“Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations.” Moses wrote a psalm that helped many of God’s faithful to maintain a proper perspective on the brevity of life. Israel needed to remember that God was the Eternal One. It was in Him that His people lived and moved and had their being. When the Creator of the mountains determined that their days under the sun were completed, then they would return to dust. For the Lord, a thousand years were completed and swept away like “a watch in the night.”
This did not mean that God ignored the details of that millennium. He had a most exhaustive understanding of all things, including the hidden faults of His beloved people. They lived their seventy or eighty years according to His plan, and He remained aware of every moment of their lives. He was more than able to stand as the holy Judge over all their thoughts, words, and actions.
Who among the thousands that comprised Israel in the days of Moses was able to face such a great and frightening God? Even the man who wrote Psalm 90 was prohibited from entering the Promised Land because of his own transgression. Thousands died in the wilderness because of their rebellion against the Lord’s commandments and their insurrection against the leaders that He had given them.
What was the point for Israel of these musings on life and sin? “Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.”
A heart of wisdom insisted on God’s presence with His people. “Return, O Lord! How long? Have pity on Your servants!” That same wise mind would always seek the steadfast love of the Almighty. True worshipers of the God of Moses would reject the temporary pleasures of sin, and ask the Lord to make His people “glad” for all their days. This eternal gladness would have to come through the works of the Lord. Only through the God of glory would Israel have a solid future and a lasting hope.
The longings of Moses could only be fulfilled through the coming of Immanuel, God with us. Christ alone is the solid Rock on which His kingdom is built. In His works we have a lasting redemption and a life of resurrection joy that will never fail.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Eternal Father, in You we live and move and have our being. We are here for a season and then return to dust, but from the dust You call us back to life. Who can stand before You? You know all our secret sins. We live for our seventy or eighty years, and then we are gone. Have pity on us. Help us to rejoice in You forever, so that we will consider our current troubles a light affliction when compared with the glory that will soon be our life and portion without end.