The Unchanging God in a Changing World
A quote: “The more things change the more they stay the same.” We live in a world where the rate of change seems to be accelerating.
The authorship of Psalm 90 is attributed to Moses, a man greatly revered even today among religious Jews. Moses life of 120 years can be divided into 3 periods of 40 years each. #1 in Egypt, #2 Midian desert caring for livestock, #3 the wilderness wanderings. If anyone observed change, Moses did. In all likelihood Moses composed Ps. 90 in the last period of his life.
-my theory: Psalm 90 is an addendum to the Torah.
-an addendum is a section of new material that is added after the first edition or first printing of a book. The author may be correcting something in the original book, updating the information in the book, or providing an explanation for the author's work. In any case, it's an afterthought; a divinely-inspired afterthought.
A couple of themes surface in this Psalm...
I.The Enduring Nature of God – His Permanence
What are some of God's qualities? holy, gracious, loving, omnipotent; here, His permanence.
Moses illustrates God's permanence by making two appeals:
A.Appeal to Israel's Heritage (v. 1)
The very history of the people of Israel. As long as there has been a nation, God has been a constant.
During this period of his life, that of the desert wanderings, the people had no home, no resting place; they were constantly moving hither and you; and yet God was caring for them and preserving them.
B.Appeal to Creation (v. 2)
The origin of the mountains are often considered as the most expressive symbol of the most enduring of earthly things.
God has put within man a yearning for stability = security. Systemic changes tend to destabilize our lives.
e.g. -city of Detroit – financial mismanagement = bankruptcy
-closing of tried and true institutions (e.g. Pillsbury, Calvary)
-Middle East – Syria
-students: dorm life - new experiences (especially if you are an only child!)
-parents: change in relationship = more independence
Why is God allowing the changes taking place in your life? To cause us to seek Him for He is the only real source of stability. God is the one foundation for everything. The person who is anchored in Him is eternally secure. Point: Embrace God in the midst of life's changes!
A second theme that surfaces...
II.Ephemeral Nature of Man – Our Transcience
v. 10 – “70 or 80 years” - a long time to most of us; but is it really?
ILLUS: yardstick = 36 inches and every 2 inches = 1 year of life
(some may already be on your 2nd yardstick!)
Moses recognized that there is no permanence to be found in this earthly life.
A.Moses employs several common metaphors, or pictures, to illustrate the brevity of life.
1.a watch (v. 4) – 3 hours according to Jewish reckoning
2.flood (v. 5) – every wave that comes in = generation
3.nap (v. 5) – sleep
4.grass (vv. 5-6) - the grass that suddenly shoots up, but before evening has been cut down
5.tale = story (v. 9) – everyone has a life story - some are short, others long (obituaries)
B.Moses mentions “our days” or the equivalent in this psalm at least 8 times (vv. 4, 5, 6, 9, 10, 12, 14, 15)
III.Humble Response of Audience (vv. 12-15)
A.Teach us (v. 12) – posture of humility
College students have come to learn, and one subject well-worth learning is the art of numbering your days.
1.to number our days
ILLUS. prisoner marking each day/bride-to-be wedding day
The point Moses is making is that we should realize how few they are and use our time wisely. There is a similar connection between time and wisdom in the NT...
Eph. 5:15-16 – Walk circumspectly not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time because the days are evil.
Wisdom = skill in living according to God's order
B.Satisfy us (v. 14)
1. with “mercy” = “kindness, undeserved goodness”
Why mercy? v. 8 – b/c of our iniquities and secret sins
The sins of the people of Israel had aroused God's anger
(“anger” or “wrath (5x) in vv. 7-11). Moses spent 40 years with an obstinate people under the judgment of God. How many times did God threaten to wipe out the entire nation, but He relented. That was mercy in action.
So have our sins aroused His anger (Rom. 3:23) Thus, we are also in need of divine mercy.
1 John 2:2 – Christ is the “propitiation,” literally = place of mercy.
Heb. 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.
He is the refuge, the Refuge to which we must run in order to obtain mercy from God.
Is Christ your refuge this morning? Is He your shelter amidst life's changes and challenges? Is He your eternal home?
“The more things change, God remains the same.” Embrace Him!