A teaching originally given in 1999 on my 66th birthday, now updated in text form for my 80th. You can also listen to the teaching in our Audio section (see the Single Teachings)
“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). So I did! I did what the Bible says, people, as I’m a Bible teacher. The word “number” is also translated “count” in the KJV. On my 80th birthday the count was — get ready for this — 29,220 days! Yes, 29,220 days I have been on this planet Earth.
At around 3,000 days, I gave my heard to the Lord Jesus Christ in a Salvation Army citadel in Moulsham Street, Chelmsford, Essex, England. I don’t know the exact date. So for some 26,000 plus days, I have belonged to the family of God. On day 8,878, I was married to my first wife. Her name is Vivien. She’s still my wife! On day 9,237, we graduated from college as ministers of the gospel. On day 9,452, I became a father for the first time, and so I could go on.
“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” Why is that? Mortality is something that happens to us all. What is this verse saying? Remember your mortality. It says in earlier in the Psalm that our days are just like the grass in the field that grows up in the morning, it is cut, put in the oven, and then it’s all over. And the older you get, the quicker the days go by. When you’re young, you think you have got all the time in the world. As you start getting through middle age and then into that wonderful category of being a senior citizen, the years just seem to fly.
So Lord, teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. “Teach us to live wisely and well!” (MSG). And so I ask you, what are you going to do with today? Have you thought about it? What are you going to get out of today? What are your desires and plans and programs for today? What do you want God to do for you today? Or more importantly, what are you going to do for God today? So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.
Get your day sponsored by God
I’m going to give you four things that I think we ought to do about our day. First of all, get your day sponsored by God. This is most important. Get your day sponsored by God. I’ve often sang a chorus based on Psalm 118:24, “This is the day, this is the day that the Lord has made, that the Lord has made. We will rejoice, we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Who made today? God made the day. This is God’s day. Take God as your sponsor for today. We all know what sponsorship means. God is your sponsor for today.
Let’s go to another verse, Psalm 84:10, “For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere.” A day in your courts, that is, in the presence of God, is better than a thousand days anywhere else. “I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.” Or as it might better be translated, “I would rather choose to sit at the threshold of the house of my God.” I’d rather just sit on the doorstep than to dwell in the midst of all the luxury of the tent of wickedness.
Take God as your sponsor for today. When you think about it, this is the only time God has given you anyway. He has not given you tomorrow. He hasn’t even given you this afternoon. He’s given you this moment. So, make this moment count for God. Have God as your sponsor for the day.
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23). God’s compassions, His mercies, do not fail and there is a new supply of them every morning. When you woke up this morning, God had your supply ready with your name on it. He is a compassionate God. Your sponsor looks after you. He’s not just there to make money. He looks after you. His compassions fail not.
He has provided you with everything you will ever need for every situation you will ever run across and He’s hidden it in the inner man. You’ve got it. This is why I’m so careful about the songs that we sing, because I only want to sing songs that talk about what the Word teaches. I don’t want man’s theology. I can’t stand the songs that some people sing, when they’re singing about what they want God to do for them. Usually they are singing about something God has already done for them and they haven’t recognized it yet. And you can sing or pray until you’re blue in the face to ask God to do something for you, but if He’s already done it, He can’t do anything else. If you’ve got it, you’ve got it.
If you haven’t got it, you don’t need it. As Garrison Keillor says about the little general story in Lake Wobegon, Ralph’s Pretty Good Grocery — if he doesn’t have what you want, then you don’t need it. God’s mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning. Have God as a sponsor for your day. And not forgetting Psalm 23:6, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
So number one, “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” Take God as the sponsor for your day. Say, “This is the Lord’s day. This isn’t my day. I’m not going to waste this day. I’m going to fulfill this day according to the guidance that God has given to me and I’m going to express the Jesus Christ that is in me, and so express the compassion of God to everybody I meet.”
Speak to your day, talk to it
In Job chapter 7 verse 6 we read how some people describe their day. “My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle and come to their end without hope” (Job 7:6). “So you want to know how my day is? I’ll tell you. My wife threw a saucepan at me this morning. My boss is mad at me. I missed the bus. There’s nothing worse than watching the sight of the back of the bus just going down the street. If I haven’t stopped for one second to kick the dog as I went out the front door, I might have made it. My days are without hope. I’m not living; I’m just existing. You call this life? This is a backside of the world. I don’t know why I’m even living here.”
