************ Sermon on Psalm 90:12 ************
By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman
This sermon was preached on December 2, 1998
Text: Psalm 90:12
Title: "A Heart of Wisdom"
Message for Funeral of Andrew Bosch
As we are gathered together for the funeral of Andrew Bosch, the Psalmist wants to teach us two things. First, he wants us to teach us to number our days aright. Second, he wants to teach us to gain a heart of wisdom.
I Number Your Days Aright
A The Psalmist says, "Teach us to number our days aright." What does it mean to number your days "aright"? The Psalmist wants us to realize that our life is like a book (HOLD UP A BOOK). Each day is a new page. Each night another page is turned. Eventually, there will come a day when we come to the final page, the one marked "The End." On that day, like Andrew Bosch, we will surely die.
In more than one verse the Psalmist affirms this – that we all shall die, unless the Lord Jesus comes first:
(Psalm 90:3,5-6,10) You turn men back to dust, saying, "Return to dust, O sons of men."... (5) You sweep men away in the sleep of death; they are like the new grass of the morning-- (6) though in the morning it springs up new, by evening it is dry and withered ... (10) The length of our days is seventy years--or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.
"Teach us to number our days aright." Yes, we all shall die. Our days are numbered. Unless the Lord comes first, someday we all shall die.
Subtopic: Right Use of
In her book It Only Hurts When I Laugh, Ethel Barrett related a story about a high school teacher in Los Angeles who had a unique way of stimulating her students to think. From time to time she would write brief messages on the chalkboard that were completely unrelated to the studies in which the students were involved. One morning, when the students entered the room, they found the number 25,550 written on the board. One pupil finally raised his hand and asked the instructor why that particular number was there. She explained that 25,550 represented the number of days in the life of a person who lives to be 70 years of age. The teacher wanted to impress her pupils with life's brevity. Reduced to a number of days rather than years, the span of our life on earth didn't sound nearly as long to them.
"Teach us to number our days aright." This means we need to realize that someday we will die.
B "Teach us to number our days aright." Little children don't number their days; they don't think of death; it doesn't enter their minds that someday they will die. And most teenagers don't think of death either; in fact, most of them think the opposite – they think they will never die and will live forever, that they are indestructible and immortal. And adults too, many of them don't like to think about their eventual death. But there comes a time in every person's life when they must consider the possibility that they will die. When that time comes, they start to number their days.
Do you count your days? Do you know, do you realize, that someday you will die? Do you know, do you realize, it could happen sooner than you think?
Topic: Physical LifeI purposely omitted human beings. There are differences of opinion, but most would agree with the Psalmist that it's somewhere between 70 and 80 years. That may sound encouraging to the young but it is pretty disturbing to the old. The simple fact is, nobody knows for sure how long he or she may live. When we read and believe the warnings in Scripture, there is little doubt that life is short. James pulls no punches when he writes, "You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away" (4:14). Life? A puff of smoke...a cloud of dust...
Average life spans are shorter than most of us realize. Unlike the great redwood trees that can last for a thousand or more years, most other things come and go quicker than we would imagine. After a little digging, I found several examples that illustrate how temporary things really are:
Copper Plumbing 20-25 years
Cat 15 years
Face-Lift 6-10 years
Vitamin 3 years
Dollar Bill 18 months
Painted line on the road 3-4 months
Pro-basketball player's shoes 2 weeks
Tornado 10 minutes
"Teach us to number our days aright." In the final analysis, we must realize that we, like Andrew Bosch, could die at any time.
II That We May Gain a Heart of Wisdom
A The Psalmist not only tells us "to number our days aright," but he also tells us why: "That we may gain a heart of wisdom."
What is a heart of wisdom?
First and foremost, a heart of wisdom means a heart filled with Jesus. Those who number their days aright, those who know that someday they will die, make sure about their relationship with their Maker for they know that someday they will stand before the Judge. Those who number their days aright confess their sin and believe in the Savior. Those who number their days aright give their heart to Jesus. Those who number their days aright are converted, born-again. Those who number their days aright love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength.
Have you accepted Christ into your heart? Is He a part of your life? Your answer to that question tells me whether you have gained a heart of wisdom.
Topic: ProcrastinationThese demons succeed far too often, don't they?! Far too many people keep putting off a public relationship, a public commitment to Jesus. They keep putting it off until it is too late. People neglect Christ on the doorstep of their lives. Those, however, who number their days aright, those who have gained a heart of wisdom, do not turn Christ away or neglect Him but eagerly embrace Him and all His benefits.
Title: No Hurry
There is an ancient story about three demons who were arguing over the best way to destroy the Christian church. The first demon says, "Let's tell all the Christians there is no heaven. Take away the reward and the church will collapse." The second demon says, "Let's tell all the Christians there is no hell. Take away the fear of punishment and the church will collapse." The third demon says, "There is one better way. Let's tell all the Christians that there is no hurry" and all three immediately say, "That's it! All we have to do is tell them there's no hurry and the whole Christian church will collapse."
B "Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." Those who number their days aright, those who have gained a heart of wisdom, know what is truly important in life and what is merely trivial. Those who number their days aright, those who have gained a heart of wisdom, have their priorities in order.
What is really important in life? When we are young we think puppy dogs, dolls, super Nintendo, and bikes are important. When we get older we think money, boats, computers, and homes are important. What is important in your life? What is it that you live for?
What is really important in life? Those with a heart of wisdom know that what is important is a life in which God has been served and His name has been praised; what is important is a life of good works, a life of love, a life in which one has labored in the church and kingdom to the best of one's ability; what is important is a life in which children and grandchildren have been taught to know and fear the Lord. What is important in life is time spent in Bible reading and prayer. No one who has gained a heart of wisdom stands at death's door boasting about position, wealth, honor, glory, and achievement in life. At the end of life no one ever says, "I wish I spent more time at work and less time at church!" At the end of life no one says, "I wish I spent more money on myself and less on the church or Christian School."
C "Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." Finally, those who number their days aright, those who have gained a heart of wisdom, know we are given our days as a gift from God Who intends us to use them well.
As you look back at your life, let me ask you: have you counted each day as a precious gift from God?; have you spent each day in the presence of the Lord?; have you used each day to the glory of God; have you invested time in your loved ones? Believe it or not, time is one of the most precious commodities that we have. Time is much more valuable than money can ever be. No child, for instance, really wants parents to spend more money on them; rather, they want parents to spend more time on them and with them. So time is a gift, a precious gift from the Lord.
D We thank and praise God that Andrew Bosch died with a heart of wisdom. For instance, he knew Jesus as his Savior and Lord. When I met with Grace on Wednesday she told me that for the last six months or so Andrew has been spending extra time in Bible reading and prayer – almost as if he were counting his days and knew death was coming soon.
(Ps 90:12) Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. The Psalmist wants to teach us two things. First, he wants us to number our days aright; he want us all to realize that someday we will die just like Andrew Bosch died. Second, he want us to gain a heart of wisdom; he wants us to have a relationship with Jesus and to spend time on what is important.
Do you number your days aright? Have you gained a heart of wisdom?
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