Text: “Lord, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am.”
Good morning, would-be wise Christian! You are hopefully experienced enough in life and in your God-given Christian faith, to understand how very easy it is to begin to get far too comfortable in the lifestyle and habits of modern, everyday, living. You KNOW that you and I, from time to time, desperately need a true reality check. David, the Psalmist in Psalm 39, expresses his need for such reality checks, as he prays to the Lord for renewed insight concerning his human frailty.
Verse 4. “Make me to know mine end. The Psalmist would know more of the shortness of life that he might better bear its transient ills, and herein we may safely kneel with him, uttering the same petition. That there is no end to its misery is the hell of Hell; that there is an end to life’s sorrow is the hope of all who have a hope beyond the grave. God is the best teacher of the Divine philosophy, which looks for an expected end. They who see death through the Lord’s glass see a fair sight, which makes them forget the evil of life in foreseeing the end of life.” (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 189)
Verse 4b. “That I may know how frail I am. There is nothing that will bring men/women to our senses like knowing how frail our mortal bodies really are. When one gets older, and illnesses seem to become more frequent barriers to climb; and the beauty of one’s countenance begins to wrinkle; and the hair grows grey or begins to fall out – that is when we begin to get a clearer picture of the true realities of transient life, and look much closer to God in fuller dependence upon His great grace and mercy. The pride of mankind is wonderfully diminished by the passing of time.
“But I trusted in thee, O Lord: I said, Thou art my God. My times are in Thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me.” (Psalm 31:14-15)
Verse 5. “And mine age is as nothing before Thee. Before the Eternal, all the age of frail man is less than one ticking of a clock.” (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 189)
There is no greater ‘reality check’ for us – saved and unsaved souls – as the ageing process. One day we seem to be able to run for miles; the next, we find difficulty in walking the length of a street. One day we can climb mountains, yet, often suddenly, we are fearful of climbing the stairs! Mankind’s fallen human nature takes a huge knock, and we realize that our allotted time on earth is indeed, running out. What a huge relief it is then to KNOW one is ‘…safe in the arms of Jesus, safe on His gentle breast…’
“The Eternal God is thy Refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms…” (Deuteronomy 33:27)
Verse 5b. “…Verily (truly) every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Dictionary Definition: Vanity – (noun) the priding of oneself on one’s personal appearance, accomplishments, etc.; conceit…folly or futility, something vain. (The Chambers Dictionary, page 1841)
“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”
Of every pride of man; every mortal achievement; every social or political status; every state of mankind without Christ, the preacher declares: “Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher, ALL is vanity.” (Ecclesiastes 12:8)
Ageing and illnesses, and sudden disasters and impending death – all act as vital ‘reality checks’ for us, and can – IF the Lord wills – work together to bring fallen mankind to our senses as to the things of Eternity. Suddenly our minds are lifted out of the stupor of everyday life and its mundane pastimes; suddenly we get focused on things Eternal, things that really matter to us as creatures of the Living Creator Lord God. If God permits, we are ‘quickened’ by His Spirit, shown our Eternal need of Christ and His Sacrifice at Calvary’s Cross; we are granted faith to believe and receive His Salvation, and we find certain rest in Him. Praise God for His grace to us!
“But God, Who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were DEAD in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace are ye saved); and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in Heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:5-6)
Verse 6. “Surely every man walketh in a vain shew. Worldly men walk like travelers in a mirage, deluded, duped, deceived, soon to be filled with disappointment and despair. (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 189)
The lives of so many today, in this increasingly apostate 21st Century, are completely taken up with this gathering together of worldly riches and material possessions. In the light of Eternity, all these earthly riches and worldly possessions will count for nought.
Verse 6. “…He heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them. Men rise up early and sit up late to build a house, and then the stanger tramps along its passages, laughs in its chambers, and forgetful of its first builder, calls it all his own. Here is one of the evils under the sun for which no remedy can be prescribed.” (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 189)
Thought: Let us check our reality now, today, would-be wise Christian!