As we begin a new year, this verse often comes to mind:
Teach us to number our days, that we might gain a heart of wisdom.
Interestingly, the verse tells us to number our days, not our hours, years, or months, but days. Days are measured in the Bible from sunset to sunset. “Number” in Hebrew means to weigh or count. But how are we to weigh or count our days with an eye to gaining wisdom?
Let’s look at how days are numbered in the Bible and see if that will provide us with any clues.
Days are not named in the Bible, with one exception–Sabbath. All other days are given a number and that number is directly related to the Sabbath, the first day after Sabbath, the second day, third day, and so forth. So, if I am understanding the pattern, God has given more “weight” to the Sabbath by naming it, and that weighed day directly relates to gaining wisdom.
As we work to align our days to include a Sabbath, we are “applying” or bringing to pass those things needed to gain wisdom. For me, this is where the heart issue comes in. In our home, we have determined to make Sabbath a priority, but that has not always been the case.
In 2005 we took our family to Israel. There we saw a country that celebrated Sabbath, whether they were secular or religious people. That was a new concept for me. People looked forward to Sabbath! Husbands came home early from work, wives scurried around the house making sure it was clean and dinner was ready (plus preparing all the meals for the coming day), and children were also involved in preparations.
The sun set and peace settled on the land. Those who loved God shared a special meal, prayed over their families, studied the Bible, and attended church or synagogue. The remaining time was spent resting and visiting with family and friends.
Coming back, we saw our attitudes change toward Sabbath. We had always attended church and rested on Sunday and we continued to make it a family day. However, we began to see Sabbath as something to plan for, look forward to, and be more intentional about setting aside our normal activities to focus on the Lord, our family, and our church family.
As the mom, I tried to have the house clean and in order before sunset on Saturday, and although it didn’t always happen, it was the goal each week.
In Exodus 20:8 we see:
Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
Then, life happened. Some weeks we found ourselves traveling and unable to rest, so we took time to remember the Sabbath even if we could not relax. It has been our experience that resting and studying on the Sabbath makes our week go so much better. The rest strengthens our body for the week to come and studying helps us reset our minds and priorities.
We are prepared to serve and worship on Sunday, to learn, and to apply what we have read and studied to gain wisdom we need for the coming week.
What would next week be like if you took a day off to rest this weekend?
Wisdom in ancient Hebrew picture language means one who is skilled at separating good from bad. So, how does one become skilled at separating good and bad? By studying and applying the Word of God. In the Bible, God identifies good and bad behaviors and beliefs; our challenge is to find out what God has to say on a matter and align our beliefs and behaviors with the Bible, thus becoming wise.
Seeking wisdom is an act of our will, but it also takes time.
Here are a few ideas that worked for our family:
As we begin to number our days in this new year, I would encourage you to weigh or count the days of your week to seek wisdom. Set aside time on your day of rest to study, pray, and connect with God, family, and God’s people. If you are not taking a day of rest, try it this month. See if giving more weight to one day does not change your entire week and improve your spiritual life.
What is one way you plan to gain wisdom this coming year?
Do you take a day of rest? If so, how do you do it?