April 12, 2023

April 12, 2023

Author: Pastor Gordon Cook
April 12, 2023

Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. You return man to dust and say, Return, O children of man! For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night. You sweep them away as with a flood; they are like a dream, like grass that is renewed in the morning: in the morning it flourishes and is renewed; in the evening it fades and withers. For we are brought to an end by your anger; by your wrath we are dismayed. You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence. For all our days pass away under your wrath; we bring our years to an end like a sigh. The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away. Who considers the power of your anger, and your wrath according to the fear of you? So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.

Psalm 90:1-12

I would think that most Christians would say this, the older they get, the more they read their bibles the more they see the sufficiency of scripture. The world likes to tell us the Bible is archaic and irrelevant, but the more you study your Bible, the more you meditate upon it you see how relevant it is for all of life. Whatever stage of life you’re at, whether you’re a young person, middle-aged, single, married or a grandparent. We could say this couldn’t we that all the sights and sounds in our Bible are taken from real life. Psalm 90 is one of those Psalms that forces us to face real life. Now we can’t be sure when this was written in all likelihood it was written more towards the back end of those 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. And that’s why this Psalm has what you might call the aroma or the smell of death. Many pastors read this Psalm at funerals. I think the Church of England has always made this part of their requirement to read this Psalm at every funeral. Moses, again this is at the back end of those 40 years, saw a lot of death, maybe even conducted a lot of funerals during those 40 years. Remember 99.9% of them didn’t make it into the promised land.

But Moses here looks at death, we could say this- through a God centered lens. First, he celebrates, notice in those first two verses-the greatness and the eternal grandeur of God. Verse two “From everlasting to everlasting you are God.” Moses, I think takes us back to Genesis chapter one verse one “In the beginning was God.” God’s always been there, he will always be there. And he tells us here that he’s always been the dwelling place of his people. That means no matter how far we go back in time whenever God had a people for himself, he’s always had a people for himself and no matter how far we go into the future God has always made himself the home of his people, he is the dwelling place of his people. Isaac watts you’re probably familiar with that hymn based upon this particular Psalm- Our God our help in ages past, our hope for age for years to come. The word here that he uses for dwelling place could be translated refuge, and he carries the idea of safety and protection and that’s a wonderful comfort. No matter what happens in this present life no matter how unstable things get in terms of politically, economically- no matter how dark things get in this present world there’s always that sure rock of stability, God. So, Moses begins the Psalm by praising God, that’s the starting point and that should be the starting point of most of our prayers. We begin with praise, but Moses goes from praise of God to the plight of men. He sets up a contrast between the eternity of God and the frailty of men, versus three through eleven. You could say he sets up the contrast between God’s immortality and man or human mortality. And he employs several word pictures to remind us of the brevity of life and the certainty of death. He uses the analogy of a flood, verse five that quickly comes and goes. He uses the analogy of a dream, why a dream? Well dreams are pretty short, you know how long a dream is? Generally, a few seconds, some last up to 20 minutes, that’s the top end, I think, 20 to 30 minutes. But dreams are very, very short. And then he uses the picture of grass. The grows up in the morning and then flourishes in the evening. So, it’s good to remind ourselves of who God is, he starts out there verse one and two. But he also wants us to remind ourselves of how frail we are and how short life is. There’s a sermon by Jonathan Edwards titled “The preciousness of time and the importance of redeeming it.” And that’s really what Moses wants to drive home here, after giving us the cold statistics regarding the brevity of life verse ten, “70 years or three score and ten and by reason of strength 80 or four score.” Notice he begins to pray and so if you want a sermon outline the praise of God verse one and two, the plight of man verse three through 11, and then the third P would be the prayer for wisdom- verse 12. The prayer for wisdom, knowing that God is God that he’s an everlasting God from beginning- no beginning no end. Knowing how short life is on the face of the earth Moses begins to plead for wisdom, verse 12 “So teach us to number our days that we might get a heart of wisdom.”

It’s interesting, I never thought of this before but Paul the apostle says something similar. If you think of Ephesians chapter five, here’s what he says, Paul says this, almost like Moses “Look carefully then how you walk not as unwise but as wise, making use of the time because the days are evil.” I don’t think anyone would question would they, the days are evil? And the options for us as Christians are not that we run away, God never calls us to run and hide. We are to live in this world, we are rub shoulders with people, but we need wisdom. If we’re going to number our days, we need wisdom. And the good news is that God promises, he does, a wonderful promise in James chapter one to give wisdom to those who ask. James says, “if anyone lacks wisdom ask God who gives generously to all without reproach and it will be given to him” The more our society implodes, the more sin is more pervasive across the board you see things get more complex- how to live in this world. It really does I think we’re going to cry more and more than we ever have brethren for wisdom and how to live, how to think and how to speak in what you could call a Romans one world. It’s a Romans one world, under the wrath of God. We need to love this world, we need to love our neighbors, we need to love our enemies, but we need wisdom from above.