A QUESTION OF PERSPECTIVE
Lord, give me a fresh vision of how vast You are and a fresh awareness of how precious I am to you.
Read Psalm 90
A prayer of Moses the man of God.
1 Lord, you have been our dwelling place
throughout all generations.
2 Before the mountains were born
or you brought forth the whole world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
3 You turn people back to dust,
saying, “Return to dust, you mortals.”
4 A thousand years in your sight
are like a day that has just gone by,
or like a watch in the night.
5 Yet you sweep people away in the sleep of death—
they are like the new grass of the morning:
6 In the morning it springs up new,
but by evening it is dry and withered.
7 We are consumed by your anger
and terrified by your indignation.
8 You have set our iniquities before you,
our secret sins in the light of your presence.
9 All our days pass away under your wrath;
we finish our years with a moan.
10 Our days may come to seventy years,
or eighty, if our strength endures;
yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow,
for they quickly pass, and we fly away.
11 If only we knew the power of your anger!
Your wrath is as great as the fear that is your due.
12 Teach us to number our days,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
13 Relent, Lord! How long will it be?
Have compassion on your servants.
14 Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
15 Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,
for as many years as we have seen trouble.
16 May your deeds be shown to your servants,
your splendor to their children.
17 May the favor[a] of the Lord our God rest on us;
establish the work of our hands for us—
yes, establish the work of our hands.
a Psalm 90:17 Or beauty
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat are some of your favorite attributes of God?
This psalm, attributed to Moses, is seen by some as his response to his sister Miriam’s death and the complaints of the people in the wilderness (Numbers 20). Traditionally it was read at funerals because of the contrast between the frailty of humankind and God’s eternal nature.
The psalm begins by focusing on the everlasting nature of God (1–6). Look at these verses and observe the different ways in which God’s eternity is described. Notice in particular the difference between God’s perspective on time and ours (4).
Verses 7–12 acknowledge the ways in which God’s people have let him down and are deserving of his judgment. The vastness of God is contrasted with the fragility of humankind. The request for wisdom in verse 12 provides a note of hope.
Verses 13–17 express a fresh perspective on life: a fresh sense of God’s love, compassion and presence once more satisfies (14) and the people once more prosper (17). However, that restoration of perspective is dependent on God’s people appealing to his compassion for them (13).
What can you thank God for at the beginning of this new year?
Lord, forgive me for the ways I fail to live as you would have me live. Thank You for your steadfast love.
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