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This is the only Psalm written by Moses. Let's study it verse by verse!

Like all Scripture, it is certainly God-breathed!  Inspired!

"Lord, open Thou our eyes that we may behold wondrous things out of Thy Word!"

--- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 A Preacher in his Study

 

 

 

 

 

Psalm 90

A Prayer of Moses the Man of God

"Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God. Thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest, Return, ye children of men. For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night. Thou carriest them away as with a flood; they are as a sleep: in the morning they are like grass which groweth up. In the morning it flourisheth, and groweth up; in the evening it is cut down, and withereth. For we are consumed by thine anger, and by thy wrath are we troubled. Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance. For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told. The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. Who knoweth the power of thine anger? even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath. So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. Return, O LORD, how long? and let it repent thee concerning thy servants. O satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. Make us glad according to the days wherein thou hast afflicted us, and the years wherein we have seen evil. Let thy work appear unto thy servants, and thy glory unto their children. And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it."

 

LESSON 1, VERSE 1:

One Preacher called it a "dark" Psalm.

Another labeled it "pessimistic."

I'll just call it "inspired!"

Psalm 90, that is!

It undoubtedly was written during a "low" time in Israel's history.

Yet it certainly has several gloriously "bright" spots!

Look with me at its first verse. "Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations." Psalm 90:1

I believe Moses wrote this Scripture while Israel was traveling through the wilderness, the desert.

They had no earthly home!

Egypt had been a place of slavery, no "ownership" of anything there!

Canaan yet lay ahead, infested with giants!

And for them the night's dwelling place would have been nothing but a tent, a canvas to protect from the weather!

But ... what a minute!

Israel did have a place to call home!

Even in such dire conditions!

The Lord was her Dwelling Place!

The Hebrew noun used here, "maon," means habitation or even refuge!

God ... the Israelites' Home!

They lived in Him!

The first time this word is used in the Bible, Deuteronomy 26:15, Heaven is in view!

Later this term is used of the Tabernacle or Temple, the Holy Place itself!

But this time, in Psalm 90, God Himself is the Host for His people!

Not a city, a Person!

Now in the New Testament we are clearly taught that God dwells in us, through His Holy Spirit!  We are His Temple!  "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?" 1st Corinthians 6:19

But in Psalm 90 the word picture is reversed!

What a thought!

Living in Jesus!

But look!

Moses went further!

God had been their Dwelling Place ... "in all generations!"

Abraham lived in God!

So did Isaac and Jacob and Joseph!

Five hundred years flowed between Abraham and Moses ... centuries of Israel living in God!

I've been thinking about this.

In the Old Testament, under the hardest of dispensational conditions, Israel dwelt with the Lord!

What could be said about us today, living on this side of the Cross?

In the age of Grace ... we too live in Him!

Paul said of the Lord ... "in Him we live, and move, and have our being!" Acts 17:28

Today, this Easter weekend, let us all rejoice in our Refuge, our Haven, our Fortress, our Dwelling Place, the Lord Jesus Christ!

The living Saviour!

                                                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 2, VERSE 2:

God is eternal!

That's the message of the second verse of Psalm 90.

"Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God." Psalm 90:2

The verb "brought forth" translates a Hebrew term ("yalad") meaning to give birth. To travail! To beget! Furthermore, this "perfect" verb depicts the mountains' birth as a thing of the past, completed action! 

"Yalad" is also a passive verb! The mountains did not supervise or empower their own birth!  Someone oversaw and directed such a great event!  Verse 2 here is teaching creation!

By the way, "har," the noun for mountains, also can mean "hills" and is so translated 59 times in the King James Bible.

The second clause is even more didactic. It plainly attributes to God the formation of this earth!

The verb "formed" is amazing!  "Chul" means "to twist, shake, travail, be in pain or be wounded!" It pictures God literally in travail, giving birth to His creation!

