Summary: A great message for New Year’s. Focussing on the importance of evaluating our lives in light of God’s eternity and in a right relationship with him.
Intro: It was a disaster on a national scale! Hundreds of thousands of deaths within four decades, over the age of 20 only two of the entire generation survived. It must have been a terrible time, a solemn time, I don’t imagine that many a day passed when another body was not committed to the dusty unmarked wilderness grave. And death was no respecter of rank or position in life, both men and women, leaders and servants, even the church leaders and governing officials found themselves in the same predicament - and perhaps the hardest thing for each member of the nation, was the realization that death was unescapable, like a hen before a cobra, there was that sinking feeling that whether they worked furiously or simply bowed silently in the end they would still end up a heap of dry bones. Such a realization of the brevity of life must have caused a blow to that desire for some sort of significance in life that we all feel, and perhaps it was that realization that prompted a tired and weary Moses to write this Psalm, perhaps it was penned as a prayer and a reminder to a people doomed to wander 40 years in the wilderness until the last of the older generation was gone. You will find that this Psalm still speaks to those who seek significance in a world where life is short.
Prop.: An analysis of God and His attributes according to Psalms 90 will teach us the importance of a right relationship with God.
I. Life In Comparison to God (v. 1-6)
1. These words seem initially harsh, as if God has absolutely no concern for human life and simply sweeps it away without a thought, however we must recognize the truth these words hold, for indeed in the light of eternity our lives must seem to be no more then passing shadows in a day. The key here is to bring the Israelites into a proper perspective on life. Do not overlook the first two verses which point clearly to the fact that God’s existence is completely independent of all other existing things, including humans. The idea of everlasting to everlasting can be expressed as ‘From vanishing point to vanishing point’. The idea of eternity is impossible for finite minds to grasp. Anytime that God is mentioned in association with time it is for the benefit of the reader for God is not bound by time, although he enters it and dwells within it, he is also outside it. And so it is that a thousand years are like a day gone by (and as Peter says, a day is as a thousand years).
2. Isa. 41:4; 43:13; 44:6
3. Illus.: C.S. Lewis - Imagine a sheet of paper infinitely extended. That would be eternity. Then on that paper draw a short line to represent time. As the line begins and ends on that infinite expanse, so time began in God and will end in Him.
4. Appl.: The truth taught here is the same for us as it was for Israel, although our lives seem long and significant to us, in light of God’s eternal existence we are but a flash in the pan, and all our labour and struggle may amount to nothing if we do not have God’s perspective on life.
II. Life In Opposition to God (v. 7-11)
1. Moses may have in mind the specific rebellion of the Israelites in the desert, but there is truth to the fact that man’s sin stands in opposition to God and that even in our age of grace God’s wrath is against sin and that he knows our every sin, even those which we have so carefully hidden from all eyes.
2. Why does Moses use such strong language here? Could it be that he has been to one too many funeral for a man or woman who has rebelled against God? Did not the entire first generation of Israelites die wandering in the wilderness? These words are written to bring those pridefully rebellious back to God!
3. What is the greatest sin of humanity? You may be surprised to hear that it is pride, for pride is at the root of so many other sins. When we are proud we place ourselves at the centre of our universe and upon the throne which only God may occupy. God does not reign in the heart of proud people. C.S. Lewis tells us that it is through pride that the devil became the devil, what is more the first sin was a sin of pride and arrogance. Pride puts us in direct opposition to what God desires for our life; humility!
4. Ecclesiastes 1:2-4 - King Solomon’s view on our seventy or eighty years.