What does Psalms 39:4 really mean?

Psalms 39:4 is about a plea for God to help the psalmist remember the brevity of life and the importance of seeking God’s guidance in the midst of human frailty.

4 “O Lord, make me know my end
and what is the measure of my days;
let me know how fleeting I am!


Setting the Scene for Psalms 39:4

In Psalms chapter 39, we find King David in a moment of deep reflection and contemplation. The scene is set in the royal chambers of the palace in Jerusalem, where David is seated on his throne, surrounded by his advisors and courtiers. The room is adorned with rich tapestries and golden ornaments, reflecting the opulence of the royal court.

David, with a troubled expression on his face, begins to speak to those gathered around him. He shares his thoughts on the brevity of life and the fleeting nature of human existence. As he ponders the transience of life, he expresses his desire for wisdom and understanding, seeking guidance from the divine.

The atmosphere in the room is solemn and reverent as David’s words resonate with those present. His introspective musings serve as a reminder of the fragility of life and the importance of seeking spiritual enlightenment. The scene captures a moment of vulnerability and introspection in the life of the great King David.

What is Psalms 39:4 about?

This verse is a powerful reminder of the brevity and preciousness of life. It encourages us to reflect on the limited time we have on this earth and to use it wisely. “We are called to be mindful of how we spend our time and to prioritize what truly matters by ‘numbering our days’.” This practice can lead us to a heart of wisdom, helping us make thoughtful decisions and live with purpose and intention.

Think about it – how often do we take our time for granted, mindlessly going through our days without pausing to consider their significance? We can cultivate a deeper appreciation for life and a greater sense of fulfillment by acknowledging the finite nature of our days and seeking wisdom in how we use them. So, let us embrace this teaching and strive to make each day count, cherishing the moments we have and making choices that align with our values and aspirations.

Understanding what Psalms 39:4 really means


In Psalms 39:4, we find David’s heartfelt prayer to the Lord, seeking insight and understanding about the fleeting nature of life. This verse encapsulates a universal human experience—pondering the brevity of our existence and the significance of each passing moment.

Key Phrases and Their Meanings

“Show me, Lord, my life’s end”: David’s plea for divine revelation into the ultimate conclusion of his earthly journey, expressing a profound yearning for clarity amidst life’s uncertainties.

“And the number of my days”: By requesting awareness of the finite duration of his life, David underscores the importance of recognizing the limited time we have and the need to make each day count.

“Let me know how fleeting my life is”: This poignant plea emphasizes the transient nature of human existence, urging us to grasp the impermanence of life and live with a sense of urgency and mindfulness.

Related Biblical Passages

James 4:14 echoes the sentiment of life’s brevity, likening human life to a mist that appears briefly before dissipating. Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 reinforces the idea that life comprises distinct seasons, including a time for birth and a time for death. Psalm 90:12 aligns with David’s prayer, emphasizing the importance of gaining wisdom by recognizing the brevity of life.

Relevance to People Today

In today’s fast-paced world, where distractions abound and priorities often become skewed, Psalms 39:4 serves as a poignant reminder to live intentionally and purposefully. Understanding the fleeting nature of life can inspire us to prioritize meaningful pursuits such as nurturing relationships, deepening our faith, and fostering personal growth.


Imagine a man consumed by his career, neglecting precious moments with his family until a health scare jolts him into realizing the fragility of life. This awakening prompts him to reevaluate his priorities, leading to a renewed focus on spending quality time with loved ones and finding genuine fulfillment. This anecdote mirrors David’s plea in Psalms 39:4, urging us to seize the present and invest in what truly matters.


In conclusion, Psalms 39:4 beckons us to seek wisdom about the brevity of life and to live with intentionality. Let us reflect on our own lives, ponder the significance of each passing day, and consider how we can apply the timeless lessons from this verse to lead lives filled with purpose and meaning.

How can we make our days count for God?

We can make our days count for God by being mindful of our mortality and the brevity of life. This awareness can lead us to seek God’s guidance in how we spend our time and to use our days in ways that honor Him. We can ensure that our days are meaningful and impactful for His kingdom by keeping our focus on God and aligning our actions with His will.

Additionally, we can make our days count for God by seeking to live a life of purpose and intentionality. This involves being intentional in our relationships, our work, and our service to others. When we purposefully seek to bring glory to God in all that we do, we can be confident that our days are being used in a way that is pleasing to Him. Surrendering our will to God and allowing Him to guide us in each decision we make ultimately makes our days count for Him. We can ensure that our days are spent in a way that reflects His love and purpose for our lives by staying connected to Him through prayer, studying His word, and seeking His direction.


Let Psalm 39:4 be your wake-up call in this fast-paced world. Time is ticking, urging us to make each moment count, just like deadlines at work. Reflect on your life like you review your emails – with purpose and intention. Are you truly living for what matters most, like how you prioritize your family? Align your actions with honor and service, just as you do in your career. So, how will you make today count for something bigger than yourself?