Reflections on Scripture

by Wayne Bandy

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Scripture Passage

      Psalm - Chapter 90 (Contemporary English Version)
    1. (A prayer by Moses, the man of God.) Our Lord, in all generations you have been our home.
    2. You have always been God-- long before the birth of the mountains, even before you created the earth and the world.
    3. At your command we die and turn back to dust,
    4. but a thousand years mean nothing to you! They are merely a day gone by or a few hours in the night.
    5. You bring our lives to an end just like a dream. We are merely tender grass
    6. that sprouts and grows in the morning, but dries up by evening.
    7. Your furious anger frightens and destroys us,
    8. and you know all of our sins, even those we do in secret.
    9. Your anger is a burden each day we live, then life ends like a sigh.
    10. We can expect seventy years, or maybe eighty, if we are healthy, but even our best years bring trouble and sorrow. Suddenly our time is up, and we disappear.
    11. No one knows the full power of your furious anger, but it is as great as the fear that we owe to you.
    12. Teach us to use wisely all the time we have.
    13. Help us, LORD! Don't wait! Pity your servants.
    14. When morning comes, let your love satisfy all our needs. Then we can celebrate and be glad for what time we have left.
    15. Make us happy for as long as you caused us trouble and sorrow.
    16. Do wonderful things for us, your servants, and show your mighty power to our children.
    17. Our Lord and our God, treat us with kindness and let all go well for us. Please let all go well!

Psalms - Chapter 90

Entered: February 24, 2009
Psalm 90 begins the fourth part of the book of Psalms with one of the most remarkable psalms of the book - a prayer of Moses. The subject of this psalm is the brevity of human life and the everlasting nature of God. "Before the mountains were born," there was God. He has been on hand to give refuge to every generation. To God "a thousand years are like yesterday." To Him it is like the passing of only a few hours. Mankind, on the other hand, has a lifespan that in contrast can be compared to grass that grows in the morning and withers by evening.

In light of the brevity of life, man should make the most of the time he has. In so doing he should avoid sin which brings God's judgment on him along with its own natural repercussions. In Moses' mind may well have been the thought of sin's outcomes for Israel. Many were struck down as a direct result of their sin. On other occasions Israel experienced defeat at the hands of her enemies because of sin. Above all, though, Israel wound up wondering in the desert for 40 years because of her sin. A whole generation spent its remaining years in unfruitful wondering without even seeing the land of promise. This is not good use of the brief years of life that one has. As Moses described it in verse 9, "all our days ebb away under Your wrath; we end our years like a sign."

Here is Moses' prayer, "Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts." With the developing of wisdom can come increasingly greater benefit in the life God has given us and the years numbered to us. Then we are able to "shout with joy and be glad all our days," and the favor of the Lord our God can be on us.

Entered: March 31, 2014

Psalms 90 was written by Moses and is thought to have been written during Israel's wonderings through the Sinai desert. These meaningless wonderings seemingly gave a meaningless perspective on life. All due to Israel's sin. This perspective comes through in Moses' thoughts in this psalm.

God is eternal, but by comparison a lifetime for man is like grass that sprouts in the morning and withers by evening. And when this life is lived under the terror of God's wrath due to man's sin, the days "ebb away" and end "like a sigh." (90:9) Moses prayed that God would teach them to "number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts." Then maybe God's wrath would turn and He would "have compassion on Your servants." (90:13) Then he asked that God would "Make us rejoice for as many days as You have humbled us, for as many years as we have seen adversity." Then, instead of futility in life they would see the fruit of their efforts. Or, as Moses prayed, "establish for us the work of our hands." (90:17)

Life has meaning only when lived in fellowship with our Creator. Apart from that it is as meaningless as the grass that sprouts in the morning and withers by evening. This isn't because God is an angry wrathful God, but because man is stubborn and insists on doing it his way. We don't want to give up control of our lives, blind to the fact that allowing the One who gave us life to direct our lives is the only way for it to have meaning.