Summary: A prayer of Moses the man of God.
THE ETERNAL GOD AND THE BREVITY OF LIFE
Psalm 90:1. It is remarkable that the children of Israel survived 400 years in Egypt, and for some of that time under unspeakable oppression. Yet despite their hard labour and sorrow, the LORD had been their dwelling place “from generation to generation”. This is an expression of God’s covenant love from Abraham to Moses, and onward to our own days.
Psalm 90:2. The LORD is not limited by time as we are. He is the One who inhabits eternity. His perspective is “from everlasting to everlasting”, where days and millennia are of no consequence (2 Peter 3:8).
Psalm 90:4. For a while after the Creation, up until the flood, men were living to what we might consider extraordinary ages. Yet even the oldest of them died at less than 1000 years old. This is nothing to God.
Psalm 90:5. Since the fall of man, generation after generation have been swept away in death. Even our life is like a sleep, already under the judgement of God. We are like a dream which disappears with the opening of a new day.
Psalm 90:6. We are like a grass which springs up overnight, flourishes in the morning, and grows up. In the evening it is cut down, and withers. Such is the frailty of life.
Psalm 90:8. Each of us has also aggravated our collective guilt with our individual sins. Every deed, every word, every inmost thought is open to the One who dwells in eternity. He sees it all, and there is no fleeing from His presence (Psalm 139:7).
Psalm 90:9. Our days pass away under God’s wrath. Iniquity already had its hold upon us in our mothers’ womb (Psalm 51:5). We were born already “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1), and our fragile mortal lives have been subject to decline ever since.
Psalm 90:10. It is a far cry from the great age of the patriarchs to our mere seventy or eighty years. We have known trouble and sorrow ever since the fall. For the generality of mankind, it all leads down to the grave.
Psalm 90:11. We cannot begin to imagine how angry God is. Our sin is against an infinite God, so He could only be satisfied with the payment of the sacrifice of His infinite Son on our behalf. His anger is in proportion to our failure to reverence Him.
Psalm 90:12. Yet when we do reverence Him, we will want Him to teach us to make a right application of the truth about the brevity of our lives. We need to know ourselves sinners, and to be aware that death is “the wages of sin” (Romans 6:23). And knowing this, our wisdom is to repent.
Psalm 90:13. When we do repent and turn from our sins, we may ask God to turn from His judgement which had seemed against us. We have in God’s compassion a sure and certain hope of a better prospect. By faith in Jesus Christ we are God’s servants, and no longer the slaves of sin.
Psalm 90:14. The repentant pray for the satisfaction of experiencing God’s merciful love. “Early” is never too soon (Ecclesiastes 12:1). Then we have all the more days to rejoice and be glad in Him whilst we are on this earth.
Psalm 90:15. It is a daring prayer of faith that goes on to ask for gladness in proportion to our wrath-induced afflictions. Romans 8:18 weighs our present sufferings against the glory that awaits us. 2 Corinthians 4:17 also balances our “momentary” affliction with our “eternal” glory.
Psalm 90:16. The believer prays for God’s work to be manifested in our own lives. We also pray for His glory to be revealed in our children. God’s covenant grace out-balances His great wrath against our sins.