Men are dying creatures and all their comforts in the world are likewise passing away with time.
They should therefore stand in awe of God, walk in His ways,
and with the constant apprehension of the uncertainty of life,
lest they fail to be diligent and doing their best in His service.
1 Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations.
2 Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.
3 Thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest, Return, ye children of men.
4 For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.
5 Thou carriest them away as with a flood; they are as a sleep: in the morning they are like grass which groweth up.
6 In the morning it flourisheth, and groweth up; in the evening it is cut down, and withereth.
7 For we are consumed by thine anger, and by thy wrath are we troubled.
8 Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance.
9 For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told.
10 The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
11 Who knoweth the power of thine anger? even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath.
12 So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.
13 Return, O LORD, how long? and let it repent thee concerning thy servants.
14 O satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
15 Make us glad according to the days wherein thou hast afflicted us, and the years wherein we have seen evil.
16 Let thy work appear unto thy servants, and thy glory unto their children.
17 And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.
Psalm 1 – J. Vernon McGee
Psalm 90 – The Message of the Passing Years
The majestic music of this great psalm separates it from all the rest. It is like the deep bass stop of a mighty organ. Moses’ authorship is stamped upon it. It is worthy of the man who had seen God face to face.
Psalm 90:1-6. The transitoriness of human life is contrasted with the stability of God. He is the asylum and home of all the generations of mankind, Deuteronomy 33:27. The earth and its mountains the universe and its worlds, were born of Him; but He Himself had no origin, no beginning. Time is but a sigh, a breath, the swift rush of the mountain-torrent, a tale told by the camp-fire at night, the grass of a morning’s growth.
Psalm 90:7-12. A wail is borne in these verses from the forty years of wanderings. The ceaseless succession of graves was the bitter harvest of Israel’s rebellions. Oh, that we might apply our hearts to wisdom that we may not fail of God’s rest!
Psalm 90:13-17. In the closing words Moses utters a sublime prayer which includes us all. Let us seek to do some good work before we go, and may our children be a nobler generation than ourselves! But all beauty of character and permanence of work must emanate from God. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Psalm 90:14—O satisfy us early with thy mercy.
It was towards the close of the desert wandering that Moses wrote this sublime psalm, all the imagery of which is borrowed from the wilderness The watch around the camp-fire at night; the rush of the mountain flood; the grass that sprouts so quickly after the rain, and is as quickly scorched; the sigh of the wearied pilgrim (Psalm 90:9). As the old man looks back on life, he gives it as his experience that the heart which is satisfied with mercy in the morning, never fails to rejoice and be glad all its days.
There is no hour like that of morning prime for fellowship with God. If we would dare to wait before Him for satisfaction then, the filling of that hour would overflow into all other hours. A bright Christian lad, giving his brief testimony for Jesus recently, told his secret when he said that at his conversion he trusted the Lord with his morning hour; and the way he spoke of it indicated the radiance of the light that shone for him then.
Perhaps the morning of life was rather in Moses thought. If so, the old man has prepared a prayer in which successive generations of bright children may join. Young ones, do you want a glad and rejoicing life? Do you want to live by the welt that never dry up or freeze? Seek God’s mercy in Jesus Christ our Lord, and the day will never dawn when you will regret having made that choice: nay every day will be full of rejoicing gladness. I like that record of the holy Columba, at the end of his saintly life, “Angelic in appearance, graceful in speech, holy in work, beloved by all—for a holy joy ever beaming on his face revealed the joy and gladness with which the Holy Spirit filled his inmost soul.” —Our Daily Homily