“I will guard my ways, that I may not sin with my tongue.” This was David’s intention, particularly when those who were wicked might have heard any remarks he made. He wanted to take the Lord’s discipline in silence. Yet he found that his heart was still churning. The words eventually came out, despite his best intentions.
His cry was addressed to God. “O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!” David wanted to regain a solid spiritual footing for his troubled soul. If he could just remember how short his life would be, he would be better equipped to say only what the Lord would have him say and do only what God wanted him to do. He would remember that too many words and too much agitated activity would amount to nothing of value.
“And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.” Once he accepted again the fleeting nature of life under the sun, he could turn once more to the God who created the heavens and the earth and who would one day judge the living and the dead. Any success for David’s life would have to come from the hand of the Almighty. David could put all his hope in God. The Lord would lead him in a worthwhile direction.
What did David really need in this time of difficulty? He needed deliverance from his own transgressions. He needed to remember that even his present trials had come to him from the hand of his loving heavenly Father. He needed to believe that his cries to God were not in vain.
He determined to tell the Lord the truth about his inability to survive. He said words that may seem unthinkable to us: “Look away from me, that I may smile again, before I depart and am no more!”
God can hear honest words like these. He heard the final cries of His Son as Jesus called out to His Father from the cross. “Into Your hands I commit my Spirit.” The Lord does not admire prayers of pretended strength. He has an ear for forthright expressions of true weakness. He will not despise a broken heart.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Merciful Lord, the wicked are in our presence all day long. Though we would try not to speak foolishly, we may end up saying things when we should be silent. Help us to remember our days. We know that we are but a breath. We are here for a moment and then we are gone. You are everlasting. Give us hope again today.