Daily Family Worship

Psalm 90: The Prayer of Moses

by | Jun 3, 2024

psalm 90

This Psalm is “a prayer of Moses.” He was an elderly and much-tried man; but his age and experience had taught him that, amidst all the perpetual changes which are taking place in the universe, one thing does remain immutable: the faithfulness of the One Who is “from everlasting to everlasting.” How far back into the past might the patriarch have been looking when he spoke these words? The burning bush, the terrible slavery of Egypt, the Red Sea, Pharaoh with his chariots of war, and the weary march of Israel through the wilderness – all these things were before his memory; but in all of them, he had personally experienced the truth of the words, “He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment” (Deut. 32:4). But Moses was looking beyond these scenes of his personal history when he said, “Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations” (Deut. 32:7); and we may be sure that he was also looking beyond them when he spoke these words here in this Psalm: “Thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations.” Yes, he was thinking in his mind of how God had been the refuge of Jacob, Isaac, Abraham, Noah, and all the patriarchs. Moses could take a retrospect of over 2,500 years, which had all confirmed the truth. And yet we, as believers in the Lord Jesus, can do much more than Moses could! At this point of time, we can look back to the days of Moses and Joshua and David; and we may descend down to the days of the Son of God upon earth, and of Paul and Peter, and of all the saints of the Church, even down to the present hour! Moses could only look back for 2,500 years; but we can look back for 6,000 and verify that the Lord is indeed the dwelling-place of those who trust in Him – from generation to generation! And to Him Who was the refuge of Moses and Abraham, we may also lift up our hands in the day of trouble. What a delightful thing

to think of! During the lapse of six millennia, amidst the countless changes of the universe, He has remained unchanged to this day – and He is our God!

But this Psalm does contain a very great and important doctrine. Herein Moses teaches us what is the origin and cause of death, to which the whole human race is subject; and he also shows us the reason why such a horrible punishment was inflicted upon all mankind. He says that it was on account of sin. The guilt and consequences of sin are greater than can even be imagined by the human mind, unless God touches the heart with a knowledge of it; and yet, in this state of sin and guilt, and under this wrath, all the sons and daughters of Adam are born. Moses here speaks with great detail on this punishment of sin, and this horrible misery – setting forth the proof of it in the shortness and uncertainty of human life. And in addition to its shortness and uncertainty, it is also subject to all kinds of calamity. But Moses teaches us that death and all other human troubles should lead us to seek the grace and mercy of God, Who alone can deliver us from all these evils of sin and slavery to the devil. Hence we see that all the afflictions of life, and even death itself, work together for good unto all those who fear and love the Lord; for even though these things cause us to be humbled and broken down, they also encourage us to seek and thirst after His grace!

“So teach us to number our days,” Moses prays in verse 12, “that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” – that is, so that we may learn to know the Lord and His will aright, for this is what Moses calls wisdom. The wicked ones of this world are fools; for they do not number their days, nor think of death, nor meditate upon the miseries of this life. And so they remain unexperienced and ignorant of all spiritual things, and they are wrapped up in their own hypocrisy; they never rightly know God, nor do they ever seek His help and mercy.

Moses closes his Psalm with a series of prayers: “Let thy work appear unto thy servants, and thy glory unto their children” (verse 16). Here, by “the work” of God, he means deliverance from sin and death – all that deliverance which our fathers expected from the ever-blessed Messiah, Who has been revealed to us! “O satisfy us early with thy mercy!” Moses pleads in verse 14. And he twice repeats, “Prosper thou the works of our hands” – or, in other words, “For the time that we live, direct and prosper our whole life! Preserve Your true religion and the good government of our nation; and guard us from heresies, errors, wars, seditions, and all such evils.”

Thank You, Lord Jesus, for being our only dwelling-place and our Rock of Ages in all generations, and amidst all the changing circumstances of this world! Amen.

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