And notice even the two nouns, "earth" and "world." The first ("eretzs") means the planet itself; dirt, rock and all! The second ("tebel") often means the people who inhabit the earth. The "habitable part" of the earth.

But the real message of this verse is that God was God ... even "before" the earth and its people were made! "Before" translates "terem," an adverbial term with clear and distinct meaning.

To God Himself, the earth and its mountains and people are mere "newborns!" Infants!

He is ancient!

He is eternal!

Earth is not!

Then Moses turns from the everlasting "past" to the everlasting "future!"

He, addressing God directly, says: "from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God."

The time marker "everlasting" translates "olam" which literally means "the vanishing point." As far as one can see, to the point where an object "vanishes" out of sight ... God is still God!

He is God eternally as one looks into history!

He is God eternally as one tries to behold the future!

He is the Standard by which all life must be measured!

Truthfully, He IS Life!

Jesus said that in John 17:3. "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."

What a great God we serve!

                                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 3, VERSE 3:

God is everlasting!

So says Moses in Psalm ninety.

"Even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God." Psalm 90:2

But man is quite different!

Moses, again speaking to God says, "Thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest, Return, ye children of men."  Psalm 90:3

Let's examine this amazing verse.

The noun "destruction" ("dakka") literally means "dust." Its "root" meaning is "crushed" or "ground to powder!"

This is believed to be an allusion to something Moses had written back in Genesis. There God is reported to have said to Adam: "For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." Genesis 3:19

Notice that God "turns" man to destruction ... to death!  Man, specifically Adam, to whom God originally spoke this "unto dust thou shalt return" formula had just sinned! This "death" thing is a direct result of Adam's sin! "The wages of sin is death" Paul powerfully writes in Romans 6:23.

This is picturing God as reaching forth from Heaven with His mighty hand and actually guiding or directing man to death's door!  "Shub" here is a causative verb. Something is causing God to effect man's death!  That is ... sin!

Here in Psalm 90 God is the Giver of life! He formed the earth and the world back in verse one. Then now ... He is the Enforcer of death as well! Again, because of man's rebellion and disobedience!

The second time "return" is used in verse three, it is an imperative! "Shub," returning to the dust of the earth, is a requirement God has placed upon sinful mankind, the whole human race!

"The soul that sinneth, it shall die" thunders Ezekiel 18:4.

Lastly, the expression "children of men" translates "ben adam" in Hebrew.

Literally it says "sons of Adam!"

Paul, in 1st Corinthians 15:22, wrote: "In Adam all die."

That's true, because of iniquity!

Then listen to Romans 5:12. "Wherefore, as by one man (Adam) sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned."

That's the very lesson of Psalm 90:3!

"Thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest, Return, ye children of men."

Death, the destiny of every man!

BUT ... here's some good news ... from the New Testament!

Back to 1st Corinthians 15:22. "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive."

See the words I have capitalized?

Or maybe better yet, "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."  Romans 6:23

What Adam lost ... Jesus regained!

Where Adam failed ... Jesus succeeded!

Adam, the bringer of death!  But Jesus, the Giver of Life!

Thank God for the brutal truth of Psalm 90:3!

But also thank God for the glorious truth of John 3:16!

Amen!

                                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 4, VERSE 4:

Simon Peter wrote these words: "But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." 2nd Peter 3:8

There is no doubt that Peter was just remembering something Moses had said hundreds of years earlier.

In Psalm 90:4 the great Lawgiver declared unto the Lord: "For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night."

The noun "sight" is a translation of the Hebrew word "ayin," or simply "eyes!" God is watching the time!

We are here being taught that God is so vast, so temporally transcendent, that huge amounts of time are as nothing!

To God a thousand years ... are like a single day to you or me, like yesterday!

Like a mere block of time set apart during the night!

Folks, a thousand years ago no planes had flown or cars had driven! No phones had rung or computers raced! No America had yet existed or Mayflower sailed!

Yet to God those same thousand years seem as a dream in the night!

