Psalm 90: Legacy

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!

Bee on a Yellow Flower | Mercer Botanical Garden | March 2023

The Apostle John writes, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” (3 John 1:4). This is the last time that word comes up in his three letters. But he has used the word 16 times previously in these letters. The term is obviously important to him. He considers fellow Christians his children because he was their spiritual father and took responsibility for the safety of their faith. That meant he would challenge and correct as needed, but never do so without great love and encouragement. John is the kind of spiritual father many of us would wish to have. Both his gospel account and these letters are favorites of mine. He touches my heart with God’s love, and instills in me a desire that others would be touched by that same love. Such is John’s legacy: an enviable one at that.

Moses prays that God would

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!

Moses is praying for a legacy of faithfulness to be his. He wants to see the truth and grace of God take root in the lives of his children – all of them and us. Note how he prays that God’s work would be shown to his servants and their children. He is not concerned only for his own children, but for all people to know of God’s great love.

May His favor be upon you

And a thousand generations

And your family and your children

And their children, and their children

May His presence go before you

And behind you, and beside you

All around you, and within you

He is with you, He is with you

In the morning, in the evening

In your coming, and your going

In your weeping, and rejoicing

He is for you, He is for you…

This would be my legacy’s hope, more than money, fame, power, or even health. For God’s favor makes all the difference in all of life. Without it we are lost. With it we can weather all storms and most fully enjoy the blessings when the boundary lines of life fall for us in pleasant places (cf. Psalm 16:6-8).

Even if you don’t have children of your own, I pray that you are able to leave such a legacy to those who have known you and loved you.

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