This blog is my attempt to speak what I know about this single verse, Psalm90:12, because one person commented in requesting/seeking the true meaning of this verse. Then, I have been thinking about this verse ever since (days and nights), and Here is what I know so far. Feel free to add, agree, or disagree, but please do not argue. Simply say anything you want to say, and leave it there. (Yeah, you can still say "hi" here … :D)
Assumption: Before saying anything, I would like to make one assumption about both Psalm 90 and Genesis. I know people have been arguing the true writer(s) of these two books for hundreds years, but I make an assumption that Psalm 90 and Genesis were written by the man of God, Moses, so that everyone can be on the same page. (Yeah, I have quite a lot of science background, so I feel the need to state my assumption first.)
Psalm 90:12, "So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." (NKJV)
The very first word, "So", suggests there are connections between this verse and previous ones. Hence by scanning through previous verses from 1 to 11, I can see a number of things from those verses constantly appearing and having connections with verse 12: Time and generation, the natures of two beings — God and man, and two clear sections of this psalm.
1. Time and Generation:
It is not hard to see time and generation from verse 1-11. The idea of "days" in ancient Jewish writing is very different from the modern idea — 24 hours. The ancient idea of days is simply periods of time. One good example is in Genesis when God created heavens, earth, and everything in them in six "days" and rested from all His work on the 7th day. Seven "days" mean seven periods of time(, and THE 7th day is not ended yet if you read Genesis Ch2 carefully). ;) And, we know that this Psalm is the oldest psalm and an ancient writing. Therefore, to number our "days" can be seen as to number seasons of God in our lives, to number lessons learned by each generation from/about God, and/or simply to number years, months, days, hours, or minutes. I feel strongly about the first two — seasons of God in our lives and in each generation.
2. Natures of Two Beings — God and Man:
By showing the unchanging nature of God and the rapidly changing nature of man (verse 1-11), Moses teaches the younger generation who/what God is and who/what/where we are. Thus, Moses prays, "teach us …" I then think that we ought to humble ourselves and be teachable before God before we can "gain a heart of wisdom." In verse 11, one particular aspect of God is emphasized — the wrath of God. I think verse 11 and 12 can be linked together by a verse in Proverbs 9:10, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding." The wrath of God is part of "the knowledge of the Holy One", and it [the wrath of God] can lead us to the fear of the Lord and result in "the beginning of wisdom".
3. Two Sections:
First section, Verses 1-11 seem to show/educate readers who/what God is and who/what/where we are as I mentioned earlier, and the second section starts from verse 12. Notice that Moses does not start to pray/to intercede until verse 12. Beside, Moses may also try to show the young generation how they should pray. Often when we pray, we start our prayers with something like — God, help ME. Unlike our prayers and similar to many great prayers in the Bible, Moses starts it by stating the natures of God. Until he lays out all elements from 1-11, he then begins to intercede for the Irael as a whole in verse 12. If you think about it, everything from our prayers to be heard to be answered all comes down to the natures of God really — unchanged, mercyful, loving, kind, faithful, truth, righteous, just, joyful, all-knowing, almighty, …, etc. :)
(A butterfly basks in the sunshine in Scotland. Image source: BBC)
Last, wisdom can be given and gained as Jame suggests that anyone who lacks wisdom should "ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him." (James 1:5) The next verse James emphasizes the importance of having faith when we pray, which goes back to the reason and the base that we have faith: the natures of God again. :)
Now I have laid out almost all elements in this verse, and hopefully reading verse 12 again, any of you will feel the difference, the connections, and how this verse can fix into the whole image of the bible. :) However, I am still puzzling what "to number" our days really means.
~KKai (still puzzling)