Psalm 90 offers us
- Clarity: we are finite and need infinite help
- Encouragement: God is eternal and His lovingkindness is sure
- Hope: we can appeal to His lovingkindness to sustain us, and to even grant us otherworldly joy, in all circumstances.
At 30 I found myself in the midst of a mid-life crisis.
Is this what I’m supposed to do? Is this who I’m supposed to be?
Our experiences and circumstances at different times in life can make us question the reality of our faith.
We’re disappointed and disillusioned. We may have expectations that we haven’t identified: are they unrealistic? Undefined? Merely incorrect?
Our experience cannot, should not ever, define our faith.
“Psalm 90 begins with an affirmation of their faith in a short hymn-like acknowledgment of the eternality of God. But the lament in vv.3–10 forms a contrast to this with a description of their fragile and fleeting life; the psalmist uniquely describes how the wrath of God for sin has brought trouble and sorrow to their lives. Verses 10-11 form a transition to the petition section: since they do not know the power of God’s wrath and its relation to their morality, they ask God to teach them so that they will gain a heart of wisdom (v. 12). Here and throughout the psalm there is a clear influence of wisdom literature. In vv.13–17 they petition God to turn from his course of wrath, have compassion on them, and bless them with a joyful and productive life.” (1)
Psalm 90 contrasts God’s eternity with human brevity.
A declaration of the Eternality of God
- Moses declares the Lord has been our dwelling place, protection, or shelter.
- Moses declares the eternal nature of God:
- Before the mountains, immovable.
- Because He’s always existed, He provides adequate protection
We long to be HOME. We want a place to call ours, where we’re safe and able to rest. Don’t miss the theology behind that longing: this world is not our home, and Moses articulates this:
“You have been our dwelling place.”
A ludicrous comparison: God & Man
The metaphors used in this passage highlight the fragile and fleeting part of our life in contrast to the eternality of God.
- Material: the weight of God’s eternity turns mortals into dust (Genesis 3:19, Job 34:14-15, Psalm 104:29)
- Time: The length of an eternal time, 1000+ years, to man is nothing to God.
- Man’s perspective needs reorienting.
Our life is transitory because of Gods wrath toward sin.
That we try to cover over sin demonstrates that we know it is wrong.
Sin always leads to death, and will always be exposed.
“A secret sin on earth is open scandal in heaven.” LS Chafer
There are imperceptible consequences of our sins that we cannot measure because they’re spiritually appraised, not humanly appraised.
An Appeal to God’s Compassion
Man’s only hope is an appeal to God’s lovingkindness – hesed.
Apart from His lovingkindness, we don’t have a chance.
“Let Your work appear to Your servants.”
In contrast to the evil work they have committed, the psalmist calls on God’s good, gracious work.
We are finite, and need infinite help.
- Pray for a broken heart toward our sin
- Pray that we number our days: recognize the brevity of our lives and live for God
- Pray for God’s grace to make you glad
- Pray that God will establish the work of your hands
Allen P. Ross, A Commentary on the Psalms (90–150): Commentary, vol. 3, Kregel Exegetical Library (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Academic, 2016), 24.