Many translations include the subtitle, “A Prayer of Moses, the man of God”. If the subtitle is correct, then Psalm 90 is probably one of the oldest, if not the oldest, of the psalms. In many ways, the Scriptures are like a “time machine” in which a person can be instantly transported to other ages and places. At the same time, the words of the scriptures are very clear and helpful, because the message applies to people in any age or place. But the way people interact with other people remain the same; and even from a distance of 3500 years, the personal prayer and words in Psalm 90 can be read, studied and used in the “high tech” world of today.
The themes of Psalm 90 are broad and grand. Those themes include the infinite power and eternal nature of God. The Psalm opens with the words, “Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were born or You gave birth to the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.” If Moses was the author of Psalm 90, then those words would have held special meaning. He fled from Egypt and made a new home among shepherds. Then God called him back to Egypt to bring His people out. For long years, Moses and the nation of Israel moved though the wilderness. For Moses, the only permanent dwelling place he had was the Lord.
Today, as people live in their homes and seek to establish their lives, it can be easy to forget that the real dwelling place must be with the Lord. Homes wear out or are destroyed. Cities change and vanish. Nations grow old and die. Only the Lord God can offer a home that will always be there. He has the true power to save, protect or punish. How easily it is to forget this! How easy it is to allow urgent affairs of life to overshadow eternal issues.
Compared to God, the accomplishments of mankind are not very important. Many wonderful and amazing discoveries have been made over the last 75 years. The volume of knowledge now available is incredible. In fact, the sheer volume of information now available is a problem in itself. Yet, very few of the forces of nature are really understood. In spite of power and knowledge, earthquakes, storms, volcanoes, droughts still disrupt the work of man on a regular basis. Today’s great scientific breakthrough is tomorrow’s disproven theory.
In spite of the great claims of “experts”, the human race is not “evolving” into something better. The nature of mankind is unchanged. Sin is still the great barrier that exists between God and man, and when people ignore God’s words, they will face God’s wrath. Verses 7 and 8 state, “For we have been consumed by Your anger and by Your wrath we have been dismayed. You have placed our iniquities before You, our secret sins in the light of Your presence.” Sin will be found out – it cannot stay hidden forever. There is always a price to pay when a person will not follow God.
Arrogance and pride can come so easily from accomplishments made in this life, but it all lasts for such a short time. What is really important? What will make a real difference? The answers always point back to God. Verse Moses wrote, “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” When people genuinely accept the shortness of their time in this world, then that time becomes more precious, and there is a desire to use it wisely.
That realization and desire can be realized through Jesus Christ. When a person is joined to Jesus Christ in obedience to the Gospel teachings, then that person will find the path to Eternal Life and peace. In Him, a Christian can find real accomplishment in day-to-day living. In Christ, life has real meaning and worth. In Jesus Christ, every Christian CAN make a difference.
The last two verses of the psalm state “Let Your work appear to Your servants and Your majesty to their children. Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us; and confirm for us the work of our hands; yes, confirm the work of our hands.” For the Christian, that request is a certainty! The life of a Christian will bring peace and joy to that person, and improve the quality of life for those that are touched by that Christian’s life. The life of a Christian is blessed and confirmed through the intercession of Jesus Christ. In Christ, life DOES have meaning and worth! Thank you Lord.
< James Shelburn>