February 17, 2020

Psalm 90:1-6

1  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.

 

Psalm 90 is a study in contrasts. The full chapter swings from despair to hope and from desperation to perseverance. But the first contrast we see is between the nature of God and the nature of humanity.  God is described as eternal and everlasting. Humanity is as fleeting as dust. God experiences a thousand years as only a day, while we are like grass, withering by the evening. What is the author of this Psalm trying to teach us about God by drawing this marked contrast? 

Several years ago I (Nate) was caught in a windstorm on our family farm outside Ann Arbor. Out of nowhere the wind started to roar. I saw it sling a full sheet of plywood like a frisbee and embed it in the wall of one of our barns. A full wheelbarrow was picked up and tossed 30 feet through the air. I sheltered in a barn only to see the 20 foot wall of the barn bow several feet in as the wind gusted against it. I will never forget the feeling of powerlessness in that moment. As I ran for the house I realized that I was completely at the mercy of the weather.

Our notion of God can be like this. We experience His love as a gentle summer breeze. We forget that he can also move mountains. We experience Him in the small details and blessings of our day – forgetting that His is also eternal and everlasting. If we forget the greatness and power of God, we flirt with the real danger of minimizing the role he is allowed to play in our lives. If our image of God is reduced to that of a friendly, helpful deity, it’s possible—or even probable—that we will begin to see his commands as suggestions. As God shrinks, our sense of self importance inflates. Do your priorities shift with the perspective of an eternal God? Does your task list change under the realization that you are a part of an eternal plan? Before we get caught up in all that needs to be accomplished this week, let’s take a minute to reflect on the greatness of God. Remember Him as the psalmist does and see how that influences the way you spend your time today.

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