Average life expectancy continues to climb thanks to the advances in medicine, hygiene, nutrition, and improved working conditions. Yet life is still relatively short compared to eternity. David writes this Psalm asking God to make him aware of the fleeting nature of life in order to be focused and make the most out of every day. David wants to be reminded what the measure of his days really looks like. He does not want to live in the fantasy that this physical life will go on forever, unchanging. He does not want to live in denial. Rather he wants to know that every moment matters and is precious.
It is not easy to think about the end of our lives. Partly that is because this is all we know. But David also knows that there is something beyond this life. Living this life in the same way the wicked do is not an answer to the shortness of life. Living life in devotion to God is the answer. The only way to experience the fullness of this life is to acknowledge that it is short and to live fully sold out to Christ. Jesus said that He came to give us life, life abundant. There is both a quantitative and a qualitative aspect to that abundance. Jesus offers long life and good life. The long life includes life eternal which is the ultimate good life. But the good life also includes this life. It may not be the good life according to the latest version of the American Dream. It may be a life that has hardship, in fact most certainly will, but it will be a life that has purpose, meaning, accomplishment, and most of all a relationship with Christ that brings salvation and hope. As verse 7 says, O Lord for what do I wait? The answer is immediately supplied, My hope is in You.
Trust Christ. Put your faith in Him as you live this life and no matter how long or short is may be, it may be a life of abundance and is simply the precursor to life eternal.
I said, “I will guard my ways,
that I may not sin with my tongue;
I will guard my mouth with a muzzle,
so long as the wicked are in my presence.”
2 I was mute and silent;
I held my peace to no avail,
and my distress grew worse.
3 My heart became hot within me.
As I mused, the fire burned;
then I spoke with my tongue:
4 “O Lord, make me know my end
and what is the measure of my days;
let me know how fleeting I am!
5 Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths,
and my lifetime is as nothing before you.
Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Selah
6 Surely a man goes about as a shadow!
Surely for nothing[a] they are in turmoil;
man heaps up wealth and does not know who will gather!
7 “And now, O Lord, for what do I wait?
My hope is in you.