For all generations: Psalm 90

Psalm 90: A prayer of Moses the man of God — Such an apt title for the psalm that follows; this psalm seen from Moses perspective, during his years in Exodus echo loudly into our lives today. For Moses, a time of tension between the faithfulness of his God and the faithlessness of his own people. These words echo the conflict of emotions and the reality of struggles that believers face during this journey of life. May these words of Moses provide you comfort and peace as he reveals the humanity of life in light of a holy and righteous God.

1 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.

Yesterday, today, and tomorrow the Lord God Almighty will never change. “Before the mountains were born,” before all Creation, before all time, You were there. May I recognise that there is no better place, regardless of the season — in times of peace and joy or, even, in times of pain and hardship — to be in Your dwelling place, in the house of my Creator God.

3 You turn men back to dust, saying, “Return to dust, O sons of men.” 4 For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night. 5 You sweep men away in the sleep of death; they are like the new grass of the morning— 6 though in the morning it springs up new, by evening it is dry and withered.

Is not all life derived from Your hands, from the dust of the earth, You formed humankind in Your own likeness. Do we fail to recognise the frailty of life? Our lives, like grass, are swept away in a moment by the winds. Bound by the limits of time, do we not see that we are but a mere grain in the sands of life. Teach us, O Lord, teach us to understand our limits that we might live in light of eternity.

7 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. 9 All our days pass away under your wrath; we finish our years with a moan. 10 The length of our days is seventy years — or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.

In the presence of Your holiness, Your righteousness, we see our sin for what it truly is. It is no small matter to You and Your righteous anger burns at the thought of our sinfulness. Are You not the supreme judge? Shall we not stand before You in that final hour, our sins set before us, before the multitudes for all to see? Yet, for all our failings, until our very last breathe, we moan and groan to be free from this bondage. Yet, for all the years we live, we struggle and we fight against the Evil One and his schemes; but they are fleeting years, “they quickly pass, and we fly away.”

11 Who knows the power of your anger? For your wrath is as great as the fear that is due you. 12 Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Holy is the Lord, Holy is the Lord God Almighty. Let us not stand in the graces and mercies of God, let us stand before His holiness and righteousness, look and be in awe of our God. Is He not worthy of our praises? We accept His goodness, shall we not also accept His wrath? O Lord, give us wisdom, teach us to treasure the days before us, teach us not to waste Your gift of life.

13 Relent, O LORD! How long will it be? Have compassion on your servants. 14 Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. 15 Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, for as many years as we have seen trouble. 16 May your deeds be shown to your servants, your splendour to their children. 17 May the favour of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us — yes, establish the work of our hands.

Yet, again, You are not solely a God of holiness and righteousness. You are not merely wrath and anger personified — You are the God of love. O Lord, relent and have compassion upon Your people. Show us, once again, Your never-ending, unconditional love that we might “sing for joy and be glad all our days” for we desire to be the people of God, people marked by peace, joy, and love all the days of our lives. You have shown Your holiness, show us now Your grace anew. May Your name be made known to the nations, let Your deeds shine bright, let us see Your glory that we may teach our children to join us in worship of You, my Lord and my God. We seek you, O Lord, rest your hand of favour upon us; let our work be fruitful, yes we ask these things.

Prayer — My Lord and my God, how I have neglected Your holiness and righteousness! Forgive me for taking for granted Your compassionate and never-ending love. As I look into Your holiness, may I be convicted anew of my sins. Reveal them to me, O Lord, reveal them and deal with me by Your righteousness for I desire to be more like You, my Creator, my Father, my God. Teach me not to despise the days of my life, give me wisdom, I pray, that I might live my days in light of eternity, that I might live my life for Your name’s sake, for Your glory. We ask that You would rest Your favour upon us, that You would “establish the work of our hands.” Again, we ask not for our own sake, but we ask for your sake that your name may be made known, through your deeds, your glory and splendour revealed to all people that they may all one day call upon your name in their day of need, and sing praises to you in their day of salvation. Amen.