1A prayer of Moses the man of God. Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations.
2 Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
3 You turn men back to dust, saying, “Return to dust, O sons of men.”
4 for a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.
5 You sweep men away in the sleep of death; they are like the new grass of the morning
6 though in the morning it springs up new, 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 The length of our days is seventy years or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.
11 Who knows the power of your anger? For your wrath is as great as the fear that is due you.
12 Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
13 Relent, O 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 of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us yes, establish the work of our hands.
This psalm was written by Moses and reveals several truths for us to consider. Remember that Moses was the author of the Pentateuch the first five books of the Bible. These first five books of the Old Testament set the framework that education should be based. As the first verse of Genesis state “In the beginning God” sets the stage for the Pentateuch so must we include God as the foundation for all of our sciences in every aspect of our studies. You are God is a truth that we must grasp and believe. And not even question. And yet when we question the events that happen in our life, we seem to forget about Romans 8:28 and how ALL things work together for the good of those who are called according to his purpose. Yes, God is God and he does as he pleases.
In this psalm Moses reveals to us the creator of the Universe. As I reflect on the teaching of science, history, math, and language arts in schools today I see how much we have left God out. Moses speaks of men’s short life on this earth and how God controls mankind’s future. It is interesting that in these verses he does not speak of the glory of man and the great achievements of mankind, but of their iniquities and secret sins. Moses and Israel were leaving all of this behind when they leave Egypt. Moses witness how much the Egyptians valued the glorification of themselves and their achievements, but he also witnesses their death. In fact, Moses himself was educated in all the wisdom of Egypt and was a man who probably value the glorification of his works and his achievements in his early days as one of the rulers of Egypt. However, it was probably in the second forty years of life in the quietness of the wilderness as a shepherd that he learned that God is God. This is a lesson that most people learn late in life. Solomon warned of this danger in the book of Ecclesiastes. Ecclesiastes was probably written by him in the later years of his life after he had forsaken God and served the gods of his wives. He writes in chapter twelve: “Remember also thy Creator in the days of thy youth, before the evil days come, and the years draw nigh, when you shall say, I have no pleasure in them”. His final words in Ecclesiastes are:
Vanity of vanities said the Preacher; all is vanity. And further, because the Preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yea, he pondered, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs. The Preacher sought to find out acceptable words, and that which was written uprightly, even words of truth. The words of the wise are as goads; and as nails well fastened are the words of the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd. And furthermore, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh. This is the end of the matter; all hath been heard: fear God and keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every work into judgment, with every hidden thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
So, as we live our lives on this earth let us remember the words of the son of David and remember our Creator in the days of our youth and carry this remembrance of Him on to our old age.
For a thousand years are like a day to you. Time is in God’s hand and yet we seem to worry about the shortness of life that we have on this earth. But Moses let us know we only have seventy or maybe eighty years on this earth and that these are full of trouble and sorrow. Moses knew God, I am afraid that our leaders today do not know God. When I refer to the leaders today, I am not only referring to the political leaders, but also to the religious leader, educational leaders and business leaders. It seems that the church is focused more on issues that would make this world a better place instead of spreading the message of the gospel of salvation. Today, we as the Egyptians want to glorify man and his achievements and leave God out. It is our kingdom that we seek to achieve and not the kingdom of our Lord’s. Verse seventeen is key to walking with God and that is understanding that it is his desire and not ours for the events that happens in our life. As one looks at the Lord’s prayer it starts out as Our Father who art in heaven holy is your name. Your kingdom come that will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Mediate upon Moses’ life of one hundred and twenty years and the trials that he went through as you read this psalm. Let verse twelve take places in your heart. “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. ” His first forty years were spent in the courts of Pharaoh learning the wisdom of Egypt and how to be a royal administrator. His second forty years were spent in the wilderness tending sheep. The last forty years he became the prophet who lead Israel to the Promise Land. Charles Swindoll reflected upon this truth of gaining a heart of wisdom in his book Wisdom for the Way. He wrote “Aging isn’t a choice. But our response to it is. In so many ways we ourselves determine how we shall grow old.” One of the greatest features that an elderly Christian shows the world is the gracefulness of growing old in the Lord. They have learned the secret of living and that is to quietly look to the Lord to meet their daily needs.