One commentator said something like this.  As a thousand dollars are to a millionaire as "nothing" ... so a thousand years are to God as incidental increments of temporality!

By the way, a "watch" in the night is one fourth of the total hours of darkness! Less than three hours with man .... are here equated with a thousand years with God!

Mathematically notice that the "thousand years" is compared to a whole day (yesterday) but to only a three hour (watch) portion of the night!

Why?

Maybe because the night seems to pass much more quickly!

John Newton, trophy of grace, captured the spirit of this fourth verse of Psalm ninety when he penned: "When we've been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun!  We've no less days, to sing God's praise ... than when we've first begun!"

I am so glad today that Heaven awaits God's children!

An eternal Heaven!

One where decades, centuries, millennia and eons ... mean absolutely nothing!

Because they all represent just the edge of the beginning of eternity future!

What a God we serve!

                                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 5, VERSES 5 AND 6:

Human life is brief.

Even if one lives to some ripe old age, at the end ... it all seems to have passed so quickly!

Moses, speaking to the Lord about  life, phrased it this way: "Thou carriest them away as with a flood; they are as a sleep: in the morning they are like grass which groweth up. In the morning it flourisheth, and groweth up; in the evening it is cut down, and withereth." Psalm 90:5-6

Think of it!

A whole lifetime is likened to a flood that quickly comes and goes!

It's like a nap one takes during the afternoon!

And it's like the farmer's planted hay seed ... which indeed sprout and grow, but ultimately only last a month or two!

What contrast Moses is painting in this ninetieth Psalm!

God is eternal!

Man is temporal!

We are so fragile!

Our lives so tender!

As a raging flood sweeps away everything in its path, so the "flood" of death will get its victims too!  All of us!

Earthly life, short as last night's sleep, soon ends!

It is "as a sleep" Moses said.

Just like a nap can, and often does, get interrupted ... so is it with one's life span!

And then life is compared to grass! This word is also called "hay" twice in the Bible.

Grass has a time of growth ... and then a time of withering! So do we humans!

These three word pictures are here given to illustrate the brevity of life: a flood, a night's sleep and a crop of grass!

But why?

Maybe ... to encourage us to prepare for death!

Possibly ... to nudge us to lean on the Lord for wisdom and strength!

But surely ... to point us to Jesus!  Jesus, Who alone can save us from an eternal Hell and bring us to a glorious Heaven!

Are you saved?

                                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 6, VERSE 7:

I suppose this seventh verse might be called "typically Old Testament" in character.

Read it with me. "For we are consumed by thine anger, and by thy wrath are we troubled."

Moses is praying.

He is also identifying with his people Israel.

It is usually thought that Moses penned this Psalm just after Israel had failed to enter and conquer the Land. You know, the twelve spies incident!  Their unbelief had triggered God's anger and punishment.

"Thus did your fathers, when I sent them from Kadeshbarnea to see the land. For when they went up unto the valley of Eshcol, and saw the land, they discouraged the heart of the children of Israel, that they should not go into the land which the LORD had given them. And the LORD'S anger was kindled the same time, and he sware, saying, surely none of the men that came up out of Egypt, from twenty years old and upward, shall see the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob; because they have not wholly followed me: save Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite, and Joshua the son of Nun: for they have wholly followed the LORD. And the LORD'S anger was kindled against Israel, and he made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation, that had done evil in the sight of the LORD, was consumed." Numbers 32:8-13

If so, Psalm 90:7 certainly "fits" the occasion!

The "wages" of sin are here clearly seen!

Moses in our verse laments God's Hand of discipline!

But what is here true specifically of Israel at that time is also true generally of all humanity at any time.

Rebellious mankind lives under the judgment of God!  "But he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." John 3:18

Again, "He that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." John 3:36

The verb "consumed" is "kalah" and means "to reach the end!" To be finished! In Genesis 2:1 God "finished" the heavens and the earth.

