“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Moses, in Psalms 90:12)

People might debate as to whether it is a good thing to number our days. Fact is very few people think of death and it is far more customary for people to go about life with a conviction of their invincibility. The possibility of death, an unwelcome intruder to the excitement and business of life is kept as far away as possible except of course, when a dear one dies or we are struck with sickness and pain that reminds us of the ultimate sickness, death. Moses had no doubts about the fact the numbering our days is in fact beneficial for us and grants us wealth of wisdom. Let us examine how.

  1. Perspective: Death brings an eternal perspective to our lives. Man cannot satisfy himself with the conclusion that death is the end-all of life. Something beyond death beckons him and there is sneaking suspicion, albeit a strong one, that there is more to us than our physical existence here on earth. The philosophy of ‘eat, drink and make merry while you are alive’ is not self-sustaining, for not too long after eating and drinking some, it is no longer merry anymore. This perspective, rather than drive man to desperation, only brings him to appreciate the reality of life and nudge himself toward the eternal. The eternal perspective helps man to take a step back from his exploits in the physical world to reflecting about what really will live on after his death.
  2. Planning: Taking a measure of our days results in man planning out his life better. The adventure, excitement and light-headedness that characterize our early lives are slowly but surely replaced by a measured journey as man begins to appreciate that life is transient. He begins to plan out his life better and in the process becomes more productive in his life. Imagine continuing to live life as though you are in your teens through adulthood!
  3. Priorities: A close look at man would convince us that we are not just physical beings, rather physical-spiritual beings. There are a number of aspects of our lives that are beyond the physical realm. And in many ways, these supersede the physical in terms of importance. The wide range of emotions that often control man, the satisfaction that man derives in the pursuits of this world, the hope he has for the future, love that reigns supreme over all else, are all not just predictable outputs from our pre-wired brain, rather variable expressions of our souls and spirits and cannot be limited to the physical. Knowing that physical death is yonder, helps us to understand not only the importance of the spiritual, it also hopefully helps us to move in the direction of finding the anchor for our souls in the spiritual realm.


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