Wednesday, December 1

Reader: “Teach us to realize the brevity of life,”   

Response: “so that we may grow in wisdom.”

Scripture: Psalm 90

Lord, through all the generations

    you have been our home!

Before the mountains were born,

    before you gave birth to the earth and the world,

    from beginning to end, you are God.

You turn people back to dust, saying,

    “Return to dust, you mortals!”

For you, a thousand years are as a passing day,

    as brief as a few night hours.

You sweep people away like dreams that disappear.

    They are like grass that springs up in the morning.

In the morning it blooms and flourishes,

    but by evening it is dry and withered.

We wither beneath your anger;

    we are overwhelmed by your fury.

You spread out our sins before you—

    our secret sins—and you see them all.

We live our lives beneath your wrath,

    ending our years with a groan.

Seventy years are given to us!

    Some even live to eighty.

But even the best years are filled with pain and trouble;

    soon they disappear, and we fly away.

Who can comprehend the power of your anger?

    Your wrath is as awesome as the fear you deserve.

Teach us to realize the brevity of life,

    so that we may grow in wisdom.

O Lord, come back to us!

    How long will you delay?

    Take pity on your servants!

Satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love,

    so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives.

Give us gladness in proportion to our former misery!

    Replace the evil years with good.

Let us, your servants, see you work again;

    let our children see your glory.

And may the Lord our God show us his approval

    and make our efforts successful.

    Yes, make our efforts successful!

Some thoughts:

The Psalms were a thousand years old by the time of Jesus, but this psalm is even older. This one is the only psalm written by Moses some 1400 years before Jesus. My guess is that it was composed near the end of his life. It reflects the maturity and perspective of an aged man as he prays to his Lord. 

When I was a little boy of six in Sunday School, we had the challenge of memorizing a certain number of Bible verses as well as the 66 books of the Bible in order―I still know them! I did it and got my own Bible. Some time later, I distinctly remember reading this psalm one night when I went to bed. I was overcome by the second sentence which I memorized. “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hast formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.”  It burned in my heart and mind so deeply that I know to this day that the verse is located on the right hand page, second column, about a quarter of the way down the page. I can see it in my mind. I saw it first in the mid-1950’s. Why such an impact on a little boy?

Though I would not have expressed it quite this way back then, God’s word told me plain and simple that God encompassed all of time. He was before the beginning and he is after the end. I have a beginning and I have an end, from dust to dust. I bloom, I wither. By the way, we all bloom for a few decades and then the long process of “withering” begins! During our blooming and withering we also mess up and God sees all of it. We live in a cycle of pain and troubles as a result. Following the Lord is our hope in the words of Moses. “Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom” are his exact words. 

Doesn’t it make sense that the One who has no beginning or ending, who is holy, sinless, omniscient, omnipotent, all wise, holds all of time in his hands, is Creator of all that is seen and unseen, who is the one uncreated Being, who became a human being as an act of his will, could best teach us mere mortals how to live until he returns? Let our children see your glory. May we be faithful to proclaim your glory to the next generation and may they do the same. Lord, make our efforts successful to the glory of your Name.

Those words,“Thou art God,” give me security, comfort, peace, hope, certainty, stability, and a timeless home knowing I am loved and belong to a family that lasts forever, having been adopted by a loving Father. We are no longer orphans in search of an eternal Father, since we are destined to lose our earthly fathers. As a little boy, I’m sure I could not have articulated these thoughts, but I sensed the great significance of those  words. I lay in bed saying them over and over.  In the midst of the world we live in decades later, they still elicit the same great truth in my heart. “Thou art God.”  . . . and he’s coming back to take us all home.

Music: “How Great Thou Art”    Home Free

Bonus:  Alan Jackson


Read Psalm 90 aloud again as your own prayer to the Lord.