Daily Archives: August 26, 2017

August 26, 2017: Verse of the day


11  Who considers the power of your anger,
and your wrath according to the fear of you?
12  So teach us to number our days
that we may get a heart of wisdom.

Proper Response to God’s Wrath (90:11–12)

11–12 The two previous motifs of “wrath” and “days” lead into a prayer for wisdom as the only legitimate and wise response to the human condition. People generally do not pay attention to the divine law of sin and retribution. One reason is that the full brunt of God’s anger is withheld and unknown to people. The frustrations in life are explained away or accepted as long as there are not too many problems. The greatness of God’s wrath should evoke fear, and that fear should be commensurate with God’s wrath (v. 11). Thus the psalmist calls for a wise response to the previous teaching on the nature of God in contradistinction to the nature of humans. His question “Who knows the power of your anger?” is to be understood as a strong affirmation: “Nobody knows the power of your anger!”

Though no one knows how God’s full anger will affect human existence, those who fear the Lord are more aware of the fierceness of his anger. The wise pray for “a heart of wisdom” (v. 12). Since no one “knows” (yôdēaʿ GK 3359, v. 11) how great God’s rage may be, the wise are receptive to divine revelation/instruction: “teach us” (hôdaʿ GK 3359, v. 12). The prayer consists of two parts. First, the wise ask to apprehend the brevity of life. The numbering of “days” (v. 12) is an act of recognition of the vast difference between God and finite human beings. Though life may have many pleasant surprises, God’s anger may come at any time; and the wise reckon continually with God’s existence and humankind’s accountability. Second, the wise apply themselves to obtaining a “heart of wisdom” (cf. Dt 5:29; 32:29). Brueggemann (Message of the Psalms, 113) observes that this heart “attends to the persistent reality of Yahweh’s Lordship.” Wisdom begins and ends with the Lord, as the wise seek the Lord in all of their ways (cf. Pr 1:7), and true wisdom begins with the petition for revelation and illumination: “Teach us.”[1]

90:11, 12 The man of God stands in awe of the power of God that has been awakened in anger. Who, he wonders, can reverence Him adequately when one considers the immensity of His wrath? This much is sure: it should make us value every day of our lives and spend each one in obedience to Him, and in such a way that it will count for eternity.[2]

90:12 number our days. Evaluate the use of time in light of the brevity of life. heart of wisdom. Wisdom repudiates autonomy and focuses on the Lord’s sovereignty and revelation.[3]

90:12 teach us to number our days. In view of the theme of the psalm, this refers especially to the ability to make the most of one’s days, since they are so few. The heart of wisdom would enable the faithful to live by the right priorities (cf. the “fear” of God, v. 11).[4]

90:12 teach us to number our days A response to God’s power and wrath—emphasizing that people should pay attention to God’s ways each day and appreciate the life given to them.

a heart of wisdom Wisdom starts with being properly oriented to God[5]

90:12 The emphasis here is upon the frugal use of years and not upon the number of years. Usefulness surpasses longevity. The psalmist pleads for discernment in ordering his days.

91:11, 12 This passage certainly suggests that every child of God is under the watchful eye of the angelic host. According to Scripture, one of the functions of angels is to minister to the needs of believers (cf. Heb. 1:14). This passage was misused by Satan during our Lord’s temptation experience in the wilderness (cf. Matt. 4:6; Luke 4:10, 11).

92:title This psalm, according to the superscription, was especially assigned for recitation on the Sabbath. Jewishtradition states that it was used in the weekly Sabbath services of the temple.

92:12 The “palm tree” was noted for its erectness and longevity, the “cedar” for its might and strength.[6]

90:11, 12 Since sin has made our days few, we ought to use them the more carefully.[7]

[1] VanGemeren, W. A. (2008). Psalms. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Psalms (Revised Edition) (Vol. 5, pp. 693–694). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (pp. 688–689). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Ps 90:12). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[4] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 1053). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[5] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ps 90:12). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[6] Criswell, W. A., Patterson, P., Clendenen, E. R., Akin, D. L., Chamberlin, M., Patterson, D. K., & Pogue, J. (Eds.). (1991). Believer’s Study Bible (electronic ed., Ps 90:12–92:12). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[7] The Open Bible: New King James Version. (1998). (electronic ed., Ps 90:11–12). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.