3rd October 2011

The Breath Of Life

“My life is no longer than the width of my hand. An entire lifetime is just a moment to you; human existence is but a breath.”
Psalm 39:5 (NLT)

At times when I’d get agitated my son would say to me; “Just keep breathing in and out Dad!” That’s great advice because whatever life throws at us it’s very important to continue breathing—realising that whatever the problem is, a calm, deep breathing human being can usually take it in his or her stride. If we think about it, it’s incredible just how frail and fragile we are as humans, and how close we are to death every time we breathe in and out.  Someone observed that “Those few seconds between inhalation and exhalation is eternity!”

After making the above statement in Psalm 39, King David continues in verse 6, saying, “We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing. We heap up wealth for someone else to spend.” But you know we, just like David, can look beyond the brief flicker of our life span, and express eternal confidence in God as he does in verse 7:  “And so Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you!”

Moses also has something to tell us about our frailty. In Psalm 90 verse 10 he says: “Seventy years is all we have—eighty years if we are strong; yet all they bring us is trouble and sorrow; life is soon over, and we are gone.”  And here’s the lesson for us in verse 12—“Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts.” (Holman Christian Standard Bible). To be thankful and grateful is to be wise—to realise that “The life of every living thing is in God’s hand, and the breath of all humanity.” (Job 12:10).

From our first crying breath until our last dying gasp, we are held in the hollow of God’s hand.  Humility and thankfulness are appropriate responses to a God who knows that we are “just passing through!”

Again, David says; “For I am your guest—a traveller passing through, as my ancestors were before me!” (Psalm 39:12).

Our faithful loving Father; please continue to hold us close and sustain this frail human existence. Help us to realise that from our first breath until our last; you are our only hope.

Study by Cliff Neill

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