God's wisdom when I want to scream at my kids instead of disciplining them in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). It will provide wisdom when I'm tired and just want to have "me time" instead of serving my family as Jesus served (Philippians 2:4).