I recently read Psalm 39 and am struck by the relevance that this Psalm holds toward an eternal outlook on life and our present times.
Many in this day and age are living in fear; fear of COVID, fear of government leadership (or lack thereof); fear of financial uncertainty; fear of dying; fear of pain; and the list goes on. A friend recently lamented how sad it is that many Christians’ mental, emotional, and psychological make-up is little different than that of the world at large.
Christ died and rose again so that we do not need to live in fear. Now enthroned in heaven, Jesus intercedes for us in prayer, reconciling our relationship with God the Father so that we can enjoy a glorious future when this earthly life comes to an end. We need not fear because God is in control, and any momentary afflictions to which God subjects us, no matter how severe, are temporary.
Nevertheless, our in-the-moment trials are frequently difficult, and we seek release and reprieve from our pain.
David found himself in such a position, feeling the heavy hand of God on his life that he recognized as judgment for sin. Even though he understood the temporary nature of human existence, he cried out for relief, that he may enjoy life for at least a moment before going to his grave.
Desiring to know what one’s future holds is nothing new, and we all hope for pleasant days ahead. This Psalm encourages me to reach out to God in tough times. As this Psalm concludes open-ended, however, we must, like David, trust God to use our lives as He sees fit for His honor and glory. One’s future may be difficult or easy, marked by pain or pleasure, but it is nonetheless temporary.
We are sojourners on this earth. In the end, the follower of Jesus will find his or her self living in eternal glory, joy, and peace in the presence of God. Only then will we be home, and in that, we can take comfort.
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.
8 Deliver me from all my transgressions.
Do not make me the scorn of the fool!
9 I am mute; I do not open my mouth,
for it is you who have done it.
10 Remove your stroke from me;
I am spent by the hostility of your hand.
11 When you discipline a man
with rebukes for sin,
you consume like a moth what is dear to him;
surely all mankind is a mere breath! Selah
12 “Hear my prayer, O Lord,
and give ear to my cry;
hold not your peace at my tears!
For I am a sojourner with you,
a guest, like all my fathers.
13 Look away from me, that I may smile again,
before I depart and am no more!”
Psalm 39:4 -13 ESV
Scripture quotations taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.