Psalm 90 Is
there meaning and significance in life?
Is there meaning and significance in life? If there
is where can I find it? If there isn't, why am I even asking the question? When
someone we know and love dies it raises such questions in our minds. We are made
aware that life is short. Time seems to speed up the
older we get. There is an answer that can give great
comfort and strength.
It is contained here in the Bible. God's full and final
self-revelation. Without the reference point of an infinite personal creator God
we are adrift on a sea of relativity, surrounded by fog, floating toward the rocks
of time. This beautiful psalm is a good place to look
for an answer.
It affirms the message of the whole Bible - that we
exist because God created us - created us to know Him, to serve Him and live for
eternity. I would like to draw out three points from this beautiful psalm.
1. God is Eternal 90:1-2
"Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. 2Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God."
This is the God the world knows nothing about. God
existed before Creation, He will exist after this world is long gone. He is
the source of ultimate reality. He is involved with
every generation. God created you and I with meaning, dignity, uniqueness and
purpose. God is eternal.
2. We are Transient 90:3-12
3You turn men back to dust, saying, "Return to dust, O sons of men." 4For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night. 5You sweep men away in the sleep of death; they are like the new grass of the morning-- 6though in the morning it springs up new, by evening it is dry and withered.
Notice there is no bitterness
in the Psalmist. He is able to face the reality, the inevitability of verse
3. Because of 90:1-2 he can write 90:3-12. It would be impossible to face the
world of 3-12 without knowing our real home is in verses 1-2. The
situation described in 90:3-12 is
2.1 Undeniably Humiliating 90:3
The word "dust" pricks the bubble of our self
importance. The distinguished world leader, the brave
soldier, the famous pop star. What are they? Dust. Undeniably humiliating to
2.2 Undeniably Terrifying 90:7
7We are consumed by your anger and terrified by your indignation. 8You have set our iniquities before you,
our secret sins in the light of your presence. 9All our days pass away under your wrath; we finish our years with a moan.
Notice the honesty with which our human predicament is described.
90:3 "turn back to dust";
90:5 "sweep men away";
90:11 "power of your indignation"
In Isaac Watts great hymn "O God our help in
ages past" inspired by this Psalm there is sadly no mention of God's wrath.
However unpalatable the idea may be today, if we take the Divine anger out of
Psalm 90 there is nothing left. There is no explanation for the evil in our
world and no hope of deliverance from it. Undeniably humiliating & terrifying.
2.3 Undeniably True 90:10
10The 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.
The span of our life is 70 years or 80. Life is a mixture
of joys and sorrows. If we are honest much of it is trouble and sorrow and we
cannot avoid it. Psalm 90 is not about giving comfort. Its actually about confrontation.
It contains the diagnosis of the world as it really is, and how we must live
in it under the shadow of God's sovereignty. Without it we can make no sense
of the world described daily in our newspapers. God
is eternal 90:1-2, We are Transient 90:3-12,
3. There is Ultimate Hope 90:13-17
us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we
may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, for
as many years as we have seen trouble.
deeds be shown to your servants, your splendor to
17May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us;
establish the work of our hands for us--yes, establish
the work of our hands.
Verses 3-12 describe this world that cannot be my lasting home. I must look else where. Psalm 90 ends with the prospect of another home. It ends with hope and optimism based on realism. It points to the home Jesus came to reveal. In John 14, as Jesus was about to leave his friends and go to the cross, he wanted them to have peace of mind about the future. To be sure about their eternal destiny.
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am... I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:1-6)
The New Testament reveals fully and finally how God sent
his Son Jesus Christ to die for us so that we could be forgiven and experience
God's life and forgiveness. How we can life for ever in his presence. So Psalm
90 teaches us that we serve an eternal God. It teaches us that this life is
transient. But looks forward to an ultimate and unshakeable hope, revealed fully
and finally in Jesus Christ. A hope the apostle Paul described in our New Testament
"Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Cor 13:12-13)