Psalm 39:4-5 Show me, O Lord, my life's end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. You have made my days a mere hand-breadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man's life is but a breath.
I was reading Psalm 39 earlier this afternoon and found verses 4-5 to include a wonderful prayer and an important acknowledgement. One of the many regular prayers we should offer up to God is for the grace to realize how fleeting our lives are. The Lord could call us home at any moment yet all too often we go about our lives as if we are going to dwell in these earthly tabernacles forever. O the foolishness! We need to be reminded daily of the brevity of life. We are here one day and gone the next. In the bible, man is often compared to withering grass to illustrate just how fleeting this life on earth is (Psalm 90, Psalm 103; Isaiah 40, Isaiah 51; 1 Peter 1:24).
So what are we to think of these scripture verses? Well, for the Christian we know that if our earthly house (body) were destroyed we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens (2 Corinthians 5:1). The shortness of life on earth should not cause us to despair! But like the Apostle Paul we should recognize that to live is Christ and to die is gain...that while in the body we will live fruitful lives...but we should desire to depart and be with Christ (Philippians 1:21, 23).
To read a great sermon on Philippians 1:23 given by C. H. Spurgeon on September 11, 1859 check out the Spurgeon Archive here.