Psalm 90:12 is undoubtedly one of the most beloved verses in the entire Bible. In this verse Moses offered a short prayer to God after observing the cycle of human life. He prayed,
“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.”
For Moses, this was not just a nice verse to be memorized, but a deep and heartfelt prayer after considering the brevity of the human life. Through experience, he had become aware that human life was a pilgrimage as he observed the cycle of birth and death in the wilderness. His conclusion was that the wisest thing for any human to do is to number our days that we may get a heart to wisdom.
The years come and go. Often there is nothing remarkable about the new year. I slept on the night of 31st December, 2018 and awoke to 2019 with no change in my life, yet with each passing day I get closer to death than I was before. It is the unremarkable nature of the years that makes the prayer of Moses even more important. The next major event after birth is death. It is for this reason that each of us should pray that God would teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. It is very easy to live in forgetfulness and foolishness, however the fact that there will be a day of reckoning when each of us would give account of our lives demands that we live a life of wisdom.
The Apostle Paul in Ephesians 5:15-17 writes,
“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”
Paul’s warning is very similar to the prayer of Moses. According to him not only are we living on borrowed time, but this short time is also filled with evil. That’s why it is critical that we watch carefully how we live our lives, not as unwise but wise. His advice to the Ephesians was that in view of the times we should not live as foolish people but understand what the will of the Lord is. For Paul, a foolish life is one that does not consider the will of God.
As we begin 2019, what does it mean to live a life of wisdom?
According to Paul a life of wisdom is one that is lived in accordance with the will of God. That doesn’t sound like a very “deep” revelation. Often times when we talk about wisdom, people are looking for some concocted 10 point ideas that will usher them into their heaven on earth experience. Not so with the true wisdom that comes from above. This wisdom consists in living your life in accordance with God’s word. This means we must first know what the will of God is. And where do we find the will of God? We find the will of God in his word.
The Bible is not just a collection of books, it is the very word of God inspired by the Holy Spirit and it contains the will of God for our lives (2 Tim 3:16 & 17; 2 Pet 1:20 & 21). Therefore, if you want to know how to live a life of wisdom in 2019, you need to devote yourself to reading and meditating on God’s word in order to know what he requires of you.
God’s will for your life is simple and clear. If you’re not yet a follower of Jesus Christ, his will for you is that you repent of your sins and be reconciled to him by trusting in the finished work of Jesus Christ (2 Cor 5:17-21). And if you’re already a follower of Jesus Christ, his will for you is that you increasingly become conformed to the image of his Son Jesus Christ ( Rom 8:29; 1 Thess. 4:3).
None of us know what 2019 will bring, even though there are self-acclaimed prophets and apostles who will declare otherwise. However, for the believer in Jesus Christ, we don’t need any prophecies or visons about how to navigate the year. God has spoken clearly and unambiguously in his word and the wise thing is to study and walk according to his will.