Have you met people like that? How can we fly like eagles when we have to work with turkeys everyday? Psalm 45 tells us the way I believe would be better for you to talk about your day. Psalm 45 verse 1, “My heart overflows with a pleasing theme; … my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe.” It’s just bubbling up from within me. I’m just so excited about day 29,220 that it’s bubbling up inside of me.
Have a good theme for your day. I love that first phrase, “My heart overflows with a goodly theme.” Speak to your day. Talk to your day; affirm what you want out of this day. Affirm that this is the Lord’s Day. Affirm that God’s goodness is going to flow not only through you but to you. You’re going to be a magnet for good during this day. God’s money is going to flow towards you. I love the word “affluence” because it comes from the word “to flow.” Affluent people are people through whose hands many things should be flowing, helping the world to be a better place.
Speak to your day, have a goodly theme for your day. Billy Graham’s wife had a sign up over her kitchen sink that said, “Divine service will be held here three times a day.” Have a theme for your day, take God into the everyday aspects of your life. I read some of the incidents in the Bible. I think of the man in Acts chapter 3, the man who laid at the gate of the temple, and Peter and John, which happen to be my first two names, thanks to godly parents.
Peter and John were walking as they were accustomed to do to the temple. They’d walk that path many, many times. It was just an ordinary everyday occurrence. And there was a beggar sitting at the side. It could well have been on previous days, they had tossed the beggar a coin because it was part of their custom, unlike today when we just look away and say, “Go, get yourself a job,” or something. In those days, it was considered a spiritual experience to share with the poor.
On this particular day they were just walking along and the beggar asked them for money. Peter suddenly got an inspiration from God during an ordinary everyday occurrence and said, “I have no silver and gold” (verse 6). Well, I’ve been there and done that. I know what that’s like. It’s not a sin to be poor, it’s just mighty inconvenient at times.
“I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you.” You see, he was in tune with God on that day, at the start of the day. He had got himself ready to be used as God’s servant wherever God wanted him. And God wanted to use him just as he was walking up to the gate of the temple. He haven’t even got into church, haven’t even sat in the pew or sung the first song. He was just walking up the path and God said, “This is a moment I want you to do something today.”
Speak to your day, have a godly theme for your day. This is the only time you’ve got, folks, you better make use of it. “What man is there who desires life and loves many days, that he may see good?” (Psalm 34:12). The New International Version paraphrases it, this man “desires to see many good days.” We all like good days, don’t we? Monday is not a good day in a lot of people’s minds. Monday is the pits. You’ve got to work, “I owe, I owe, it’s off to work I go.” Wednesday is the “hump” day, when you pass the middle of the week. And TGFF, thank God for Friday!
Desire a good day, and why not? Even if you are or are not going to work, why can’t it be a good day? This could be the very day that your boss says you’re going to get a rise. This could be a very day when you solve the problem that you left sitting on your desk last Friday night. This could be a good day, and it will be a good day if you make it a good day. It won’t be a good day if you just expect it to happen. This is a good day. This is the day the Lord has made, so let us speak to our days.
Watch what you say about your day. That’s what I’m saying there. So, get your day sponsored by God and speak to your day.
Accomplish something today
“Don’t be silly, this is my vacation.” I’m just going to veg out. We all know how to veg out. You don’t have to take a college course, Veg Out 101; it just comes naturally, but we are believers. We have a loving father. He wants us to make something of today. We need to accomplish something today.
No doubt you’ve read the story of the man born blind in John chapter 9. “1As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. 2And his disciples asked him, Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind? 3Jesus answered, It was not that this man sinned, or his parents…” There should be a full stop right there in our English translations (CSB) and a comma at the end of the verse. “… but that the works of God might be displayed in him, 4we must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work.” The Message Bible paraphrases it as “Jesus said, ‘You’re asking the wrong question. You’re looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do.”
Accomplish something today, amplify your possibilities, get busy with God’s business while it is daylight. God has given you this day. Make something of it, accomplish something today. And what is His business? His business, it says in the church epistles, is to “edify one another” (Romans 14:19, I Thessalonians 5:11). What does edify mean? Build up. Help build up one another. We all need encouragement. I need encouragement today. I’ve been around here for 29,220 days and counting! I need encouragement to see the next 365 days or to head for the next milestone of 32,872 days.
Accomplish something today. We must work while it is light. God has given us the light, God has given us tremendous freedom. We thought that we had the free flow of the gospel. We have television and radio. Now God has given us the internet and a worldwide audience. What great opportunities we have to accomplish something today. What God wants you to do, nobody else can do. He’s got you where you are so that you can do what He wants you alone to do. No one else can do it for you. There are no substitutes. If you don’t do it folks, it doesn’t get done. But you can do it because He’s given you the power within to do it. He never asked you to do anything that you can’t do. Accomplish something today.
