“O Lord, make me know my end
and what is the measure of my days;
let me know how fleeting I am!
Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths,
and my lifetime is as nothing before you.
Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Selah
Surely a man goes about as a shadow!
Surely for nothing they are in turmoil;
man heaps up wealth and does not know who will gather!
With this statement, King David reveals to us that he is just as we were. He is a man who is fearful of death and who wants to know when he will die. As the ticker to the right states, no one can be sure of when they will die. Every breath we have is a gift from God and no one can be sure that the next will come. 150,000 people will die today. 150,000 have already died yesterday, and 150,000 will die tomorrow, then the next day, and the next. Eventually you will be in that number. I was reminded of a child that we lost through miscarriage. He was with us for about 22 weeks until something happened and the wick of his life was snuffed out. It took me a long time to deal with that loss and I’m still not entirely sure that I’m over it now. About a year and a half later my son Caleb was born. For years afterward I’d still go into the room he shared with his sister and check to see if he was still there and breathing. Even now, as he’s 11 and his sister is 14 I still go by their rooms at least once a week just to hear them breathing. Every man, woman, and child, regardless of their station, class, or location, are all subject to the same destiny – every one of us will die.
So, what is King David’s response?
“And now, O Lord, for what do I wait?
My hope is in you.
Deliver me from all my transgressions.
Do not make me the scorn of the fool!
I am mute; I do not open my mouth,
for it is you who have done it.
Remove your stroke from me;
I am spent by the hostility of your hand.
When you discipline a man
with rebukes for sin,
you consume like a moth what is dear to him;
surely all mankind is a mere breath! Selah
“Hear my prayer, O Lord,
and give ear to my cry;
hold not your peace at my tears!
For I am a sojourner with you,
a guest, like all my fathers.
Look away from me, that I may smile again,
before I depart and am no more!”
David seeks deliverance from his sins! Why would he do this? He was the greatest king who ever lived. Ask any Jew who was the greatest king they’ve ever had and they’ll quickly tell you that it was King David! Why should he be in fear of the judgment of God? Because God is the just Judge of the whole earth. No one is able to escape God’s judgment. He will not hold those guiltless who takes His name in vain. This includes those who profess to be Christians but continue living in their sins. Pornography? He views that as adultery because He even judges the intention of the heart. Have you been angry with someone without justification? Then God sees you as a murderer at heart. He has promised that all sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, sorcerers (those involved in witchcraft and the use of drugs), cowardly (those who have renounced their faith due to fear of their friends or fear of repercussions from family or neighbors), faithless (those who refuse to trust in the promises of Christ), murderers, and those who do detestable things will be cast into the lake of fire and sulfur. No one who sins will escape His judgment.
This is why He sent Jesus. Knowing that no child of Adam could ever meet His standard He sent His own Son, Jesus. Jesus was able to live a life that was free from sin. He never swore at anyone, He never lusted after women, He never was unjustly angry at anyone. He never, ever lied about anything. He fulfilled every one of the commandments – every one of the Laws of God to the letter. He was the only just man to ever walk the earth. Then, just as the passover lamb was slain for the people of Israel in Egypt so that the Angel of Death would “pass over” their houses as he went through killing the firstborn of the Egyptians, Jesus willingly laid His life down for those who hated Him. Beaten, torn, bloodied, His beard had been ripped out of His face, He had been spat upon, mocked, beaten with rods, ridiculed, and dishonored in every possible way. Even through all of that, He still carried His cross as far as His frail earthly body could carry Him. Then He was delivered to the hill of death, iron nails were beaten into his wrists and ankles and He was hoisted up to suffocate to death. It only took 3 hours for Him to die in that state. At His death, the sins of every person who would ever turn to Him for salvation were taken from their accounts and placed onto Him and He died the painful, humiliating, and spiritual death that they deserved, in their place.
How do you receive this gift of grace? Do you have to be a good person? No. You can’t be a “good person”. To do that you’d have to first atone for all of your sins and then exceed the 10 Commandments in every aspect of your life until the day you die. That’s impossible. Do you have to say a “sinner’s prayer”? Sort of, but not like you’re thinking. King David, knowing the promise of the Messiah to come, repented of his sins (he apologized to God and turned his back on them – promising to do everything in his power to abandon those sins for the rest of his life) and trusted in the promised Messiah forgive him of his sins. We don’t have to hope on the promise of the Messiah to come – He has already come and He will come again to take those who have abandoned their sinful lives and who have chosen to follow Him for all eternity. We, like King David, repent of our sins before the Lord and trust in the work that He has already completed. When should you do that? Look at the ticker on the right-hand side of this post. How many people have died while you’ve been reading this post? If you want, you can decide to put it off, but realize that you’re taking your life into your own hands. Today is the day of salvation – who are you to know what tomorrow may bring. My son lived only 22 weeks. A friend of mine in high school – football star and in excellent athletic shape died as a result of a complication from a knee surgery when he was only 16. Did he know when he was going to die? When you finally breathe your last, it will be far too late for you to call out to the Lord for salvation. How are you to know that you won’t be hit by a bus or have a brain aneurism on the way home? Today is the day of salvation – take this seriously as all of eternity is at stake. Escape the wrath of God while you still can.