And watch this word picture. "Anger," here God's anger is spelled "aph" and means one's nostril or nose!  It is thought to mean anger in this sense: breathing very hard through one's nose as a result of rage!  Its first Bible use is Genesis 2:7 where God breathed into Adam's "nostrils" the breath of life!

Now the noun "wrath" (in Hebrew = "chemah") means that which is "hot!"  In our King James Bibles the word is translated "fury" 67 times and "wrath" 34 times and even "poison" 6 times.

Lastly, "troubled" uses "bahal," which suggests being terrified! Worried! Alarmed or disturbed! However in its first Bible reference, Exodus 15:15, the Edomites are simply "amazed!"

Apart from God's Grace, which certainly appears later in Psalm 90, verse 7 leaves us in a dismal situation!

Thank God for what Paul later said. "But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound." Romans 5:20

Sin is nothing to be ignored!

Do not belittle it!

It brings with it severe consequences!

For example ... and in review ... "For we are consumed by thine anger, and by thy wrath are we troubled."

Think about it!

                                                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 7, VERSE 8:

We need verses like this!

In our day all we hear is grace, grace, grace!

And it is often a cheapened grace at that!

Let me make an announcement: God's Grace does not overlook sin!  It deals with it and washes it away via the precious Blood of Jesus!

Neither is God's true grace an "excuse" for sin!

It is not all right to do wrong because God is so forgiving!

That's "turning the grace of God into lasciviousness" as the Epistle of Jude so well reminds us!

Verses like what, Preacher Bagwell?

Like Psalm 90:8. It, addressing God Himself, says "Thou hast set our iniquities before Thee, our secret sins in the light of Thy countenance."

There it is!

In stark reality!

Moses wrote that verse, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit of course.

It particularly focuses upon Israel, apparently in the days immediately after her "Kadeshbarnea" rebellion against the Lord.

She decided NOT to obey God and go claim the Promised!

She sided with ten unbelieving spies rather than with the two faithful ones!

God subsequently but immediately announced the deaths of ALL the people who were twenty years of age or older!

None of these adults would enter the Holy Land alive!

Why?

Because of their unbelief and doubt and distrust ... and rebellion, all of which are just synonyms for sin!

Hence our verse for today: "Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance."

"Hast set," the verb, translates Hebrew "shiyth" and means "to lay out" something for visible reference!

The noun "iniquities" (in Hebrew = "avon") means "that which is twisted!" It's parent word, "avah," means "to bend or make crooked!"  Sins are perversions of God's original intentions!

"Before Thee" ("neged") means "in front of!" Of course, using this very term, Psalm 119:168 says that all our ways are "before" Him, the Lord!

"Secret sins" translates "alam" and means that which is veiled from sight! Remember Achan or Gehazi or Ananias and Sapphira.

Sins can be hidden from the whole assembly (Leviticus 4:13) and even from the individual himself (Leviticus 5:2,3) ... but not from God!

This word "secret" is interestingly the Old Testament word for "dissemblers" too! See Psalm 26:4.

The noun for "light" is one which implies a lamp or chandelier or any luminous body!

God's face here obviously emits Light!

His "glow" is part of His Glory!

And that last word in our verse, "countenance" is in Hebrew "panaiym" and means one's "face."

God notes our sins!

He then punishes them ... if they remain unconfessed!

This verse also reminds me of something the Psalmist wrote in Psalm 130:3. "If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?"

What a question!

Then in the very next verse comes a thunderous load of good news!

"But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared." Psalm 130:4

And I say, thanks be unto God!

Glory to His Name!

Forgiveness ... because of Jesus!

Yet ... we had all best remember ... unforgiven sin does indeed call for God's wrath!

And God is just!

                                                                                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 8, VERSE 9:

God is not only a great God of love!

He also hates sin!

He even hates sin in the lives of His Own people!

The Psalmist writes: "For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told." Psalm 90:9

The expression "all our days" is only found three times in the whole Bible. In our Text here it is used under the context of death! In Psalm 90:18 it is used in a setting of delight! Then again in Jeremiah 35:8 it is used of the Rechabites, who lived in the realm of duty!

