Teach Us to Number Our Days

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A Guest Post by Chad Bird

Father, teach us to number our days, as we joyfully reflect upon the fact that, because of Jesus, you are not numbering, not counting, our trespasses against us (cf. 2 Cor. 5:19).

The Lord is not a celestial accountant, who keeps an exact tally on our sins, hourly and daily adding them up and sending us the bill to show us how indebted we are to him. What a joyless monster of a deity that would be.

To be a disciple of Jesus is to live completely and perfectly covered by divine love, even as, in ourselves, we incompletely and imperfectly follow him. We limp. We stumble. We fall. And we confess, repent, and pray.

As we do, the Lord’s hand is never withdrawn from our own, nor is his heart ever, even for a moment, turned from us. “As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust” (Ps. 103:13-14). Dust, to be sure, but dust that is as precious to him as gold.

Lord, teach us to number our days, as days lived solely by your mercy, at the foot of the cross and empty tomb, overshadowed by your love.

Such a life will probably not end, as Jacob’s did, with a spectacular funeral and international march to the cemetery. It will most likely conclude not with a bang but a simple last breath. One more exhalation of the air that we have long breathed in his world. A humble funeral. A final goodbye (for now) from our grieving family and friends. But inside us will be that “heart of wisdom,” of which Moses spoke (Ps. 90:12). A heart formed by the very hands that fashioned the world, that were fastened to the cross, and that filled us with the Holy Spirit that we might follow him.

Lord, create in us such a heart of wisdom, that running or walking or limping or crawling or lying on our deathbed, we might, along with Jacob, be your disciples, chosen, beloved, and precious in your sight. Amen.

This  excerpt from Limping with God: Jacob and the Old Testament Guide to Messy Discipleship” by Chad Bird is Copyright © 2023 by Chad Bird and posted by permission.

Chad Bird is a Lutheran pastor, theologian, and professor for Old Testament and Hebrew. He has written for numerous Christian publications and authored several books.“Limpimg With God” is his most recent book.
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