The Gift of Years
Father, as I get older, I understand more clearly how fleeting life is. Show me how to make my brief time on Earth count.
Read Psalm 90:1-17
A prayer of Moses the man of God. Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations.  Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.  You turn people back to dust, saying, “Return to dust, you mortals.”  A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.  Yet you sweep people away in the sleep of death- they are like the new grass of the morning:  In the morning it springs up new, but by evening it is dry and withered.  We are consumed by your anger and terrified by your indignation.  You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.  All our days pass away under your wrath; we finish our years with a moan.  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.  If only we knew the power of your anger! Your wrath is as great as the fear that is your due.  Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.  Relent, LORD! How long will it be? Have compassion on your servants.  Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.  Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, for as many years as we have seen trouble.  May your deeds be shown to your servants, your splendor to their children.  May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us- yes, establish the work of our hands. Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat is the psalmist feeling, and what does he want from God?
This is a poem about the holiness of God contrasted with the unholiness of people, as well as about our brief life span contrasted with God’s everlasting existence. These themes are painted boldly in black and white. What links with the creation story in Genesis 1-3 can you find in verses 2-6? What is the main characteristic of human life that emerges here? Would you describe verses 7-10 as an accurate assessment of the human condition? If Christians are to be hope-bringers, then there is both food for thought and some starting points for our mission in these words! The mood changes in 13 as the writer gets personal with God–he addresses God by name, Yahweh (translated “Lord”). Whereas the earlier part of the poem has been about how temporary our lives are, this part is about passing on an inheritance for the future, because we trust God personally. What is the “work of our hands” that might endure beyond the seventy or eighty years or so that we are given?
How does this psalm affect your choices in how you spend your days?
God, I pray that today, and every day, I might live the days of my life as places where You are present.
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