Live Your Only Life Wisely Psalm 90

Dr. Jerry A. Collins

 

You get one life and one life only here on earth. Life cannot be started over again. What remains of it for you must be guided by wisdom. Moses was an older man now. He knew the inevitable. He now knows that neither he nor the Israelites with him who rebelled in the wilderness would see a successful end to their wanderings. The entire generation would die by Godís wrath against sin. The remainder of their days and the lives of the next generation need Godís favor. They need to learn wisdom and submit themselves to God for blessing. This Psalm is a statement about the reality of existence.

 

WHILE HUMAN LIFE IS FLEETING, GOD IS ETERNAL

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 (Verses 1-2).

The Psalm begins with an affirmation of faith Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. The God of the Bible is a safe haven. God had, of course proven himself to be both Lord and our dwelling place to His people even before they formed as a nation in the land. He is the reason they exist. The verse stresses the sovereignty of the Lord as creator You gave birth to the earth and the world. The underlying point is that the Sovereign God precedes creation. He is God even from everlasting to everlasting. The devout find comfort that God is always with them as our perpetual caregiver.

Application: The God we worship has no rivals. There is no God who can compare. Our reliance upon Him is possible because our God is capable of caring for our every need.

 

GOD SOVEREIGNLY BRINGS HUMAN LIFE TO A SWIFT END

You turn man back into dust and say, "Return, O children of men. ďFor 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 (Verses 3-6).

In contrast to Gods eternal sovereignty is manís human frailty You turn man back into dust. When sin entered the human experience mankindís dream of divinity died too. Man is not like God after all. By divine decree God say[s], "Return, O children of men meaning Ďyou are mere mortalsí. People might not think of lifeís brevity when all is well, but death comes quickly and you are gone. But time is different for God ďFor a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it passes by, or as a watch in the night. From Gods eternal perspective human life is so brief its almost insignificant.

 

Life and people are fleeting and frail You [God] have swept them away like a flood, they fall asleep. Human life is a whimper then comes the sleep of death. Once that life seemed vigorous in the morning they are like grass which sprouts anew. Vitality, activity and accomplishment made it seem so in the morning it flourishes and sprouts anew. However, as with all life toward evening it fades and withers away. Morning and evening are pictures of the beginning and end of life. There is one. Then the other is inevitable.

Application: Humans may flourish for a time, a brief time, but in the end their life is ended and they wither away. And, by the way, there are no u-hauls behind a hearse.

 

 

THE SWIFT END TO HUMAN LIFE IS DUE TO SIN

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 (Verses 7-10).

The reason for human lifeís terrible affliction is Godís anger over sin we have been consumed by Your anger and by Your wrath we have been dismayed. Sin is the cause of all suffering and death. In context, this level of intensity, consumed and dismayed, can be found in Israelís wilderness rebellions and wanderings. There, every adult twenty years of age or older, at the beginning of the journey, were destined to die in the wilderness. The sins of the people cannot be hidden You have placed our iniquities before You, our secret sins in the light of Your presence. Even our most secret sins are openly known by God. The brevity of life reminds us of this divine death sentence upon our sins for all our days have declined in Your fury; we have finished our years like a sigh.

 

The days pass quickly and soon the years go by, one by one, until life ends. What we need, of course, is forgiveness for sins and divine compassion for a longer and better life. But for now, the focus is on the sequence of sin, wrath, and death. Just how long do we have before life slips away? As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years, or if due to strength, eighty years. How much is left for you? The adults in the wilderness wanderings could count their remaining days accordingly. Here is what the years of our human life will look like yet their pride is but labor and sorrow. Even the best years, the ones they could boast about were filled with trouble and sadness. Times passes quickly for soon it is gone and we fly away. It is a fleeting life and then suddenly the finality of death.

Application: Godís rightful indignation over human sin reminds us that all are sinners and deserve divine wrath. This reality is highlighted whenever collective sin is the focus.

 

GODíS WRATH UPON SIN INSTRUCTS US TO USE OUR TIME WISELY

Who understands the power of Your anger and Your fury, according to the fear that is due You? So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom (Verses 11-12).

The rhetorical question asserts that no one understands the power of Your anger and Your fury, according to the fear that is due You. Gods anger and fury is related to the fear that is due You [God]. People seldom connect sin and mortality, so they keep on sinning. John 3:36 says He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him. The believer has everlasting life right now and by contrast the unbeliever has Godís wrath right now. If that remains unchanged and they die in unbelief without the fear of God, Godís wrath will end, and they will then experience Godís justice by being cast into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:15). People reap what they sow. Godís wrath upon sin will culminate with just judgment.

 

However, devout people understand the reason for Godís anger, and so pray for Godís wisdom in His Word as they live on earth so teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom. Wisdom begins with divine revelation and so the appeal is for God to teach us. The object of this teaching is to number our days. Not just counting, but planning, executing, and evaluating the activities of the years of life. The outcome is realizing how short and fleeting is life, and how important to plan out the use of our time. The result of this endeavor is that we may present to You a heart of wisdom. A life of wisdom characterizes one who has the right affections, makes the proper choices, and is morally productive. This pays dividends after death, in eternity.

Application: What you are taking with you at the end of your life is your discipleship, i.e., your conformity to Jesus Christ. Radically pursue Christlikeness, the essence of wisdom.

 

GODS WRATH ON SIN REQUIRES SEEKING COMPASSION TO LIVE JOYFUL LIVES ††

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 (Verses 13-17).

The prayer is for God to turn back from His course of Judgment over sins do return, O Lord; how long will it be? They want to know when Godís anger will cease. Then they appeal for Gods compassion instead and be sorry for Your servants. This is the only way prospects will change. If Godís wrath relents and He turns to compassion it will satisfy us in the morning with Your lovingkindness, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. So the prayer is for gladness, not just in the moment, but for as many days as he afflicted them make us glad according to the days You have afflicted us, and the years we have seen evil. The favor of God would fill them with joyful singing rather then lamenting their days.

 

They have endured years of suffering for sin. They are ready for divine blessing, but they want Godís compassion displayed to them in a marvelous way let Your work appear to Your servants and Your majesty to their children. Then they would all know that God has heard their prayer. Not only this, but they also want their own work to be established let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us; and confirm for us the work of our hands. They want God to take pleasure in them so their lives will flourish. It is an appeal to God to enable them to have a productive life, one with value yes, confirm the work of our hands. Once weak and perishing, they now appeal to God for divine favor, blessing, and a joyful productive life to follow.

Application: The easiest way to live your life, is to live it for an audience of one. If your only interest is to please God, you will face conflict, but never be conflicted.

 

SO WHAT?

         Sin, violating Godís character, is what brings trouble and despair to life, and then death.

         A life of faith enables wise living that gets beyond sins curse to a productive joyful life.

         Pursuing Godís selective favor will that your fleeting life has eternal significance.