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Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

Psalms 90

Verses 1-17

  1. Intro:
    1. Song, from Five For Fighting (stage name for John Ondrasik) called "100 Years". (read lyrics)
    2. Reminds me of another song, a much older one – Psalm 90 (Moses).
      1. Like “100 Years”, this song ponders the passing of time. Psalmist seems perplexed, even troubled by brevity of life.
      2. The way he figures it, you get 70 maybe 80 years if you’re lucky(vs.10).
        1. Before we know it, life comes to an end and we wonder if our lives have counted for something, for anything.
        2. Only trouble and sorrow, or will we have something to show for the years we’ve spent in this world?
    3. Since Moses was the author of this psalm, it makes it the oldest of all the psalms.
      1. It seems to have been written in connection with Israel’s failure at Kadesh-barnea (Num.14)
      2. The people (except for Joshua and Caleb) refused to follow Moses and to trust God.
      3. Instead of entering the land by faith, they turned back in unbelief, & God judged them.
      4. He made the nation go on the longest funeral March, by wandering for 40 years until all the people who had been over 20 years of age at Kadesh-barnea, died.
        1. Keep this in mind as you read Ps. 90 (esp. 7-11), and it will take on new meaning.
        2. This psalm is Moses’ personal reaction to the crisis.
        3. He turned to God in prayer and sought an eternal abiding place in the Lord. (Warren Wiersbe, Outlines on the OT)
    4. Moses spent 40 years in Egypt preparing to be called to ministry, 40 years in the desert preparing to carry out ministry, and 40 years in the desert carrying it out. But he never got out of the desert.
      1. This was a disappointment to him. He had some failures in his life like we all do. But he went the distance God required, and the distance he couldn’t go he saw by faith.
    5. Let’s see if we can answer: Who made God? - What is the secret to making life count?
  2. PONDER GOD’S ETERNALITY! (1,2)
    1. Life has meaning and value if we have a relationship with the eternal God and if we have God’s blessing upon our life and work.
    2. Who made God?
      1. How do answer this? Well, Plato (or Socrates) Said, "The beginning of wisdom is the definition of terms."
      2. God is defined: the creator and ruler of the universe and source of all moral authority; the supreme being.
        1. The bible declares God is the Creator of all the universe, but also that God Himself is not created.
        2. There is a crucial distinction between the Creator & the creation.
        3. Also, it is impossible for something to create itself. (self-creation is a contradiction in terms)
          1. Obviously for God to create Himself He would have to be before He is. Even God can’t do that!
        4. In theology we call this the self-existence of God.
      3. Even from everlasting to everlasting You are God –
        1. Eternity is used in 2 senses in the bible: figuratively & literally.
          1. Figuratively - existence that may have a beginning, but will have no end (i.e. Angels, the human soul)
          2. Literally - denoting an existence which has neither beginning nor ending, like that of God.
            1. Time has past, present, future; eternity has not.
            2. ​​​​​​​Eternity is infinite duration w/o any beginning, end, or limit an ever abiding present.
  3. PONDER MAN’S BREVITY! (3-6)
    1. ​​​​​​​(4) Who quotes this? Peter (2 Pet.3:8)
    2. What’s Moses saying here? God doesn’t measure time by human standards.
      1. We must adjust ourselves to His way of time & not expect Him to live by ours.
    3. A watch in the night = There were 4, 3 hour watches.
    4. (6) Charles Spurgeon told about a man who said to a dying believer, “Farewell, friend! I shall never see you again in the land of the living!” The dying Christian replied, “I shall see you again in the land of the living where I am going. This is the land of the dying!”
    5. (6) Then all were are is dust in the wind...Dust in the wind.
  4. PONDER MAN’S DEPRAVITY! (7-12)
    1. ​​​​​​​Life is futile apart from God because of its shortness and uncertainty & God’s wrath on our sin.
    2. We don’t # our days, we # our years (birthdays).
      1. Number your days means live one day at a time. Not guaranteed tomorrow.
        1. Give us this day our daily bread.
        2. God has ordained that the whole universe function one day at a time.
    3. The secret to making life count?...Live one day at a time!
      1. Live as though this was your last day.
    4. Note the word that - that we may gain a heart….
      1. Prov.4:23 Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.
      2. What is in your heart will direct your life!
    5. A heart of wisdom - Wisdom is knowing & having discernment, so that we can apply the truth of the word of God at the right time, in the right way, with the right motive.
