GCC BBQ: This Sunday September 19th, 12:00pm

Teach Us to Number Our Days (Ps 90)

July 31, 2021 Speaker: Allen Snapp Series: Summer in the Psalms

Topic: Christian Living Passage: Psalm 90

Summer in the Psalms

Allen Snapp

Grace Community Church

Aug 1, 2021

 

Teach Us to Number Our Days (Ps 90)

If you have your Bible, please turn with me to Psalm 90. We will also have the verses up on the screen for you to follow along. The book of Psalms is broken down into five books and Psalm 90 is the first book of book IV. I mentioned last week that the theme of Book 2 is “God before us”. The theme of Book 4 is “God over us” and we will see that Psalm 90 starts this theme off by giving us a big view of who God is. Psalm 90 is also notable in that it is the only psalm written by Moses. Let’s read it together.

Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. You return man to dust and say, Return, O children of man!For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night.You sweep them away as with a flood; they are like a dream, like grass that is renewed in the morning: in the morning it flourishes and is renewed; in the evening it fades and withers.

For we are brought to an end by your anger; by your wrath we are dismayed. You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.

For all our days pass away under your wrath; we bring our years to an end like a sigh.
10 The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away.


11 Who considers the power of your anger, and your wrath according to the fear of you?

12 So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. 13 Return, O Lord! How long? Have pity on your servants! 14 Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.15 Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, and for as many years as we have seen evil.16 Let your work be shown to your servants, and your glorious power to their children.17 Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands! Ps. 90:1-17

I planned Psalm 90 to be our text for this morning a couple weeks ago, but with our dear brother Mike Reade in the hospital having suffered a serious heart attack, these verses have taken a new and sober relevancy. As we pray, let’s remember Mike and Terry in our prayers, and ask God to make our hearts tender and ready to hear His voice through this time in His word. (Pray)

Swedish engineer and inventor Alfred Nobel had the very unusual opportunity of reading his own obituary. Nobel is the man who invented dynamite and he became very

wealthy selling his explosives as military weapons.

When Alfred’s brother Ludvig died, many newspapers printed Alfred’s obituary in error, the obituary headline reading “the merchant of death is dead.” Alfred Nobel was horrified to see that he would be remembered as the man who made his fortune by ”finding more ways to kill people faster than ever before” and he decided to try and redeem his legacy by creating the Nobel Peace Prize to reward those whose achievements benefited humanity.

Most of us won’t have opportunity to read our own obituary and still have time to do something to

change it, but Psalm 90 offers us something better than that. It offers us wisdom: Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. (vs. 12)

Wisdom is the skill of living a life well lived, and a life well lived will leave behind a rich legacy.

  1. Numbering our days reminds us that God is everlasting and we are dust

Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. You return man to dust and say, Return, O children of man!For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night.You sweep them away as with a flood; they are like a dream, like grass that is renewed in the morning: in the morning it flourishes and is renewed; in the evening it fades and withers. Vv. 1-6

God is infinite in all He is: infinite in power, infinite in wisdom, infinite in righteousness, infinite in justice, and so on. Moses focuses us in on just one aspect of God’s infiniteness: His infinite existence. Before the mountains or the earth was formed, from everlasting to everlasting you are God!

I’ve shared this before, but I never get tired of trying to wrap my head around the concept of God always existing. To me, it’s much harder to imagine a being that has always existed, that has no beginning, than imagining a being always existing from this time forward. The first words of the Bible are “in the beginning God…”. It records the beginning of the universe and the stars and the galaxies and our solar system and our world – all that we know and see around us. That’s when God began it. But that’s not when God began. God has no beginning and no ending. From everlasting to everlasting you are (not were, not will be – are) God.

This means God is the ultimate Cause of all things. He doesn’t need anything, but everything needs Him. His life and power is always self-replenishing, He never gets tired or hungry or frail or old. He is always new and vigorous and full of life, and all life we know derives its life from Him. Holding the universe together doesn’t diminish His power and energy one iota. He is infinite in existence, and self-replenishing.

We aren’t like that. Our lives are bookended by birth and death. What little energy we have needs to be replenished all the time. By the end of the service you will be thinking about lunch. By the end of the day, your batteries will be depleted and you will need to recharge them by sleeping. God never sleeps – 24/7 for all eternity in both directions God is always awake! God is everlasting and we are dust!

The biggest reminder of our smallness is death. God made us from dust, and after what might seem like a long time to us, but is actually a very short time, we return to dust. We start life out all renewed and full of life and think we will live forever, but by the end of day we are old and tired and frail, and one day we close our eyes and leave this earth.

A heart of wisdom begins by seeing that God is everlasting and we are dust.

