Things To Remember As We Face 2007
Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.
Text: Psalm 90
Our Scripture reading today is Psalm 90. This Psalm is the prayer of Moses, but, because it is here in the Hebrew hymnal is was sung.
This Psalm is divided into four sections.
I. Moses comforts himself and his people with the eternity of God and their interest in him (1-2).
Verse 1 tells us that God is our dwelling place. When this was written, the Hebrews had no permanent home. They had fled Egypt and Moses must have written this Psalm some time when they were headed for the Promised Land.
By way of application, we must remind ourselves not to let our roots get too deep in this world because our citizenship is in Heaven (Philippians 3:20). When Christ ascended into Heaven, one of the things He did was to promise to prepare a place for us (John 14:1-3). As we contemplate the coming year, we would do well to remember that all the things of this world are only temporary. We should heed our Lord’s instructions in Matthew 6:19-21 "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Now on to…
Verse 2 -- There is no question in the psalmist’s mind that God was the Creator of all. Dr. David Sorenson says, "From everlasting past—the mists of antiquity—to everlasting future—eternity ahead—He is God. He always has been and He always will be." This is one of the clearest statements of the eternality of God in the Bible. Charles Spurgeon wrote, "God was, when nothing else was. He was God when the earth was not a world…when mountains were not upheaved, and the generation of the heavens and the earth had not commenced. In this Eternal One there is a safe abode for the successive generations of men."
As we face 2007 we need to remember who God is eternal and we are accountability to our Creator (Romans 14:12).
II. He humbles himself and his people with the consideration of the frailty of man (3-6)
Verse 3 uses a contrast between the infinite, eternal God with the finiteness of man. The word destruction in this verse is a translation of the Hebrew word which means dust. Likely Moses had in mind Genesis 3:19 which says, "for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." The idea is that the omnipotence of God towers over the finiteness of man. God made man from the dust of the earth and at his command, we will die and return to dust! In other words, life and death are in His hands.
Skip down to verse 5-6. Life is compared to "grass." Spurgeon wrote, "Here is the history of the grass—sown, grown, blown, mown, gone; and the history of man is not much more." The grasses of the Middle-East were routinely cut down in the afternoon for fuel for their small one-loaf ovens. The afternoon sun dried out the grass to such a degree that it became excellent fuel for these small ovens. And so is mankind. In the afternoon of life, they are cut down into oblivion.
There is no clearer illustration of this in the past year than the death of the "Crocodile Hunter," Steve Irwin. He was a 44 year old man full of life. But, suddenly on September 4th as he was swimming in the Great Barrier Reef, Sting Ray’s barb unexpectedly pierced his chest and punctured his heart. Irwin was cut down…he died.
Here’s the point. As we move into 2007, we need to remember that sooner or later we will all die. Life and death are in the hands of the Lord. And, then, "…every one of us shall give account of himself to God." Romans 14:12. In light of that, the counsel of the preacher of Ecclesiastes is "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man." Ecclesiastes 12:13. Are you prepared to meet God?
Let’s move on to the next section.
III. He submits himself and his people to the righteous sentence of God passed upon them (7-11).
Verse 7 reminds us that a holy God is angry with sin and those who practice it! Psalms 7:11 "…God is angry with the wicked every day." Again, remember Moses is the author of this Psalm. He knew first hand that Israel surely learned the hard way of the wrath of God upon sin and sinners. Because of their unbelief, rebellion, disobedience, and hardness of heart; God saw to it that Israel wandered for forty years in the wilderness. We read in Hebrews 3:17 "But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness?"
Verse 8 is pointing out the truth that our sin has an uncanny way of coming to the surface, even though we try to hide them. Indeed, our sins do find us out (Numbers 32:23). Even worse, they are completely uncovered before God. He is totally aware of them all, even sin hidden in the deepest recess of our hearts. God knows the heart and the sins that are buried there.
Verse 9 begins with "For all our days are passed away in thy wrath…" Spurgeon wrote, "Justice shortened the days of rebellious Israel; each halting place became a graveyard; they marked their march by the tombs they left behind them. Because of the penal sentence their days were dried up, and their lives wasted away." What we need to learn from this verse is that sin shortens the quantity of life and certainly the quality of life. Next we come to the second half of verse 9 "…we spend our years as a tale that is told." This is simply another reminder of the brevity of human life.
Verse 10 talks of the average span of human life. It also mentions that life is filled weariness, trouble and sorrow. Then, before we know it life is "soon cut off, and we fly away." For those who are saved, our soul flies away to Heaven, for to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8). For the unsaved, their soul flies away to Hell.
The first part of verse 11 says, "Who knoweth the power of thine anger?" The indication is that the afflictions of this life are not to be compared to the miseries, which await them who live and die without being reconciled to God, and saved from their sins. The second part of the verse says, "even according to they fear, so is thy wrath." No commentators are agreed as to the meaning of this phrase. I understand it to be saying it is right to fear God because He his wrath upon sinners.
As we face 2007, it is consider the wrath of God upon sin and be sure we are saved, so that the righteousness of Christ is added to our account.
IV. He commits himself and his people to God by prayer for divine mercy and grace, and the return of God's favor (12-17)
Verse 12 a pivotal verse in this Psalm of Moses. Moses’ prayer was for God to impress upon us how short life really is and how long eternity will be. We are to use our time wisely. Moses specifically prays and asks God to impress upon us the need to "apply our hearts unto wisdom"—to consider our latter end and what will become of us hereafter.
Wisdom shows itself in righteous living, in discipline of
life, in serving God. In light of the length of eternity and the
shortness of life, wisdom dictates that we order our lives with
eternity’s values in view. Wisdom is ordering our lives,
understanding that we shall soon meet God. There the believer will
be of rewarded for his faithfulness. Wisdom is living for Jesus Christ
now and not for ourselves. It is ordering our lives to serve Him throughout this
life. We must remember this as we move in to 2007