While commenting on this psalm, Charles Spurgeon wrote:
“Read well this text. Then listen to the clamor of the market, the hum of the exchange, the din of the city streets, and remember that all this noise (for so the word busy means), this breach of quiet, is made surrounding unsubstantial, fleeing vanities. Broken rest, anxious fear, overworked brain, failing mind, and insanity are all steps in the process of attempting to gain riches, or, in other words, to load one’s self with thick clay, clay that all must soon leave.”
Please read Psalm 39:4-6 with that thought in mind.
David began this psalm with a desperate attempt to guard his own tongue. He tried to keep his lips from sinning; he tried to honor God in his own power. But he found that all of his attempts were for naught. Even when he gave his very best effort, he fell far short of godliness.
This only reminds us that one cannot achieve godliness over night! It takes years of struggle to learn how to tame one’s tongue. And even then, we are left with these fleshly bodies that are given to temptation. The wisest saint will tell you that you will never achieve godliness in this lifetime. You may find yourself growing more and more like Christ, but you will never achieve His holiness while still on this earth.
Should such vain strivings leave us in despair? If we cannot achieve godliness with even our best efforts, then should we even try?
Of course! But we must do so with a proper perspective. We may spend years, decades even, striving for godliness, and still fail to reach our goal. If this tempts us to despair, then we should ask, as David does, for God to teach us “what is the measure of my days.” When we do so, we will find that, even if we live to be one-hundred years-old, our days are “fleeting.”
David compares them to “a few handbreadths,” which was one of the shortest natural measures used in his time. Today, we would say that our life is but a vapor. Spurgeon says, “before the Eternal, all the age of frail man is less than one tick of a clock.” David goes on to compare his life to breath and shadow. Whatever analogy you want to make, when confronted with God, we must conclude that “my lifetime is as nothing before you.”
Meditating on eternity gives us hope. I can put forth my best effort in this lifetime, and struggle for all of my days. But I have an eternal amount of days left ahead of me. Compared to the glory that I will experience for all of eternity, this brief struggle is nothing.
How tragic it is that so many people live for this brevity! We began this post examining the market place, the stock exchange, or the city streets. We saw the people around us moving with such speed and making such noise. They are worried, anxious, busy, and striving after air. They may amass great riches and luxuries in this world, but where will that ultimately get them? This world and everything in it will one day pass away. Then all that people have been so worried about will disappear.
Why focus on these temporary pleasures? Let us instead fix our eyes on eternity. Let us take the measure of our days, and use every waking moment to grow in holiness. This may be difficult. It may lead to suffering. But that suffering is temporary. Our heavenly reward is eternal.
COMMENTS FOR THIS POST HAVE BEEN DISABLED.