The Sphinx in ancient mythology was supposed to have propounded a riddle, ‘What animal goes on four legs in the morning, on two at noonday, and three in the evening?’ The riddle remained unsolved till Oedipus appeared and gave the right answer – “Man!” In infancy, the human babe goes on all fours; during life’s course, he walks upright on two legs; and he leans on a staff in the eventide of life.
Moses contemplated the brevity of life in Psalm 90:10. The length of our days is seventy years or eighty; if we have the strength, he prayed: “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).
The New Bible Commentary reminds us that, ‘Human life is set between two points: the wrath of God, which makes life transient, and peace with God which gives it stability and permanency.’ Moses, in his prayer, asks for the latter experience.
It starts by his asking for a change of attitude – that of having a teachable spirit, to be taught by God to learn wisdom in this brief life. Job reminded his friends of the words of God, “The fear of the Lord – that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.” (Job.28:28). To fear God is to revere God (Psalm 33:8), to walk in His ways (Psalm 128:1) to put your hope in His unfailing love (Psalm 147:11) to delight in His commands (Psalm 112:1) to hate evil (Proverbs 8:13) this is wisdom. To fear the Lord begins with a heart surrendered to Jesus Christ, His Son. Hence Pauls words, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21).
Dear friend, part of living well is learning why death is gain. To live in Christ is to be with Christ forever. Oh, that we would make every day count as lived to the glory of our God.