Summer ought to be a season when we’re able to rest well—a time we can spend with the Lord and His goodness. But, oftentimes, we actually fall out of healthy spiritual habits and end up trying to rest from the Lord instead of resting in Him.
That’s why we’ve created the Summer Selah Series. Over 40 days, we’ll be sharing daily devotions during a season where you may not feel very devoted.
Based on excerpts from his book Selah: Devotions From The Psalms For Those Who Struggle With Devotion, Ross Lester, our Pastor of Preaching and West Congregation Pastor, will provide readings from select Psalms, a brief devotional reflection, and some prayer points for each of the 40 days.
Take some time to read Psalm 39. Then, come back and read the following verses again.
“‘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!’” (Psalm 39:4-6 ESV)
It is one of the rare and special privileges of my job that I get to stand with families on their worst day. I don’t enjoy it by any stretch of the imagination, but every time I get to stand with a family at the side of the grave of a loved one, I feel especially privileged. The privilege isn’t just that a family would trust me to speak words of comfort at that occasion, but the privilege is also that God would lovingly remind me of the fact that all mortal men meet a common end.
It is a strange blessing to be reminded of that fact, because in our foolishness, we often forget. In fact, Solomon said in Ecclesiastes that we get more out of the reminders that come from funerals than we do out of our best parties. He said, “It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart” (Ecclesiastes 7:2 ESV).
David didn’t want to forget his mortality and so, in Psalm 39, he cried out to God in prayer asking God to remind him how short his life here on earth is.
Why would he do such a thing? Was he morosely fascinated with death? Was he suicidal?
I don’t think so.
I think that David knew, as we all know, that men who know they are dying usually live differently. They tend to focus on the things that matter for eternity, and as David so poignantly reminds us in verse 6, stuff we accumulate doesn’t matter for eternity.
So, here is the reminder for today.
You are going to die. For most, it will be sooner than they thought. It is good for you to know that. Every breath you take is one less breath till your loved ones stand around your grave while they lower you into the ground.
Make it count. Live for stuff that lasts.
Father God, teach me to know just how fleeting I am and teach me to let that knowledge change the way that I live with the days that I have left.
Ross Lester, Selah: Devotions From The Psalms For Those Who Struggle With Devotion (Magnolia, Texas: Lucid Books, 2017)