  1. Numbering our days teaches us to shelter in the everlasting God

For we are brought to an end by your anger; by your wrath we are dismayed. You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.

For all our days pass away under your wrath; we bring our years to an end like a sigh.
10 The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away.


11 Who considers the power of your anger, and your wrath according to the fear of you? Vv. 7-11

This describes the world since the Fall. When Adam and Eve sinned against God, God cursed the world and we all live our days out under that curse. God sees all our sin, even those we try to keep most secret are completely exposed in the light of God’s presence and God hates that sin more than we can ever imagine. Our lives are hard, we live with this weariness, this burden, and we go out with a sigh.

Young people tend to think they’re invincible and they’ll live forever. But the strongest among us have a serious limit and by 70, 80, maybe 90, our strength starts to give out. All this isn’t what God originally created – it’s the consequence of the Fall.

A heart of wisdom recognizes this and turns to God for help. Verse 1 opens by saying God has been our dwelling place – our refuge, our shelter – in all generations. There is only one shelter that is safe from God’s wrath – that is, God Himself. Firefighters will sometimes try to stop the progression of a forest fire through a technique called backburning. They will burn a controlled area in order to use up all the fuel the forest fire would feed off of. When the fire gets to the pre-scorched earth, it has no fuel to feed on and won’t proceed over that ground.


Jesus is our scorched earth. He took the wrath of God for us, so that all who take their refuge in him are safe from the fire of God’s anger. One of the blessings in this is that, while we still live in a world that has been cursed by God, and life is still hard for us, we still feel the burdens of life, the sadness, the sighing, we don’t live under God’s curse. We are in Christ and his blessings are our blessings. His life is our life.

When we stand on the knife’s edge between life and death, as our brother Mike does, and one day we all will, we don’t teeter between life and death, we teeter between life and better life! Eternal life, no more in this sigh-filled world, but in the presence of God and our Savior Jesus Christ.

  1. Numbering our days teaches us to depend on the everlasting God

Because we live in a cursed world, and we are sinners, because of how hard this life can be, how wearying, how we can’t even find words to express the sadness, suffering, tiresome futility of this life at times, so we just sigh under its weight, Moses, in verse 12 says because of all that, “so teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” and from this point on Moses expresses his – and our – dependency on God.

12 So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. 13 Return, O Lord! How

long? Have pity on your servants! 14 Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice

and be glad all our days.15 Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, and for as many years as we have seen evil.16 Let your work be shown to your servants, and your glorious power to their children.17 Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands! Vv. 12-17

You, O God, have pity on us! You, O God, satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love that we may rejoice and be glad. It’s a cry from a heart that isn’t satisfied, that is feeling the evil and sadness all around them, asking to God to change that. When I read this prayer, I don’t get the feeling Moses is asking God to zap him with so much power and glory that he can’t help but be satisfied. I see something quieter here: help me see your goodness and love in the little things all around me. A beautiful sunrise. The health of my body. Help me treasure time with loved ones. Laughter with friends, tears with friends. Satisfy my soul with quiet evidences of your steadfast love in the midst of a hard and weary world.

I’m depending on you to reroute my life towards gladness and hopefulness. And one last thing, found in verse 17.

Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us and establish the work of our hands; yes establish the work of our hands! Vs. 17

A purpose for living. A work that lasts. Let what I do mean something. Still dependent: only God can establish the work of our hands. Verse 17 is closely linked with verse 16: Let your work be shownestablish the work of our hands.

I really believe that a big part of a wise life is investing our lives in a work that will last forever. Eternal work. We need God’s help, but we need to do it. Establish the work of our hands.

Our friend Aron Osborne has spent the last several weeks in Bolivia and he recently posted about a 7 year old boy he met there named Logan. Logan can’t go to school because he has to sell Kleenex and gum to help his family make ends meet. Aron made a connection with Logan, and now as he gets ready to leave Bolivia, Aron wrote these words that I want to leave you with. I hope it stirs and convicts you as much as it does me.

Im going to miss Logan. I dont want to think about him looking for me, and Im not there. His hugs make it clear it isnt about getting some Bolivianos from me. His affection is genuine. He wants security in a very insecure world. He wants stability where theres little to be found in his life.

Lots to ponder. Ill just say thisReligion that is pure and undefined is to do what you can for those who cant. So, do it.

Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Let’s pray and ask God for just that. Let’s ask God to establish the work of our hands. And then let’s do it.

More in Summer in the Psalms

September 5, 2021

Known and Loved By God (Psalm 139)

August 29, 2021

Close Call with a Crisis of Faith - Psalm 73

August 22, 2021

The Great Goodness of Our God - Psalm 36