Daily Devotional Wednesday 19th January

by William Moody

Psalm 39

What Is the Measure of My Days?

To the choirmaster: to Jeduthun. A Psalm of David.

39:1   I said, “I will guard my ways,
    that I may not sin with my tongue;
  I will guard my mouth with a muzzle,
    so long as the wicked are in my presence.”
  I was mute and silent;
    I held my peace to no avail,
  and my distress grew worse.
    My heart became hot within me.
  As I mused, the fire burned;
    then I spoke with my tongue:
  “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 nothing1 they are in turmoil;
    man heaps up wealth and does not know who will gather!
  “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.
10   Remove your stroke from me;
    I am spent by the hostility of your hand.
11   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
12   “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.
13   Look away from me, that I may smile again,
    before I depart and am no more!”


[1] 39:6 Hebrew Surely as a breath


David in this Psalm is aware that he is being disciplined by God for his sin. We need to read this Psalm with that background in mind.

In the presence of evil people David is very careful not to speak so that in his suffering he doesn’t say anything that will dishonour the Lord (v1-2). Eventually the trial became so intense he had to speak (v3) and he wisely does this with prayer (v4-6). In these verses he wants to be reminded of the brevity of life so as to have a right perspective on his suffering and on the wealth of the wicked.

As God is in control of all that is happening in his life, David’s hope is to be found in God (v7). David realises that before he can expect a changing situation regarding his trials he needs to seek the Lord’s forgiveness (v7-11).

Are you praying for a situation to change but need to maybe pray for forgiveness and repent of sin which is part of the problem?

David throws himself on God’s mercy and seeks for the Lord to turn away His wrath (v12-13). Living for the things of this world is foolishness as we’re just sojourners passing through. Being right with the God who we will spend eternity with is far more important. Are you right with God?

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®),
copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.