Psalm 39:4 – “Lord, make me to know my end, And what is the measure of my days, That I may know how frail I am. (NKJV)
Death, few, very.
From a human perspective, those are the answers to the Psalmists requests in our Bible verse for today. Death is our end. Few are the number of days we have in this life. And we are very, very frail when compared to what this wicked, sin-filled world can throw at us.
Does admitting your frailty make you a “negative” person? Is this speaking “bad confessions” into our lives?
Hardly. It’s reality.
Is it a “negative confession” if you proclaim “I will be killed if I stand on these train tracks too long”. Your “bad confession” doesn’t cause the train to come down the tracks. It’s coming no matter what you “confess”. I have often chuckled at the silliness of the “speak negative” mentality that says if a person sneezes, they shouldn’t say “I think I’m getting a cold” because they just “spoke a cold” into their life by their negative words.
There’s a huge difference between being pessimistic
and addressing the reality of life in a sin-cursed world.
It’s profitable to understand our frail, finite nature compared to God’s infinite nature. Understanding the TRUE nature of things helps us to respond correctly, not live in a make-believe world that we attempt to “confess” into existence despite the reality of what God says about this sin-cursed world.
Am I saying we need to walk around being “sad sack” pessimists? No. We don’t need either extreme. We don’t need to walk around in a fantasy afraid of thinking or speaking something “negative” into our lives; nor do we need to wander around in a pity party bemoaning the hardships of life.
WE NEED THE TRUTH.
And the truth will set us free. Both extremes deny the truth and come with a set of problems. The “eternal optimist” or “positive confession” adherent denies the reality of a sin-corrupted, wicked world where suffering, tragedy, poverty and sickness are very real and coming to your doorstep sooner or later. To speak, act and live as if these negative aspects of this world aren’t reality is to deny what God has declared as the curse for man’s sin on His perfect creation. The curse is a part of life just as much as blessing. It makes no difference if we choose to ignore this fact.
2 Corinthians 8:2 that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality. (NKJV)
On the other hand, the “poor me”, “doom and gloom” “life stinks” person is guilty of denying the flip-side of reality that is just as true. Yes, we live in sin-corrupted world full of suffering and sickness. However, God can literally bring joy, happiness and peace to ANY situation or circumstance. But the Creator will do things His way and in His timing, not ours. Life is NEVER “doom and gloom” for the person who has a Godly perspective.
In Psalms 39, verses 4-7, God gives us a dose of reality; an idea of how things really are. Why? To depress us? No, to give us a true perspective on life; to emphasize His greatness compared to our weakness; to highlight our dependence on Him so that He may be glorified through His mercy and goodness.
Each observation has both positive and negative aspects – both meant to glorify God.
- Psalm 39:4 – “Lord, make me to know my end, And what is the measure of my days, That I may know how frail I am. (NKJV)
- What is our end? Death. That is the inevitable, the equalizing destiny for us all. But God has given us a choice of where that “end” will “end up”. God knows we will all die. So He has given us choice of eternal life or eternal condemnation at the price of His very own Son.
- Death is the ultimate “reality check”. We will all die. Where we end up is our choice. God has graciously given us that choice.
- What is the measure of our days? Short, unsure, like a vapor (James 4.14). We don’t know how long we have in this life so there is no time to waste. On the one hand, it’s a bit scary to realize that today you could die a hundred different ways; but on the other hand it really puts a sense of urgency into our minds that time is short and we are to be about our Fathers business and not waste a moment.
- This sense of imminent death also causes us to long for the security of salvation in Christ knowing that we could be face to face with God at any moment giving an account for our life.
- When we understand that death gets us all, and it could come at any time, we all of sudden begin to grasp how truly frail we are. The result? The greatness, mercy and love of God is glorified through our frailty. To the degree that we are frail, God is infinitely more powerful and has provided the way for us to ultimately overcome this frailty.
- Psalm 39:5-6 – Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths, And my age is as nothing before You; Certainly every man at his best state is but vapor. Surely every man walks about like a shadow; Surely they busy themselves in vain; He heaps up riches, And does not know who will gather them. (NKJV)
- Our days are very short. Our age, even our old age, is nothing compared to God. Even in the very best of circumstances, a man’s life is like a wisp of smoke that appears and quickly drifts away into nothing. I’d say that’s pretty negative. But it’s reality.
- This life is like a shadow. It’s not reality. Eternity is reality. Heaven and hell are reality. This life is a whisper of time; a moment of preparation and decision that is a breath, a wink, a vapor compared to eternity. Understanding this reality leads us to spend this short time in preparation for what really counts, what really lasts, what really matters.
- What’s the “positive” reality? Our days are short, but God knows it and has given us everything we need to live a Godly and fulfilled life (2Peter 1).
- While our “best” is like a vapor, God’s “mediocrity” (if there were such a thing) will be far beyond anything that we can conceive or dream of (1Cor 2.9); and God is preparing the next life for us even now (John 14.2-3).
- Do you “surely busy” yourself in vain? Are you running around chasing, storing up and coveting the things of this life as if this life were MORE than a vapor, MORE than wink in time?
- Psalm 39:7 – “And now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You. (NKJV)
- The result of this “reality check”? Our hope turns to God.
Depressing? Negative? A “bad confession”? Only if your happiness and security is tied to this temporary, sin-corrupted world.
If our faith is in God, if our reality is based on God’s reality, then these “negative truths” only serve to give us a wake up call and rightfully shake our trust in the things of this world which so quickly and unexpectedly can disappear. These “negative truths” increase our dependence on God, increase our hope in Him and increase our love for a Savior who is preparing our “true reality” even now.
Our end is death. Our days are short and unsure. Our lives are frail. We don’t need to busy ourselves chasing after the things of this life. We know these truths and our hope is in God (Read Ecclesiastes).
The “negative truth” of this life leads us to the ultimate positive truth: God is our hope and joy.
Lord God, help us today to see truth no matter whether it is positive or negative. Let us see reality according to You. Our hope is in You, In Jesus Name, amen.
Contemplation: Do you believe you can avoid or change the negative realities of life by being “positive”? Are you overly pessimistic about life and truly “negative” about things?
Application: Each of these attitudes puts life into man’s hands and ignores the truth that God has set before us. Life in this sin-cursed world comes with sickness, sorrow, suffering, futility and tragedy as well as blessings. That’s reality. But its also reality that Christians are to live above the emotions brought on by the hardships of life and find peace, joy and happiness in all circumstances.
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?