Wisconsin Lutheran Chapel logo

God’s Word for You

Psalm 90:12 tomorrow’s tomorrows

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Due to circumstances beyond my control I was unable to send a devotion yesterday. It is good to be back in my office today.

PSALM 90:12

12 Teach us to number our days in such a way
  that we bring a heart of wisdom.

This verse turns the Psalm from a refrain about the briefness of life to the prayer of the believer about the life of the world to come. Moses is writing his poem in such a way that there are two futures on display at the same time. First, there is the future of this life on earth, but secondly and more importantly, there is the hidden future of eternal life in heaven.

Regarding this life, Moses asks for wisdom in the way that we number our days. Let us make the most of the time we have left in this world.  Even if we’re brave enough to think that we’re not all that close to our dying day, we still need to use our time wisely. In a year, God gives everyone, including Christians, fifty-two Sundays. During how many of those will they make an effort to get to church, to listen to the preaching of the gospel, to sing God’s praises and pray with their fellow Christians? How many times will they confess their sins and listen with joy to the proclamation of forgiveness? May they always strive to be like Mary to receive the “one thing that is needed” (Luke 10:42). This is the earthly future Moses has in mind.

The other future is the one the Old Testament writers could only hint about, because Christ was veiled from their eyes. Yet they had the promises and the proclamation. The promises began with the words spoken in Eve’s hearing to the condemned serpent: “I will put hatred between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers. He (Eve’s descendant) will crush your head, and you will strike his heel” (Genesis 3:15). There is Christ, as clear as the rising sun, but too many even today don’t have the wit to see him and refuse to see their Savior. The promise was renewed to the Patriarchs beginning with the promise to Noah (Genesis 9:16), a promise that was “the everlasting covenant.” This was expanded for Abraham to mean a blessing for all mankind through Abraham’s family (Genesis 18:18), and this was renewed to Isaac and Jacob. The prophets preached this gospel promise, and they were sometimes given a glimpse, as if through a partly open curtain, of what was coming. Isaiah even saw certain moments of the crucifixion and centered the second half of his book around the suffering servant of God: “By his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).

Knowing and embracing this promise with both arms, Moses now weaves it into his prayer with the words, “a heart of wisdom.” An unbeliever has no true wisdom at all, as Solomon teaches us in the Proverbs (Proverbs 1:7, 1:20-33, 9:12, 10:13, etc.). True wisdom or godly wisdom is faith that trusts God’s promises and gospel, and this faith is a gift that God gives through his word that leads to eternal life: “For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds victory in store for the upright; he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless” (Proverbs 2:6-7).

Faith acknowledges the dire infection, the deadly condition, the terrible inheritance of original sin. Original sin ruins and stains everything in our lives. How tragic for those who have been so abused by Satan or so neglected by their families as to die without even the knowledge of original sin and not even a hint of knowledge about Christ, even though God puts forth so much effort to send out his gospel to all nations. But anyone can see that it isn’t the far reaches of the world that are deprived of the gospel, but the house next door where Christ is rejected and spurned. Moses says that they will be so afraid of the nations around them that they will even be frightened by the rustling of a windblown leaf (Leviticus 26:36). One of the ways sin ruins humanity is by blinding mankind to the solution to sin: Christ.

Let’s look again at the words, “that we bring a heart of wisdom.” This can also be translated, “that we may be guided by wisdom as we go about our tasks” (Luther). This isn’t just about today. It’s really about the promise of heaven. Paul says: “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men” (1 Corinthians 15:19). Our prayers for guidance and strength and comfort, etc., that we pray so earnestly day by day and week by week are not only for these days and weeks in the calendar. Our earthly needs are prayed for and met, but our spiritual needs, beginning with forgiveness, should generally be the key and most common petitions we make. What we ask for is a heart of faith so that as we do go about our daily tasks, we do this with an eye on the gates of heaven. Let us give glory to God here today, because we want to give glory to God in all of tomorrow’s eternal tomorrows.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim Smith

About Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.


Browse Devotion Archive