Psalm 90: Considering, Numbering, and Gaining

Psalm 90

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!

Flame of the Woods | Phoenix, AZ | February 2023

Diane and I recently went on an impromptu photo outing. I had my camera ready. Batteries were charged. Lenses and tripod at the ready. So we went. She mostly walked around Mercer Botanical Gardens, taking a few photos with her iPhone. I took a bunch of photos. Then late last night I got around to going through them for the first batch of culling the less-than-excellent photos. This morning I finished that up, including some editing and a whole lot of post processing. I discovered I had neglected to reset my camera and everything was overexposed by 2 stops. That’s not good in bright sunlight. Thank God for Lightroom®! You’ll see some of those photos over the next weeks in this blog.

should have considered a few things before I began to click the shutter. I should have looked more closely at the numbers. I would have gained some time and some better photos had I done so.

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.

Too often we live as though God is a doting grandfather. Benignly he watches with chuckling amusement at the silly antics of his grandchildren. That’s not a biblical picture whatsoever. Who considers, indeed, the power of his anger? I don’t often. But when I do, it hauls me back from the edge of faith’s shipwreck. The Law of God properly serves to curb gross outbreaks of sin in our lives. A healthy fear of God is at its root. It’s not the highest motivation. But it is a valid one. And for what it’s worth, I consider the fear of God something quite more than healthy respect. It’s quake in your boots, fall down in despair, woe is me fear. Look at Isaiah’s vision (Isaiah 6:1-5) for a reminder of that.

If we are in autopilot our whole lives we will certainly also discover some overexposure to the glitz and distractions of this world. That will require some redevelopment of our hearts – a renewing of the Holy Spirit. Otherwise we will forfeit wisdom and lose much.

Moses prays that God would teach us to number our days. He is aware that it’s all too easy to slog through our days unaware of God’s proper place, oblivious to his higher calling, and sidetracked from his ways. By numbering our days means we are intentionally aware of the human limits of our lives. We will not live on this side of eternity forever. Heaven is our true home. Numbering our days is, therefore, more than a humble reckoning of the limits of our life, it is also meant to point us to our true heavenly hope and home.

By considering and numbering we may gain a heart of wisdom. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Wisdom’s fulfillment is Jesus himself. Perfect love. Perfect faith. Perfect obedience. Hope realized. A wise heart has considered the proper fear of God, counted its days, and looks for the steadfast love of God to fill its cracks and crevasses. Those with wise hearts will see the work of God and look with anticipation for the blessing of God on their children.

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