No, I do not mean to be a workaholic. God never made us to be workaholics. God made us to accomplish things. There is a difference. “Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (II Corinthians 6:2b). Our God is a God of the now. And now is the day of wholeness. The word “salvation” means wholeness of body and soul and spirit. Today is a day of wholeness, so accomplish something today, whether something for yourself or for somebody else.
Sometimes we don’t get the balance right. My wife has to constantly remind me, “Get off the computer, Peter. Go for a walk,” because we forget that one thing that we have to accomplish is rest. Even God only works six days a week and on the seventh he rested. And just because it’s a day of rest doesn’t mean to say you are not accomplishing something, because you are; you’re recharging your batteries.
I remember when I was starting my ministry, a believer made the statement to me that the time you spend to sharpen your axe is never time wasted. That’s an accomplishment, to learn how to rest. Accomplish something today. And if it’s going to be rest, if that’s what you need to accomplish, don’t be ashamed of it, accomplish it! I no longer have any shame that I have to lie down in the afternoon some days. That’s fine, and I have a wife that understands and stays quiet. Two amens to that!
Put His life into your days
“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20). Two things there: He is your life and He is the length of your days. We have no control over the amount but we do have control over the quality.
I do not know how many more days God will give me. My father was the longest living Wade, at least that’s what he always told us. He died at the age of 88, when he wasn’t expected to live beyond his teenage years. So, he set me quite an example to follow.
God says He is our life and He is the length of our days. I cannot control the length but I can control expressing His life today, and that’s all I can control. I can’t control tomorrow. I don’t know what tomorrow holds but I know who holds the future. Yet I do know He’s given me today.
He is your life. So, put God’s life into your day. We don’t choose how our face looks, but we can control our expression. We can’t control lots of things that go on around us but we can control how we react to those things within us. I am not a victim of the world I see. I am responsible for what happens to me. I don’t control the circumstances, but I do control myself and I do allow a life of Christ to flow out through me. So put His life into your day.
So, there are some wonderful principles about day 29,220 in the life of Peter Wade. I was born in the city of Bendigo, Victoria, Australia, 29,220 days ago, born to English parents. I didn’t choose my relatives. Thank God I can choose my friends.
Three steps in Bible study
“Now, what does this got to do with Bible study? What have I done with Psalm 90:12, “so teach us to number our days?” The first thing I did, I observed what is written. That’s the first step. So, I got my electronic brain, my calculator, and I sat down and tapped out the figures. I counted up on my hand how many leap years there have been. So I have observed what was written, but God didn’t intend me to sit down with a calculator. So I had to take another step, and that was to interpret what was written. What does it mean? I had to interpret what it actually meant to the people that it was written to.
The Psalmist prayed for God to “teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). We have observed what is written. Now let’s interpret what it means. It means that I have to be careful, as I have only a set number of days in my account. I must be wise how to use those days. I must remember my mortality.
God has me on this earth for only a very minor little period of time. I’ve already spent far too many of them, and there’s far too many things I would have like to accomplish. Usually, the interpretation is a principle. The application will vary in each one of our lives, but the principle, the interpretation will remain constant, even in different cultures.
It is obviously not a question of counting our days but making our days count. We not only observe what is written and interpret what it means, but we then must apply it to our lives. We make it personal, we apply it to our own life, to the situations we run across.
There are cultural differences in the Bible too, and the way the people lived in Bible days are not the same way that we live in western society today, and you must understand that there are cultural things there, even in the church epistles, that I don’t have to obey. Another example might be when Jesus said we should wash each other’s feet. Don’t try it on me! It’s a cultural thing. Observe what is written, then interpret it, what did it mean to the people to whom it was written?
Thirdly, apply it to your own life. And people, the Bible never works until you apply it. It doesn’t work when you’re sitting in a room, working all those books. All you are getting is head knowledge, but you’re getting head knowledge for a good reason: you want to learn how better to apply it in your life. So, knowing the Bible is one thing, applying it is something else.
In this teaching, I’m trying to help you enjoy your Bible again. The Bible is not enjoyed, E.W. Bullinger said, because it is not understood. So, in order to understand your Bible, observe, interpret, and apply.
This article is Copyright © 2013 Peter Wade and appears on the site: https://peterwade.com/. Would you like your own copy of books by Peter Wade and other authors? Go to our Bookstore.