The Meaning Of Psalm 90:12 (teach us to number our days)

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12

I know we don’t like to think about it, but life is short. One day our lives here on this earth will end. And the meaning of Psalm 90:12 is a challenge to not just number our days but use them purposefully. 

This is a verse that I’m convinced if we meditated on and applied our approach to life would drastically change. It’s a powerful verse that every Christian should know. Let’s dive into the Psalm 90:12 meaning. 

The Context Of Psalm 90:12

The book of Psalms is a book of poems, songs, and prayers that’s divided into five separate books written by several different authors. Psalm 90 was written by Moses and is one of the oldest Psalms. 

Many scholars consider Psalm 90 to be a prayer of Moses. And it appears to be motivated by Israel’s 40 years of wandering in the desert. He uses this prayer to reflect on the timelessness of God and the brevity of man. (Psalm 90:1-4)

God is not restricted by time; 1,000 years is but a day to the Lord. But because of our sin we have received God’s judgment for our actions (Psalm 90:5-8).

But all is not hopeless. God has sought out to forgive and restore. And while we all face death, there’s still blessing in this life. Which leads to “Teach us to number our days” in the Psalm 90:12 meaning. 

The Meaning Of Psalm 90:12

To help us better understand the meaning of Psalm 90:12 for us today, we are going to break this verse down into two sections. 

Teach Us To Number Our Days Meaning

Because of our sin we will all face death. Many live in denial, they spend their 70-80 years pretending it won’t end. But it will, the reality is our days our numbered. 

Moses here is pondering this reality, what it will be like to stand before God and be held accountable for what we did in this life. He’s facing this reality head on, one day we will all die. 

But Psalm 90:12 isn’t just about understanding this reality. It’s more about what we do with our numbered days. Moses is challenging us to realize that our days are few AND to use our time wisely. 

Many put off the most important things in life because they can do it tomorrow. But one day, there won’t be a tomorrow. Rather than waiting, we should start using our time wisely and listening to what God says is best. 

We should number our days that way we can see our time is coming to an end. That will help us use our time to its fullest. 

That We May Gain A Heart Of Wisdom Meaning 

While the “teach us to number our days” is the part of this verse we tend to focus on, the point of this text really is about gaining a heart of wisdom. 

Wisdom is numbering our days and living with sensibility and within God’s purpose. Each day is valuable and a gift that God has entrusted us with. Therefore, we should use our days in God honoring ways. 

If we do this we will grow in wisdom and prioritize what’s most important in our life. 

How To Apply Psalm 90:12 To Your Life 

So how can we actually live this out? I want to end by giving you 3 practical ways we can apply the meaning of Psalm 90:12 to our lives. 

1. Seek God Daily 

Each day you have is a gift from God. Followers of Jesus should seek God’s wisdom on how to best live throughout the day.

So what does this mean? Prayer, mediation, studying God’s Word, journaling, getting out in nature, and simply reflecting on your day are all great ways to seek God. Each of us are created to connect differently, and we should find ways we can do so with God each day. 

Remember the first part of the verse says, “teach us to number our days.” When we seek God he will do just that. 

For a great resource on how to connect with God daily check out Mark Moore’s Core 52: Core 52: A Fifteen-Minute Daily Guide to Build Your Bible IQ in a Year

2. Keep The End In Mind 

I know we don’t like thinking about it, but one day our life on this earth will end. While that’s a sobering thought, it’s also reality. And if we keep that end in mind it can give a greater sense of purpose and urgency to what we need to do today. 

We shouldn’t put off what we need to do and what God is calling us to do. When we keep the end in mind that will help us see that our days are numbered. 

Followers of Jesus should also not lose sight that death is not the end, rather the beginning. Keeping the end in mind means that we focus on the promise we have of eternity with our creator. That should bring hope and encouragement to keep going.

You might also like: What Does The Bible Say About Death?

3. Prioritize What’s Most Important 

We tend to prioritize what’s most urgent or pressing in our life. But that mindset leads us to do not what’s most important, but what’s in front us. The result, we miss out on what’s most important. 

We need to flip the approach. What’s most important should take first precedent in our lives. Connecting with God, providing for our families, serving those around us, should be at the top of our list. God has entrusted us with these, and other things, and we need to manage them well. 

What is it at the end of your life that you want to be known for? A loving parent, a caring friend, a follower of Jesus, a generous person, what is it? However you answer that question you need to make sure you prioritize those things above the lesser things in your life. 

That’s not to say the work email, or whatever, isn’t important. Rather it’s not the most important. The most important comes first. 

Closing Thoughts On The Psalm 90:12 Meaning 

In John 10:10 Jesus said he came that we could have the full life, the good life. He has something incredible for you. And I think the path to get there is found when we understand our days here are limited and we use them to seek him and follow him. 

So, take this verse and reflect on it. Think about what it means for you to number your days and focus on what God is calling you to do. If you do, I’m convinced your life, though short, will be rich. 

Jeffery Curtis Poor
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