From Everlasting to Everlasting – Thoughts on Psalm 90.
Psalm 90. From Everlasting to Everlasting.
A Prayer of Moses, the Man of God.
1 Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. 2 Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. 3 You return man to dust and say, “Return, O children of man!” 4 For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night. 5 You sweep them away as with a flood; they are like a dream, like grass that is renewed in the morning: 6 in the morning it flourishes and is renewed; in the evening it fades and withers. 7 For we are brought to an end by your anger; by your wrath we are dismayed. 8 You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence. 9 For all our days pass away under your wrath; we bring our years to an end like a sigh. 10 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. 11 Who considers the power of your anger, and your wrath according to the fear of you? 12 So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. 13 Return, O LORD! How long? Have pity on your servants! 14 Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. 15 Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, and for as many years as we have seen evil.16 Let your work be shown to your servants, and your glorious power to their children. 17 Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!
We are so temporary – like dust (v. 3), like a dream (v.5), like grass (v. 5-6). Yet God is eternal, our sanctuary, reigning from everlasting to everlasting. He is beyond what we think we know. He transcends nature, time, and human understanding (v. 2). In His sovereignty He can make us come and go however He pleases (v. 3-8).
We cannot hide from God even our most deeply hidden sins… God, in all His glory and holiness, is the mirror in which we see our uncleanliness (v. 8). Our lives are vanity, passing away quickly, filled with toil and trouble, and ending as quickly and pitifully as they began (v. 9-10).
How then are we spending these fleeting moments on Earth? Are we numbering our days, acknowledging the fact that God created us and gave us this life for a specific purpose – to know Him, worship Him, and glorify Him? Do we humbly receive and apply His wisdom, which is to focus on His sovereignty and salvation (v. 12)?
Recognizing the ephemeral and transitory nature of our lives, Moses prays that God would show us favor. We are mere servants, only capable of begging for God’s mercy and pity (v. 13). Only by His steadfast love can we find joy (v. 14). Only by His grace can our works produce fruit, and our lives have value and significance (v. 17).
God, I am but a mere servant, clothed with rags and unable to show my unclean face in Your courts. I deserve nothing – not even my first breath…no, not even the first thought You had to create me. Yet You, in Your grace and mercy, delight in me. You save me from the punishment I deserve in all my sinful filth. What a wonderful and lovely and amazing Gospel You offer to all mankind…I love you, Lord. I praise You, for Your works are beyond what I can even begin to comprehend, yet they shake me to the core and bring me to my unworthy knees.