There is a famous hymn in which many people, Christian and secular, are familiar with. “I’ll fly away” is sung at nearly every country, bluegrass, folk, homecoming, (sometimes) rock outings, and movies.
The song has an amazingly Biblical principle. Surely, we will fly away and be preserved into the Heavenly kingdom of our great God (2 Timothy 4:18).
This song was penned by a man named Albert Brumley in reflection on his days of picking cotton on his father’s Oklahoma farm. This song compares the world to a prison where our soul can escape upon death.
The skeleton of this song can be found in an old ballad that Brumley would hum on the farm named “The Prisoner’s Song.” In reference to a prison, we find Moses describing his desire to fly away from the prison of life’s wandering in Psalm 90.
It is interesting to note that this is the only Psalm attributed to Moses within the Psalms and therefore the oldest of the Psalms. Scholars believe that this Psalm was written towards the end of wandering for the Israelite generation barred from the promised land (Deuteronomy 1:35). Moses himself being within this group, is seeing the generation die out and the mortality of man.
Despite the circumstances and realization of life’s brevity, Moses affirms that his time on Earth must still be used for God’s purpose, even in the light of eternity.
With this tid-bit in mind, check out the words of the Psalmist Moses in Psalm 90:9-12,
“For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: We spend our years as a tale that is told.
The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
Who knoweth the power of thine anger? Even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath.
So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”
Moses speaks of numbering our days so that we may apply the God-given wisdom we obtained because our days are numbered.
In regards to New Testament language, this is what it means to “redeem the time” (Ephesians 5:16-18).
It is worth noting that Ephesians 5:17 Paul also is teaching the Christian to not be “unwise.” Understanding the will of God will teach us to number our days and make the most of each one for the Gospel, despite the circumstances.
We will constantly be immersed in non-ideal circumstances. The “days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16) so we should not expect anything less. In the truest sense, the world is like a prison since we are not home yet.
Yet, while everyone is here, make the most of the opportunities God gives us each day until that glorious day when our soul’s are released and we see our Savior face to face!
And yes, I say our. There is only one Gospel able to breach the prison walls and strongholds. Share it! And on that fateful day, the sky will be full of soul’s taking flight unto Heaven.
When the shadows of this life are gone,
I’ll fly away.
Like a bird from prison bars has flown
I’ll fly away.