How Should I Rate My Life?

Psalm 39.4

Life can only be measured in terms of our value and significance before God. King David recalls that he had fallen into backsliding, but grasped afresh the brevity and futility of life without a living experience of God. Here are the thoughts that brought him to renew that experience.

‘Lord, make me to know mine end and the measure of my days, what it is, that I may know how frail I am.’

And our subject in the brief time before us is ‘how should I rate my life?’ How should we rate, evaluate our lives?  This is a remarkable psalm from King David of old and with a remarkable piece of autobiography really in the opening verses. How is life to be measured? Certainly not by height or by weight or by blood pressure or by academic attainments, not even by the length of days is life strictly to be measured.  But the worth or the value of a person in the sight of the living God, that’s the measure of life and that is what David is going to set out to prove or to establish.

He has made in some time in the past a kind of resolution that he will muzzle himself. He will not complain about God. He tells us of it in the first verse: ‘I said I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue. I will keep my mouth with a bridle while the wicked is before me.’ He evidently had some complaints about God. We don’t know at what stage of his life, but he’s obviously king and I would think he’s been reigning for some time, but that’s only a guess. And he commits this psalm to the head of music. So it is going to be committed to a melody and it’s going to be sung at some stage in the temple or elsewhere, because it contains words of testimony.

But the background to these words of testimony is that David confesses there’s been a time when he appears to have had complaints against God. It may have been that he was very sick at the time. There’s a hint of this in the last verses of the psalm, but it isn’t necessarily so. Or it may have been that he was overwhelmed by the fact that some of the most treacherous and awful people in the society of those days prospered. And David’s complaint may have been, and two psalms previously in Psalm 37 he definitely complains about this, that the wicked have prospered and they have done well. And why is the judgment of God not upon them now?

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