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Faithlife

Bristol Rd 2 July 2006 - God and our days

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God and our days

1 Lord, you have been our dwelling-place

throughout all generations.

2 Before the mountains were born

or you brought forth the earth and the world,

from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

3 You turn men back to dust,

saying, “Return to dust, O sons of men.”

4 For a thousand years in your sight

are like a day that has just gone by,

or like a watch in the night. …

10 The length of our days is seventy years—

or eighty, if we have the strength;

yet their span is but trouble and sorrow,

for they quickly pass, and we fly away.

11 Who knows the power of your anger?

For your wrath is as great as the fear that is due to you.

12 Teach us to number our days aright,

that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

                                                        PSALM 90 esp. v 12

Tuesday next – July 4th – is a significant day in my family.  It is Stephen’s forty third birthday, and the forty third anniversary of my ordination – here at Bristol Road.

I could never have imagined that forty three years later I would be standing here to minister God’s word.

Some days are always significant  - and usually they mark anniversaries – a yearly celebration. 

We tend to mark of our lives by years.  

This morning I turn to the most famous Psalm there is on the subject of age – a Psalm attributed not to David, but to Moses – PSALM 90.

I want us to consider GOD AND OUR DAYS.

FIRST OF ALL CONSIDER THE STRUCTURE OF THE PSALM

Moses begins with a statement about the eternal God

He then moves on to remind us of our mortality and our impending judgement

Our text is the “hinge verse”

The prayer continues to the end of the psalm.

It is a psalm of personal reflection in later years.

MOSES

Of all the characters of the Bible history Moses had many reasons to look back over his life and weigh up the significance of his life.

40 years in Egypt

40 years in Midian

40 years in the wilderness

Whenever in the course of that long life, Moses wrote this prayer he had plenty of experience to draw on.

What he has to say is not just the ramblings of an old man – but the words of one of the greatest of God’s leaders.

He has learned what Paul described as “the secret”

He has learned to reckon his days against the background of certain fundamental truths – and I want us this morning to do just that too.

1.    God is eternally trustworthy

2.    God will judge all of our days

3.    God can transform our future

4.    God requires our TODAY

God is eternally trustworthy

Too easily we compare our lives with the lives of others – the real standard for our lives if God Himself – revealed in Jesus Christ.

So we are reminded of HIS FAITHFULNESS

1 Lord, you have been our dwelling-place

throughout all generations.

2 Before the mountains were born

or you brought forth the earth and the world,

from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

3 You turn men back to dust,

saying, “Return to dust, O sons of men.”

4 For a thousand years in your sight

are like a day that has just gone by,

or like a watch in the night.

On the great scale even of earth’s history, when compared with previous generations there is ONE CONSTANT      -       One HOME

God has been faithful

God is in charge                 as Isaac Watts renders it:-

Our God, our help in ages past,

Our hope for years to come,

Our shelter from the stormy blast,

And our eternal home.

Under the shadow of thy throne

Thy saints have dwelt secure;

Sufficient is thine arm alone,

And our defence is sure.

Before the hills in order stood,

Or earth received her frame,

From everlasting thou art God,

To endless years the same.

There were times when Moses was acutely conscious of Him – and times when he behaved as if God was not in charge.

That is one of the great ironies of the human condition – that man may respond to the revelation of God – even trust in Him – and yet turn this way and that in pursuit of other aims than God’s and in a strength man does not have – but assumes.

If we are going to understand the way God influences our lives we have to see Him as eternal and faithful, holy and other.

God will judge all our days

7 We are consumed by your anger

and terrified by your indignation.

8 You have set our iniquities before you,

our secret sins in the light of your presence.

 

11 Who knows the power of your anger?

For your wrath is as great as the fear that is due to you.

When Moses looks back at his own life, and when he examines the momentous events of his nation’s history – he is aware next of the GUILT of mankind, and the inevitability of JUDGEMENT

Moses was closer to that judgement than we are.    He witnessed for himself the plagues of Egypt, the coming together of the waters of the Red Sea, the Mountain of Sinai and the reaction of the people to God’s law.

Sadly we have forgotten this in the 21st Century – but we do so at our peril.

But Moses also experienced it at first hand – I have to say that I believe he wrote this psalm late in his life – after the failure that cost him entrance to the Land of Promise.

The disappointment of the faces of defeated footballers is nothing compared with the awful sense of failure that Moses felt when God told him he would not enter the promised land.

Yet if we are to make sense of our world and our times and our own days – we need to face up squarely to what THE JUDGEMENT OF GOD REALLY MEANS.

There is so much injustice and crime and sin that seems to go unpunished in our world.   Doesn’t God care?

The very mortality of mankind is a reminder of that judgement.   Do not consider it lightly.

But there is another truth here:

God can transform our future

13 Relent, O Lord! How long will it be?

Have compassion on your servants.

14 Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,

that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.

15 Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,

for as many years as we have seen trouble.

16 May your deeds be shown to your servants,

your splendour to their children.

17 May the favour of the Lord our God rest upon us;

establish the work of our hands for us—

yes, establish the work of our hands.

The Psalm becomes a fervent prayer – notice what Moses is asking for

·        Have compassion                       v 13

·        Give us a real hope             Satisfy us in the morning

 

·        Turn our lives around          v 15

·        Demonstrate your power in us and through us  vv 16,17

Whatever our sense of the mortality of human life

Whatever our awareness of sin and judgement

God always holds out a DIFFERENT WAY – and through the ages “from everlasting to everlasting”   He has been at work demonstrating HIS GRACE

I want my life to be different.

I want to have a future – a dawn light of blessing  here – and in the life to come.

So what does God require of me?

An acknowledgement of His eternal holiness – His love – His forgiveness offered in Jesus.

A life dedicated in ALL ITS DAYS to Him and His service.

God requires my TODAY

12 Teach us to number our days aright,

that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

In His teaching, Jesus was constantly placing the emphasis upon the DAY

His prayer shows it   “Give us this day our daily bread”

His words remind us that it is the DAY that is sufficient  - tomorrow lies always beyond my reach.

And to reach always backwards into the past is wrong too – unless it enables us to make a difference NOW – TODAY.

The New Testament letters reinforce the teaching of the Old Testament



7 So, as the Holy Spirit says:                           HEBREWS 3   & PSA 95

“Today, if you hear his voice,

8      do not harden your hearts

as you did in the rebellion,

during the time of testing in the desert,

9 where your fathers tested and tried me

and for forty years saw what I did.

10 That is why I was angry with that generation,

and I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray,

and they have not known my ways.’

11 So I declared on oath in my anger,

‘They shall never enter my rest.’ “

And 2 Corinthians 6 from Isaiah

6 As God’s fellow-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. 2 For he says,

“In the time of my favour I heard you,

and in the day of salvation I helped you.

I tell you, now is the time of God’s favour, now is the day of salvation.

.

On the human scale of things it is as much as we can hold – just a day.  We too easily look back over years – or put off for years what God requires NOW.

There are some folks who have learned the hard way to value EACH DAY

There are some who grapple with addiction and dependency who can only live one day at a time.

Why is it that so many believers live one day in seven?

He wants us to recognise our frailty and to depend upon Him for EVERY DAY.

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