For the director of music. For Jeduthun. A psalm of David. 1 I said, “I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin; I will put a muzzle on my mouth while in the presence of the wicked.” 2 So I remained utterly silent, not even saying anything good. But my anguish increased; 3 my heart grew hot within me. While I meditated, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue: 4 “Show me, Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is. 5 You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Everyone is but a breath, even those who seem secure. 6 “Surely everyone goes around like a mere phantom; in vain they rush about, heaping up wealth without knowing whose it will finally be. 7 “But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you. 8 Save me from all my transgressions; do not make me the scorn of fools. 9 I was silent; I would not open my mouth, for you are the one who has done this. 10 Remove your scourge from me; I am overcome by the blow of your hand. 11 When you rebuke and discipline anyone for their sin, you consume their wealth like a moth— surely everyone is but a breath. 12 “Hear my prayer, Lord, listen to my cry for help; do not be deaf to my weeping. I dwell with you as a foreigner, a stranger, as all my ancestors were. 13 Look away from me, that I may enjoy life again before I depart and am no more.”
We have little control over when we die, and death may come long before we may think it should. Having a younger brother die suddenly two years ago and my mother die earlier this year this Psalm rings a loud gong in my heart and mind! The middle part of the psalm asks for our willingness to acknowledge our lack of control in life. We must face up to our mortality, and it is important that this is not too late so that it surprise us. God’s life is eternal; our life has a beginning and will have an end. Compared with God, our life is like something just a few centimetres long compared with something that is kilometres long. It’s like a breath. People may look as if they are standing firm and could live forever but suddenly drop dead, like my brother – who was otherwise very healthy except for his heart.
So when was the last time you reviewed your life in the light of your mortality. Are you fulfilling God’s call and purpose on your life? Are you living for His glory, receiving His accolades or are you living for yourself. I have found myself asking and re-asking these questions over this season of my life and they have caused adjustment, reflection, repentance and grace to flow to and through me.
Father – may You give us grace to face our mortality and weigh our lives in the light of Your call on our lives.
Written by Ps. Richard Botta