    6. Live in Light of Eternity!
    7. (12) So teach us to number our days that we may present to you a heart of wisdom.
      1. One day you will present something to God. He has entrusted certain gifts and abilities to you and you are to manage them for Him in such a way as to make a profit for His kingdom.
      2. The Hebrew verb in verse 12(number) is the same word used in Gen.4:3,4 to refer to the offerings of Cain and Abel.
        1. What will you offer to God when He calls for an account?
        2. Remember, it was the fellow with only one talent who buried it and was scolded by his master. Slide #11c Not having the greatest abilities is no excuse for not using them.
    8. We all count something! - “A’s” on report card; video game scores; wins/loses; how many likes you have; how many “friends you have.
      1. go through life counting the wrong things!
      2. Count the days, hours, minutes, moments...as you do not have an unlimited amount of them.
    9. Time is broken up into millenniums, centuries, decades, years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes, and seconds for the benefit of man.
      1. If time was one long, endless day, if we made a mistake, if we sinned, the whole would be messed up!
      2. God’s great mercy broke time into small increments if we mess up today, tomorrow we will have a brand new, fresh day to start over again. (His mercy is new...how often?)
      3. This day has a purpose! - The gift of this 24 hours has a design.
        1. Will we heed the design?
      4. What will I do with today?
        1. The little boy came to his Grandfather and said: Paw can I live right for all my life? Paw thought and said, No, Grandson it is absolutely impossible to live a perfect life for a life time. The Grandson returned and said, Paw, How about for a year, could I live right for a year? The Grandfather thought and answered, NO, You can not live a good life for a year. The Grandson asked his Grandfather, How about a month? NO! How about a week? NO! How about for a day? The Grandfather thought much and said NO! You can’t! The Grandson said Paw, How about an hour? NO! Then the Grandson asked the Grandfather, Paw, How about for a MOMENT? Could I live right for a moment? After much thought the Grandfather replied, Yes, maybe you could live right for a moment! - The grandson returned later & said, Paw, then I want to live my life moment by moment!
  5. PONDER GOD’S CHARITY! (13-17)
    1. ​​​​​​​Moses prays for a reversal of what has gone before.
      1. Return, to dust (v.3); now Moses says to God, Return, to forgive and bless (13).
    2. Bob Dylan writing against the nonsense of the early 60’s & it’s Existential ideas (to deny the existence of objective values, stressing instead the reality and significance of human freedom and experience), Relativism, & Fate of his day, wrote “the answer” “the answer”…
      1. Yes, how many times must a man look up - Before he can see the sky? Yes, how many ears must one man have - Before he can hear people cry? Yes, how many deaths will it take till he knows - That too many people have died? The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind - The answer is blowin' in the wind.
    3. Wrap up:
    4. I read of a young man who, in 1981, was flown into the remote Alaskan wilderness to photograph the natural beauty of the tundra. He had photo equipment, 500 rolls of film, several firearms, and 1,400 pounds of provisions. As the months passed, the entries in his diary, which at first detailed the wonder and fascination with the wildlife around him, turned into a pathetic record of a nightmare. In August he wrote, “I think I should have used more foresight about arranging my departure. I’ll soon find out.”
      1. He waited and waited, but no one came to his rescue. In November he died in a nameless valley, by a nameless lake, 225 miles northeast of Fairbanks. An investigation revealed that he had carefully mapped out his venture, but he had made no provision to be flown out of the area.
      2. How many people live their lives without making any plans for their departure to face eternity?
        1. You know you will be departing (the statistics on death are quite impressive!).
        2. The only way for your fleeting life to have value is to live it wisely before the eternal God and to avoid His wrath against your sin by taking refuge in the mercy He offers in the cross of Jesus Christ.
    5. There are three huge gates that lead into the Cathedral of Milan (Duomo).
    6. Over 1 gate there is an inscription in marble under a beautiful flower bouquet that says, “The things that please are temporary.”
    7. Over the 2nd gate, there is a cross with this inscription: “The things that disturb us are temporary.”
    8. However, over the central gate, there is a big inscription saying, “Eternal are the important ones.”
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Psalms 90". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/psalms-90.html. 2017.