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How Should Christians Think About the New Year?

The New Year

All right, well, I want to welcome you to 2023, I want to welcome you to the first week of 2023, and I want to welcome you to the first anniversary of the Marked by Grace podcast. We began this weekly topical podcast in January of 2022. And we are now starting our second full year here at the very beginning of 2023. When we get to the New Year, everybody starts to think about time. We’ve been thinking about the passing of time with the conclusion of last year, we’re thinking about the preciousness of time at the beginning of this year, and many of you are thinking about how you’re going to spend your time. You’re thinking about your plans once you return from vacation. You’re thinking about New Year’s resolutions.

I have been thinking about time, as I’ve been thinking about the book of Psalms and Psalm 90:12. It says, “So Teach us to number our days, that we may get a heart of wisdom.” That is a passage about time and the preciousness of time. We have this command to be taught. We have this appeal to the Lord that he would teach us to number our days. The idea of numbering our days is not the idea of keeping count of our days or trying to guess how many days we’re ultimately going to live. It’s actually something much more profound than that. This is the idea that we need to treasure our life. We need to treasure the preciousness of our life. We need to realize how limited our days and our years are, how limited our time is. We need never to take our time for granted. When we appeal to the Lord teach us to number our days, we’re talking about how limited our time is. We’re talking about how precious and sweet and tender are the years of our life, and they will be gone before we know it.

Powerful language in Psalm 90 about the preciousness of our life. In verse 3, our years, our days, and our life is referred to as dust. In verse 5, it’s the language of a dream of grass that is here today and gone tomorrow. And in verse 6, we get the idea that our life fades and withers. In verse 9, we’re told that our years come to an end like a sigh. A sigh, just like a sigh, begins and ends so quickly. That’s what your life is like. That’s the language that comes in the context of Psalm 90, as we are appealing to the Lord to teach us to number our days. When we number our days, Psalm 90:12 says, we will get a “heart full of wisdom.” That’s why we number our days. The point of numbering your days is not to despair. It is not to feel guilt. It is to be filled up with wisdom. It is wise to realize that your years are limited, it is wise to realize that your life is precious, and it’s foolish to think that time doesn’t matter. It’s foolish to think that you have all the time in the world.

Teach Us to Number Our Days

So at the beginning of the year, as we’re thinking about our life as we’re thinking about the 365 days that are yet ahead of us, we need a heart of wisdom. We need to realize every day that we get in this year is precious. Every day that we get in this year is a gift, and we will be wise when we realize that. But it won’t be the fullness of wisdom if we just refuse to take the days in the year and our life for granted. There’s more to having a heart of wisdom in numbering our days than that. In fact, Psalm 90:12 begins with Psalm 90:1-2, which says, “Lord, you have been our dwelling place and all generations before the mountains were brought forth or ever you had formed the earth and the world from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.” This passage that teaches us to appeal to the everlasting God to number our days begins with a testimony about a God who does not need to number his days because he cannot number his days because he is from infinity to infinity. He is from everlasting to everlasting.

One of the ways we get a heart of wisdom by numbering our days, according to Psalm 90, is by worshiping the Ancient of Days, who is addressed in Psalm 90. If you want to be a really wise person whose days are numerous, you need to look to the God whose days are innumerable to the God whose days cannot be numbered. The only hope that you have in life and in death is when you live the last day of your life, you can be caught up into the very existence of the God whose days never began and whose days will never end from everlasting to everlasting you are God. And the way you’re caught up into him is by having confidence in the life and the death and the resurrection, that when you believe in Jesus, Jesus himself says that he who believes in me will live, even when he dies. This is great hope that beyond the grave, beyond your last day, beyond your last breath, you get to live with the Christ, who is from everlasting to everlasting.

When God teaches you to number your days, he’ll give you wisdom by knowing the clock is running out on your life. And he will give you wisdom by teaching you that the way you can live forever is by trusting in the one who does live forever by virtue of who he is. So the appeal “teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” is an appeal to trust in the Lord whose existence never ends and that numbering of the days and that heart of wisdom is a great thing to have here at the beginning of the year. Hope you have a very good New Year, and I hope you have a very wise year as you number your days.