wisdom

Psalm 90

Today I had a spare 40 minutes between meetings, so I used it to look at Psalm 90. I noticed three points of particular interest:

  • God is eternal. If you read Psalm 90, then you’ll see that’s a pretty obvious conclusion, but the verse which I noticed it in particularly was v2.  It says “Before the mountains were brought forth… You are God”. Shouldn’t that be “You were God”? Isn’t the tense wrong? There is another passage in the Bible with this mix of tenses. John 8:58 records Jesus saying “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” As Jesus was talking to Jews at the time, it seems likely to me that this was deliberate reference to Exodus 3:14 in which Moses is told by God to say he is sent by “I AM”. (It is interesting to note that God can only be defined in terms of Himself (“I AM WHO I AM”), but that’s not my point here! Also of interest is that Psalm 90 was written by Moses.) God is eternal and unchanging, and the past and the present are no different for Him. God before Creation is the same as God now is the same as God in the future of eternity. God is so unchanged that it doesn’t even matter which tense we describe His past with, as in it He is the same as in His present and future!
  • God controls our end. Most people would struggle to deny the blindingly obvious statistic that everyone who is born dies. (Don’t mention Elijah or Enoch. Just don’t.) We often think of death as being natural, but the Bible speaks of it as an enemy. In v6 of Psalm 90 we see man being compared to grass, which grows and dies quickly. The verse says “it is cut down and withers”. It was an interesting reminder that we don’t ‘just die’. God cuts us down. God is in control of the timing and method of our deaths, and we are foolish if we forget this.
  • The route to wisdom. v12 tells us we gain wisdom if we learn to “number our days”. Remembering our frailty (and by implication, remembering God’s eternality) keeps us humble and gives us a perspective of seeing things in the way God views them. Surely this is wisdom. Of course, one could conclude that because we are so small and God is so great we are worthless in His sight, but this would be incorrect. I can’t fault the logic of it, but God’s grace is beyond my understanding and certainly defies everything I think of as logical, and it is by His grace that we are loved and (if we trust Jesus) accepted by Him. Praise the Lord!