Year-End Thoughts from Psalm 90:12

Ps90-12As we come to the end of the year of our Lord 2013 and think again on the swift passage of time, we are reminded of the brevity and frailty of our own lives. And the prayer of Moses in Psalm 90:12 comes to our lips, “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”

Along with that prayer, we post these comments of John Calvin on this verse as found in his commentary on Psalm 90. May they steer our thoughts in the right direction today and enable us to pray for greater wisdom as we end this year and soon begin another, D.V.

12. Teach us so to number our days. Some translate to the number of our days, which gives the same sense. As Moses perceived that what he had hitherto taught is not comprehended by the understandings of men until God shine upon them by his Spirit, he now sets himself to prayer. It indeed seems at first sight absurd to pray that we may know the number of our years. What? since even the strongest scarcely reach the age of fourscore years, is there any difficulty in reckoning up so small a sum? Children learn numbers as soon as they begin to prattle; and we do not need a teacher in arithmetic to enable us to count the length of a hundred upon our fingers.

So much the fouler and more shameful is our stupidity in never comprehending the short term of our life. Even he who is most skillful in arithmetic, and who can precisely and accurately understand and investigate millions of millions, is nevertheless unable to count fourscore years in his own life. It is surely a monstrous thing that men can measure all distances without themselves, that they know how many feet the moon is distant from the center of the earth, what space there is between the different planets; and, in short, that they can measure all the dimensions both of heaven and earth; while yet they cannot number threescore and ten years in their own case.

It is therefore evident that Moses had good reason to beseech God for ability to perform what requires a wisdom which is very rare among mankind. The last clause of the verse is also worthy of special notice. By it he teaches us that we then truly apply our hearts to wisdom when we comprehend the shortness of human life. What can be a greater proof of madness than to ramble about without proposing to one’s self any end?

True believers alone, who know the difference between this transitory state and a blessed eternity, for which they were created, know what ought to be the aim of their life. No man then can regulate his life with a settled mind, but he who, knowing the end of it, that is to say death itself, is led to consider the great purpose of man’s existence in this world, that he may aspire after the prize of the heavenly calling.

Top 10 News Stories of 2013 – The Associated Press

News from The Associated Press.

yearinreviewPosted over a week ago already is the Associated Press’ annual list of its top stories of the year. For 2013 the top story was the botched rollout of Obamacare, with the Boston Marathon terrorist attack second. Below is the AP’s own introduction; to view its list, click on the link above.

As always, when we review the year in this way, we are reminded not only of the increasing wickedness of man but also of the unchanging sovereignty of our God, Who is in the heavens and does as He pleases (Psalm 115:3), also in and through the wickedness of man. And through the eye-glasses of God’s Word we learn to discern the signs of our Lord’s return. He is coming – in judgment and in mercy – and 2013 proved that again!

NEW YORK (AP) — The glitch-plagued rollout of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul was the top news story of 2013, followed by the Boston Marathon bombing and the dramatic papal changeover at the Vatican, according to The Associated Press’ annual poll of U.S. editors and news directors.

The saga of “Obamacare” – as the Affordable Care Act is widely known – received 45 first-place votes out of the 144 ballots cast for the top 10 stories. The marathon bombing received 29 first-place votes and the papal transition 21.

Other strong contenders were the bitter partisan conflict in Congress and the leaks about National Security Agency surveillance by former NSA analyst Edward Snowden.

Visit this page to see the list of top stories.

P.S. For some news closer to home for the year 2013, the Grand Rapids Press has once again published its top 25 pictures for this year, including this most memorable one from the Spring flooding (see below). These images too bring back lots of memories, the happy and the sad. Here’s the introduction to these memories:

We published thousands of photos this year in our MLive galleries and in The Grand Rapids Press documenting the moments that make up our lives in West Michigan. Historic flooding, ArtPrize and Griffins hockey players lifting the Calder Cup gave us memorable images to capture as did the installation of a new Bishop and a family celebrating the birth of another child, a 12th son. Here are 25 of our favorite images from 2013.