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Summary: This is an attempt to retell Psalm 90 in a way that is relevant for today

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Psalm 90

V1

Oh Lord, the god who is sovereign over his people Israel, the one who rules over them as a king who cares for his people, providing protection, providing justice, providing stability. You have been our dwelling place. Not just a place to escape from the difficulties of life. Not just a temple in which we celebrate good times. Like a home is so much more than a house you are so much more than a building, a temple. It is not your good gifts, like the houses we live in, not the cities in which we live, but you are our dwelling; the place to where we return; the place where we get rest; the place where we are accepted.

And not just us, but you are a home for all generations, past and future, of those who call on your name, of those who accept your lordship over their lives. From the days of Abel to the last days of this world you have and will have your doors open to us.

V2

You never change. Since the mountains were born in the turbulent birth pains of creation and since you brought forth the ground, the earth, the world, the universe in the first day of creation until these days of rapid change in which we live, where in one year life changes more than in a hundred years of the dark ages, where professions are created and made redundant in a life time. You are God; the only God; the creator and you don’t change. You are the one unchanging thing in the midst of all our changes. You are the home that never changes.

And just as you don’t change so your message doesn’t change. Though the medium of the message changes from generation to generation, though things are done in ways never though possible or even desirable, each generation seemingly a stranger to the next, still the message stays the same. You are our creator. You are our home.

V3

And it is you that has decreed that we individual humans won’t live forever. When the parents of all failed to keep the evil which had invaded the spiritual dimensions from invading the physical realm, when the first of the race declared their independence you decreed that we are made from dust and to dust we shall return. We, the whole of humanity, the children of others, are to be ‘unmade’ from the physical realm in which we live, the dust to dust the breath of God back to God. Perfect humanity ceased. God allowed our ancestors to live in their independency but not forever. Fallen humanity would not live for ever. The sins of one would not be inflicted on others forever. The longing for a spiritual home would not be denied forever. There will be a time to return to God’s unmitigated presence.

V4

The contrast between fallen humanity with its limited life and the eternal God is immense. In your sight a thousand years, the addition of one on the furthest reaches of a calendar is like the simple addition of one day on the nearest side of the calendar in the experience of a fallen person. Or maybe not even that long. To you a millennium could even seem like a watch of the night, a few hours sleep for someone who wakes and hardly recalls the dreams that occupied the mind.

V5-6

The achievements of those past are swept away like the wind blows a pile of fallen leaves through a blustery night. Yet you are ever present, watching, listening, feeling, knowing, caring and working towards the good of those you created and loved. You are ever planning for the good of those who love you. Even though their lives might seem like the flowers of a desert that spring up when the occasional rain falls only to be made dry and lifeless by the next day of unending scorching sun. Still you plan and work with us towards those plans that are more favourable than any we can envisage, more advantageous for our eternal life than anything we can visualize. Help us accept and understand your long, long, long term plans for us, for family, our community of believers, our humanity.

V7

Our days are consumed by your anger. Our asserting our independence, our failures to hold the respect you are due, has lead to you leaving us in that state, in a state of sin, of corruption, of distortion from the good that you made. We feel your anger. It is seen in the sin that invades our world and brings earthquakes that pull down buildings, raging fires that burn through forests, fields and houses, destructive waves that overflow the seas sweeping away buildings, cars, trains, and that lead to death. It is seen in the sin that invades our relationships and brings anger, violence, bitterness, despair that leads to death. It is seen in the break down of families as court officials read through lists of names declare null and void the love that once flowed between two in a marriage. It is seen in the sin that invades our bodies and brings tumours, cancers, and old age that leads to death. We live in your anger.

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