Summary: Psalm 90 teaches us that we all have an expiration date. How then show we live in light of the short time we have?
What’s Your Expiration Date? Psalm 90
Pastor Jeff Williams
We all have an expiration date…
Before I came on staff at Pontiac Bible Church, many of you know that I worked at Salem Children’s Home. Salem has been serving children in Livingston County for over one hundred years. Several times a year we would clean out rooms that had not been touched in a long time. One afternoon, while I was off-campus, the students cleaned out an old pantry. When I returned, they were excited to tell me what they had found. Among the many “treasures” they discovered, there was a five-pound can of “Pork and Beans.” I asked if they had looked for an expiration date on the can and they said it was from the late 90s! I immediately asked where it was and was informed that Stan (not his real name) had eaten the whole can that afternoon! After talking to the nurse and observing Stan for a while, it became apparent that he was not going to die. Although, after spending the night with him, his roommate thought he would die if he did not move out!
Most of the products we buy have expiration dates. Anyone who has ever drank a glass of milk after the date on the container knows it is important to know what the date is. Did you know that we all have expiration dates? I have been told that it is actually written in small print in the middle of our backs. It can not be read in a mirror and no one else can read yours for you. There is a date that represents that time in history when you entered this world. Mine is July 31, 1968. I don’t remember that day very well, but my parents told me it was a blast. There is another date though, a date that will complete my tombstone. It will be my last day on this earth. It could be today, tomorrow, ten years from now, or with a lot of Botox, sixty years from now. I do not know my expiration date, but I know for sure it is coming.
Solomon said there is “a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2)
If it is true that everyone of has an expiration date, and equally true that we do not know when that date is, how should we approach the remaining time God has given us? That is what our topic is this morning.
Turn with me to Psalm 90. Please stand for the reading of God’s Word.
A Psalm of Sadness
Psalm 90 was written by Moses. It is by far the oldest Psalm in the Bible and, some would say, one of the oldest examples of Hebrew poetry in the history of the world. It was written during a very bleak time in Hebrew history. Moses was commissioned by God to lead the Israelites out of Egyptian bondage. After the miraculous escape through the Red Sea, Moses leads them toward the Promised Land, a land flowing with milk and honey. (Read Exodus 14) It was at a place called Kadesh Barnea, a beautiful oasis, that Moses sent twelve spies into the land to check out the people. Ten of the spies came back shaking in their boots. They reported that the people were too big and too strong for the Israelites to try to attack. But two of them, Joshua and Caleb, encouraged the people. They knew God had promised them this land and they told the people to trust God and do what He had said to do. (See Numbers 13) God said, “Go!” and the people said “No!” The consequence for this disobedience was the death of an entire generation. The Hebrews wandered in the desert for thirty-eight years. Over those years, over one million people died. If you do the math, that comes to about eight-seven funerals a day. Moses was surrounded by death and despair. This man of God then took out his journal and began to pour out his prayer to the Lord.
Moses affirms that God is eternal, faithful, and completely holy. He then contrasts the eternal God with fragile mankind. Moses rightly describes the human race as finite, fickle, and unfaithful.
Isaac Taylor writes this summary of Psalm 90: “…it might be cited as …the most sublime of human compositions – the deepest in feeling – the loftiest in theological conception – the most magnificent in its imagery. True is it in its report of human life – as troubled, transitory, and sinful. True in its conception of the Eternal – the Sovereign and the Judge; and the refuge and hope of men…” (The Treasury of David, Charles Spurgeon)