It obviously means ... all our lives!

The verb "passed away" translates "panah." It means "to turn," to turn toward or away or from something or someone.  It is built upon the word that means one's "face."

This apparently pictures a wasted life!  One that has, because of sin and rebellion and disobedience, been turned away from its intended joys and pleasantries ... yet turned toward judgment and grief!  Such delights are found in the Presence of God, by the way!

Then the noun "wrath" (in Hebrew = "ebrah") is used, which initially means an outpouring or overflowing or excess of something ... in the Bible usually anger!

We "spend" our years!  This verb, "kalah," was used back in verse 7 as "consumed." Here it also means "to be finished!" To be ended! To be used up!

Sounds like Paul's idea of time as something to be "redeemed," doesn't it? See Ephesians 5:16 and Colossians 4:5.

The noun year ("shaneh") comes from a verb that means "to fold" or "to duplicate" and probably pictures this twelve month annual cycle as something that is repeated ten times every decade or a hundred times every century!

Then the most interesting word in the verse I think!  A "tale" that is told, speaking of the shortness of human life, uses the noun "hegeh" and means a "sound," or a "rumbling" or a "growling!" A muttering! It comes from the root verb "hagah!"  That word is used elsewhere in Scripture for the idea of "meditation" in the Word of God!  Here the whole of life is one long "meditation!"

Of course, if one approaches life negatively, it is just one sustained "groan!"

And people say that Ecclesiastes is a pessimistic Book!

Our verse again ... "For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told." Psalm 90:9

How very true!

                                                                                    --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 9, VERSE 10:

The Bible refers to an average human lifespan as being "threescore years and ten."

A "score" being twenty, the total here is seventy.

Man or woman lives to be seventy years of age, maybe less or perhaps a little more, but around seventy.

Here's the verse: "The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away." Psalm 90:10

This is a quick but accurate description of human life.

The first time the noun "strength" is used in our verse, it translates "geburah." This means might or power or force. In this precise form "geburah" is only used one other time in the Bible. (It's found 60 other times in numerous other forms.) The single occurrence is Job 41:4 where the strength of Leviathan the mighty sea creature is being discussed! Brute strength!

If man is strong enough physically, he may live to be eighty!

"Fourscore" of course equals eighty.

But the second time the noun "strength" is used, a totally different Hebrew word is utilized! "Rohab" means pride or arrogance! The first time I can find any of its cognates in Scripture, Job 9:13, it is translated "pride!" It can carry the idea of proudly overcoming something.  As if God is saying that man, when he lives to an extremely old age, proudly delights in his own strength and stamina, failing to give glory to God!

But two qualities are here said to characterize old age: "labour" and "sorrow!"

Labor is "amal" and means toil or trouble or grievance! In Psalm 7:14 "amal" is even translated "mischief!"

And sorrow translates "aven," occasionally meaning wickedness as well as emptiness or mourning or sorrow.

Even elderly people can be wicked and ungodly it seems!

Then, in a word only occurring here in all Scripture, mankind is "soon" cut off! He soon dies! Soon is spelled "chiysh" in Hebrew. There is a brevity about human life that nothing else in our vocabulary can accurately describe!

The verb "cut off" (Hebrew = "guz") is literally "to pass over" or "to pass away." We use this idea yet today.  "Did you hear that Brother Jones 'passed away' last night?"

The only other time "guz" is used in the Word, Numbers 11:31, a huge flock of quail are "brought" from the sea to Israel's neighborhood. By the way this incident led to many deaths also!

Lastly, after death, we are said to "fly away!" This verb, "uph," basically means to do what the birds do!  In Genesis 1:20 the fowl ("oph") are said to fly ("uph") above the earth!

When we die, even the Old Testament says, we "fly away" to be with the Lord! That is true whether we go by the grave ... or at the Rapture!

Glory to God!

