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  • Jon Taylor

Psalm 90-Teach us to number our days

This prayer of Moses the man of God, affords us a glimpse of how we as finite imperfect beings are to live before an infinite and perfect God. It concerns not simply the fragility of our existence but the focus of our eternal inheritance. It is always worth considering the inscriptions of the respective psalms to gain insight and establish the context. We discover here that this was a prayer of Moses, the man of God. May it be our prayer and testimony too.


Moses knew what it was like to be raised in Egypt and see his people in slavery. Many of the Israelites had only known what it was like to live under Egyptian oppression. He also lived in the wilderness in Midian, returned to Egypt and made it to the brink of the Promised Land. He witnessed the inconstancy of his own people with their continual complaining and rebellious actions even after they were miraculously delivered, and provision was given to them at each stage of their incredible journey. If we fail to trust, rejoice and be glad in the Lord and His promises goodness and provision, then our fleeting lives will be an ongoing wilderness experience marked by ingratitude. But this need not be so.

The man of God

Moses was a man of God, not a man of the world. What does the Bible say concerning ‘the man of God’? Paul writes to Timothy, ‘the man of God’ is to flee the love of money and to pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love and patience and gentleness (1 Timothy 6:10-11). Also, to fight the good fight of faith. How so? By laying hold on eternal life to which he was called and confessed in the presence of many witnesses (1 Timothy 6:12). In other words, Timothy was to maintain an eternal perspective by continuing to actively follow the Eternal God. His godly testimony was not hidden and in secret, but visible to many. Paul added that Timothy would be fully equipped for every good work through the Scriptures which were inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Living a godly life and numbering our days

This psalm shows God’s eternal existence and perfection of His character and contrasts that with our lifespans and the tendency of corrupt human nature. Google maps help us to gain an indication of scale when we zoom in from an image of the earth and in a matter of seconds we can see exactly where we live and can even view blurred images of humans which can make us feel incredibly small. Since eternity is immeasurably vast, it is as if the psalmist increases the power of the lens and reminds us that God was faithful to Israel throughout all her generations, before the world was created, and that God is from everlasting to everlasting.

To comprehend God’s perspective, a thousand years is compared with a day. In 2 Peter 3 that reminds and us assures us of God’s timing in relation to the Lord’s return. In addition, our days are compared with a watch in the night or sleep. In the same way that time seems to pass quickly and somehow elude us when we are asleep, our experience of time is not commensurate with how the Lord views time. As the second coming draws ever nearer, how much more often should we meet collectively and encourage each other as the day approaches?

Again, this psalm is not just about the brevity of our lifespan as if we should comment “where has the time gone?”, and rarely think deeply concerning whether our lifestyle is pleasing to God. We should actively redeem the time and live every day for the Lord. Moses was keenly aware of iniquity, secret sin, and great evil throughout the course of people’s lives and he prayed for God’s help in maintaining an eternal perspective and living a godly life. Even Jacob admitted that few and evil were the days of his pilgrimage. What if we bore the same testimony? Yet God transformed Jacob and was faithful to him, despite his scheming during younger years, and he is remembered in the great hall of faith in Hebrews 11.

Similarly, Ecclesiastes shows the utter meaningless with the various forms and inadequacies of human philosophy and the need to fear God and obey His commandments from our youth. We are not to follow our hearts but God’s ways. Sadly, it seems many people miss the whole point and mistakenly conclude that Solomon was saying that life was meaningless and that we should just eat, drink and be merry. If we took the last chapter seriously and considered our lives now in the light of eternity, then our days would be marked by energetic and godly purpose!

Moses prayed that they should number their days so as to gain a heart of wisdom. A heart of wisdom is marked by knowledge and fear of the Lord. Moses prayed that they might rejoice and be glad in their days. This should be our prayer too. Our lives should portray joy and gratitude to the one who gave us life and knows the number of days apportioned for each of our lives.

Moses wanted the beauty of the lord and the work of His hands to be established upon His people. He was mindful of the next generation which reminds us that we should teach our children daily that it may go well with them throughout their lives and bring them up in the Lord’s ways and to meet for fellowship with other believers regularly. We are to be the aroma of God and His ambassadors so that when others meet us, they see something of God’s goodness emanating from our lives. If being a Christian were considered a crime, would there be sufficient evidence to convict you? If you actively and intentionally walk closely with Him all the days of our lives, you will be able to bear testimony of the goodness of the Lord so that others will glory in the Lord also.

Jon Taylor

22nd October 2020

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