What God Numbers

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“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”  {Psalm 90:12}

A new year and a fresh conviction that our time here is short.  It is limited.  It is set in a fixed boundary.  Our days are numbered.  This year?  It could be our last.  

The very first mention of the word “number” in scripture, as far as I could find it in the NKJV, is here in Genesis:

“Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are—northward, southward, eastward, and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever.  And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered.  Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width, for I give it to you.” {Gen. 13:14-17}

“Then He brought [Abraham] outside and said, ‘Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.’  And He said to him, ‘So shall your descendants be.'” {Gen. 15:5}

God, promising Abraham a land, a heritage, descendants beyond number.  God, proclaiming from the outset that his grace-work would be beyond numbering.

Man counts the numbers in his bank account, the numbers on the scale, the numbers of his followers, the numbers of those who work for him.  Like David, counting his men, measuring his own strength, his sufficiency, his weight.

God numbers our months, even our steps.  He numbers His own.  He numbers His mighty works, the lives of those who will receive His grace.  An innumerable number.

“The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
He gathers together the outcasts of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted
And binds up their wounds.
He counts the number of the stars;
He calls them all by name.
Great is our Lord, and mighty in power;
His understanding is infinite.
The Lord lifts up the humble;
He casts the wicked down to the ground.”
{Psa. 147:2-6}

Then this, one of the very last times the word “number” appears in scripture (according to the NKJV):

“After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” {Rev.7:9-10}

And so the first mention of “numbers” is in context of God promising a land, promising a people who will receive grace and favor.  And at one of the last mentions of the word “number”we see that promise fulfilled and consummated, a people beyond number from every tribe and tongue before the throne, before the Lamb.  

A promise fulfilled because God chose to send His Son, Jesus, “and He was numbered with the transgressors.” {Isa.53:12, Lk.22:37}  Numbered with the malefactors.

Teach us, O God, to number our days so that we may gain a heart of wisdom.  So that we can participate in the grace-work You are doing in this world, through this particular and peculiar and set-apart people.

“Many, O Lord my God, are Your wonderful works
Which You have done
And Your thoughts toward us
Cannot be recounted to You in order;
If I would declare and speak of them
They are more than can be numbered.”  {Ps.40:5}

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