Wednesday, August 17, 2016
Life Is Short, Spend It Wisely
A Prayer of Moses the man of God.
Tradition holds that this Psalm was written by Moses. There is nothing to support the claim and there are some things in the Psalm that indicate it was not.
“LORD, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.” (Psalm 90:1-2)
God is the eternal I am. He has no beginning or ending, but always exists in the present. Mankind has depended on God from the very beginning, because he was God then, he is today, and he will still be eternally in the future. He is without time, except as he has made it.
“Thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest, Return, ye children of men. For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.” (Psalm 90:3-4)
Because God created mankind, he has the right to do whatever he wants with them. If he chooses to destroy a group, it is his right to do so, but no one else has that right. He also has the right to have mercy and give them another chance if he chooses to do so. As the Psalmist points out, to God, what will happen a thousand years in the future is as clear as what happened yesterday, or even a couple of hours ago is to us. As a result, he knows exactly what we will decide and can plan with certainty as to what the result will be, while giving us freedom to choose.
“Thou carriest them away as with a flood; they are as a sleep: in the morning they are like grass which groweth up. In the morning it flourisheth, and groweth up; in the evening it is cut down, and withereth. For we are consumed by thine anger, and by thy wrath are we troubled. Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance. For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told.” (Psalm 90:5-9)
People do not like to admit they do not control their destiny. At any point their life can be taken away as easily as one can be waked from his sleep and as completely as if he were caught in a flood. His life is much like the grass or weeds growing around the house. What was growing vigorously yesterday can be cut down and wither away today. God’s displeasure can result is suffering or death at any moment because he is constantly aware of what we are doing. To God our actions are a story he has already heard. There are no surprises.
“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.” (Psalm 90:10-12)
The Psalmist says that a person can expect to live seventy and sometimes eighty years. Since Moses was eighty when he began to lead Israel, it is unlikely he wrote this Psalm. The Psalmist goes on to state that even if they live to be eighty, their life has been spent in labor and sorrow, constantly reminded death is coming and that life is only temporary and God can cut it even shorter if we anger him. He asks that God teach us to be aware of days of our life so we utilize them wisely.
“Return, O LORD, how long? and let it repent thee concerning thy servants. O satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. Make us glad according to the days wherein thou hast afflicted us, and the years wherein we have seen evil. Let thy work appear unto thy servants, and thy glory unto their children. And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.” (Psalm 90:13-17)
Knowing that our life is short, the Psalmist asks how long we will be separated from God before he forgives and blesses again. He asks that we be able to look back to the days of trials and struggles and rejoice in them, seeing how God worked through them for our benefit and that of our children. As a result people will see God in us, and we will reap the rewards of having served him. Galatians 6:9 promises, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” We don’t want to get discouraged and quit.