An Ageless God for Aging Sinners
Our devotion this morning comes from Psalm 90, which is a prayer of Moses, the man of God. Notice a number of points:
The Eternity of God
“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.” (Psalm 90:1–2, NASB95).
He is the sovereign (Lord: Adonai— the One who does as He wills). And He is our shelter. God doesn’t just make a shelter for His people. He is our shelter. What a blessed lot: we live in God and God lives in us. He is a lasting home for passing people. He existed before any other place of refuge. The mountains are a metaphor of stability (Psalm 46) and of shelter Psalm 11:1). In comparison, God has always been there in the past, He is always here in the present, and He will always be there in the future. His limitless duration extends back and forth throughout eternity. His unending existence penetrates the spacetime continuum. He is the great constant of life.
The Brevity of Life
“You turn man back into dust and say, “Return, O children of men.” For a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it passes by, or as a watch in the night. You have swept them away like a flood, they fall asleep; In the morning they are like grass which sprouts anew. In the morning it flourishes and sprouts anew; toward evening it fades and withers away.” (Psalm 90:3–6, NASB95).
Nothing provides a better perspective on who we are and where we are headed than catching a glimpse of God. He is forever; we are but for a moment. Moses, the man of God saw this and it moved him to pray (Psalm 90). I rather suspect he had this vision in the wilderness, as he watched the Exodus generation die in the desert, one by one.
The Depravity of Sin
Why such a waste of life? Why are human beings all across this world limping their way to the grave? The answer is quite simple really— We are sinners. And death is what sin does to people.
“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. For all our days have declined in Your fury; we have finished our years like a sigh. As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years, or if due to strength, eighty years, yet their pride is but labor and sorrow; for soon it is gone and we fly away. Who understands the power of Your anger and Your fury, according to the fear that is due You?” (Psalm 90:7–11, NASB95).
Interestingly, did you notice, Moses doesn't speak about gross acts of wickedness like murder, or rape, or racism—just common garden iniquity, that mostly hidden corruption each of us carries around in our hearts. Our secret sins. do you see, give God more than enough reason to wipe us all out? But of course, sins are only secret between men. We can keep no secrets from the all seeing eye of God.
The Theology of Grace
Moses asks God to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves….
Teach us to live wisely, in the real world, reckoning with the brevity of life: “So teach us to number our days, That we may present to You a heart of wisdom.
Remember your covenant and your steadfast love. Even though we have oft’ forsaken thee, do thou return to us: “Do return, O Lord; how long will it be? And be sorry for Your servants. O satisfy us in the morning with Your lovingkindness, That we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. Make us glad according to the days You have afflicted us, and the years we have seen evil. 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.” (Psalm 90:12–17, NASB95).
When all is said and done, facing life or facing death, what we all really need is grace. And that is just the thing: God stands ready and willing to give to any who will ask. Perhaps the most comforting note this Psalm sounds is that when the Christian finally does come to die, he isn’t’ going nowhere. He is going home. It’s the desire of every child after a long day shopping with mommy, it’s the yearning of every worker at the end of hard day at the office, and it’s the destiny of every blood bought child of God. Take comfort, Christian: You are almost well and nearly home.