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Psalm 39, Part 1 of 2

Verses 1-6

For the director of music. For Jeduthun. A psalm of David.

1 I said, “I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin; I will put a muzzle on my mouth as long as the wicked are in my presence.”

2 But when I was silent and still, not even saying anything good, my anguish increased.

3 My heart grew hot within me, and as I meditated, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue:

4 “Show me, O Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life.

5 You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man’s life is but a breath.


6 Man is a mere phantom as he goes to and fro: He bustles about, but only in vain; he heaps up wealth, not knowing who will get it.

Jeduthun was one of three musicians David put in charge of the worship at the sanctuary (the others were Heman and Asaph) (cf 1 Chron. 16:37–43; 2 Chron. 5:12; 35:15).

Jeduthun is also mentioned in the titles to Psalms 62 and 77. Considering the dirge-like quality of this Psalm (which is joined with Psalm 38), it is interesting David wanted it used in public worship.1 Nevertheless, he did and there are two thoughts I’d like to point out through these verses of this entire Psalm. Tonight, we look at the first six verses.

Life is short. (verses 1-6)

· David expresses in verses 4-5 that life was short. David wanted a reminder from the Lord that life here on earth was very brief and any suffering we endure here is so temporary compared to what awaits us on the other side of death.

· Echoing this Psalm James, the brother of our Lord, declares, James 4:14(b) What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

· Look at the last part of verse 6 again: He bustles about, but only in vain; he heaps up wealth, not knowing who will get it.

o We can get so busy, can’t we? Yet for all our business, David declares it as vanity. He further goes on to declare that even though we amass wealth, once we’re dead, we have no idea who will get it. Yes, wills and inheritance laws help some but you cannot control how that money will be spent. Therefore, you don’t know what’s even going to happen to it.

o Does this make living life and having wealth a sin? NO! Not at all. It is a simple reminder, from a king, that there MUST be more to our lives than “stuff”. There has to be a driving force greater than the accumulation of wealth.

“Show me, O Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life.”

May we be about the Kingdom’s business of spreading the good news and serving Him passionately because life is short.


[1]Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Worshipful, 1st ed. (Colorado Springs, Colo.: Cook Communications Ministries, 2004), 150.