Summary: We have a short life, we need to know the One who is eternal. We live a sinful life, we need God’s forgiveness. We have a frail life, we need God’s help.
The author of this psalm is Moses. The first writer of the Bible is Moses.
- No books were written in the days before the Flood when people lived to be almost 1000 years of age. Methuselah lived to be 969 years old.
- No Bible books were written in the days of Abraham when people were still living to be 180, and so forth.
- The first Bible books which were written were written when the average lifespan of man’s life has been reduced to 70-80 years.
We need to hear what Moses has to say.
- This is a serious psalm. It makes no pretence about the realities of life, death, sin and the wrath of God.
(1) We live a Short Life - we need to know the One who is the Eternal
This psalm was a prayer by the aged Moses.
- He looked back at life and saw the real needs of man.
- Man’s life is frail. It is short.
Somebody has calculated, not sure how, that as Moses was leading the children of Israel through the desert during those 40 years, at least 15,000 people would have needed to be buried. (It was in an old commentary.)
So, over the forty-year period, Moses and the Israelites were faced with this duty, day after day - several times a day - burying their dead. In Singapore, with a population of about 3 millions, we cremate many in one day. Crematorium can be fully booked.
You see how this message was imprinted upon their minds and upon Moses’ mind.
Moses brings to mind the brevity of life - 90:4 like a watch in the night; 90:5 weep men away in the sleep.
James 4:14 - What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.
90:10 - The length of our days is seventy years - or eighty, if we have the strength.
Moses asks the Lord to teach him how to count his days so he can be wise.
Ps 90:12 - Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
If we have only $100 to spend, we will be careful what we buy. We cannot afford to waste it.
- In a drought, shortage of water, we try to save water.
Calvin: Great scholars and scientists spend a lot of time calculating the distance from the earth to the sun, and from this planet to that planet, and calculating the distance from here to the moon, and the lifespan of different animals, plants, and trees but few people would like to study the lifespan of man. It makes them think of the shortness of their own life!
Life is short and limited, so how are we to live wisely? KNOW GOD
- Man has sinned against God and needed to be reconciled to Him.
- We have to meet Him one day. He is the ETERNAL God.
- Moses began the psalm Ps 90:1-2 “Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. 2 Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.”
We need to know that which is eternal – we are going to face Him one day.
- Prov 9:10 "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom..."
Thomas Chalmers, a mathematician and a scientist, became a Christian. Someone said to him: "What about the mathematics now?" He was busy preparing sermons all the time and he saw something far more important - the desire to save souls.
"Oh," he said, "my friend, in my unconverted days I forgot two things: the magnitude of eternity and the shortness of life - these are the two great mathematical factors which I now see to be important."
Living a few years for the Lord is far better than living many years foolishly for self.
- Life without God is a wasted life.
- Do not reach the end of the road and then realized you have taken the wrong road.
Have you ever got up out of your chair and walked to the other end of the house, only to arrive and find that you have completely forgotten what you were going to do, or what object you went to get? I once knew a man who called it the affliction of "Destinesia," sort of a combination of amnesia and destination!
Verses 7-8 tell us: We are consumed by your anger and terrified by your indignation. 8 You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.
(2) We have a Sinful Life - we need God’s forgiveness and love
Why are we under God’s wrath, if we are works of His hands?