                                                                                     --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 10, VERSE 11:

This is an astounding verse.

I doubt any of us will ever know its depths.

Moses, still addressing God in his most awesome prayer, asks ... "Who knoweth the power of thine anger? even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath."  Psalm 90:11

We, having lived all our lives in the Age of God's Grace, can barely fathom the depth of His righteous holy anger!

The verb for "know" here, "yada" can mean anything from knowing casually to knowing in great detail. One must depend on its "context" or "setting" in a verse to discern its exact shade of intensity. Here it obviously carries the same degree of knowing that is aroused by our "fear" or reverence or worship of Almighty God! That type of knowledge is generally thought to be quite thorough!

And the noun "strength" is "oz" in Hebrew. It comes from a root word "azaz" that means stout! It implies strength in a wide sense, physically or emotionally or even spiritually. And of course we must bear in mind that God is elsewhere in Scripture an all powerful God!

"Anger" uses a word we've already studied in Psalm 90.  In verse 7 we learned that "aph" means one's nose or nostrils!  It is believed that the "anger" here is so intense that it has produced rapid breathing, hard breathing, through the nose! It is kin to fury or wrath!

"According" translates a preposition "ke," which is actually prefixed to its object in the Hebrew Text here.  It means "like" or "as" or "according to" something.  God's observed and experienced wrath here ... is similar in depth and quality to the reverence and worship He evokes! That's startling!

We do sing of His "Amazing Grace!"  Have you ever heard anyone singing about His "Amazing Wrath?"

Next the word "fear," in Hebrew = "yirah," is used. As I've already hinted twice today, it means "that which frightens." But in the Old Testament and in a moral sense, it's that which causes respect and honor and reverence.

Then at last we see another "wrath" word. "Ebrah," used also in Psalm 90:9, means an outpouring or overflowing or excess (of fury or anger).  Here it's a massive flood or outburst of such!

Today's verse is one of those "woe be unto you" statements of Scripture!

And it well deserves our meditation.

While I do not believe the Scripture teaches that the Church will endure the coming time of God's Wrath or Tribulation ... I do not know what America may face in the months or years ahead.  We as a Nation have sinned profusely against Almighty God! And we remain unrepentant!

Is it no longer true that God judges sin?

Remember what Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 8:11. "Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil."

Yes, some day America may know the power of God's anger!

Lord, help us!

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 11, VERSE 12:

The Man of God Moses prays these words in Psalm 90: "So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom." Psalm 90:12

He has been talking about God's eternal Nature. "From everlasting to everlasting Thou art God," he said.

Then he thought about man's frailty and short time here on earth.  Generally speaking, seventy years if he is healthy ... eighty at most!

Human life, once it's nearly over, seems like such a brief time! Like a simple bedtime story that's quickly told to the children!

In light of these truths ... we humans had better make our days count!

I mean ... count for the Lord!

Hence this prayer. Again ... "So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom."

"Teach" translates "yada" which just means "make us to know." Or better yet, "cause us to know."

The verb "number" is "manah" and of its 28 appearances in Scripture carries ideas such as: to count, to "tell" or reckon, to prepare or even to appoint! We can get a pretty good idea of its basic meaning by looking at Genesis 13:16, where it is first used. God is talking to Abraham and says, "And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered."

The noun day ("yom") comes from a root word that means "hot!"  The days were quite so where Moses lived!

"That" is a short conjunction in Hebrew, introducing a purpose clause. Why should men and women count their days, their time on earth? "That they may apply their hearts unto wisdom."

The verb "apply" is spelled "bo" and actually means "to come" to something! That we may bring our hearts to the place of Wisdom, to the God of Wisdom!

The noun "hearts" is "lebab" here and means one's innermost being. His heart or soul or mind or will!

Then comes "wisdom." The word "chakmah" or "chokmah" implies skill or prudence. That is skill in living, but here specifically skill in living godly lives!

Moses was quite learned in the sciences it seems. Probably because he was raised in the Egyptian court. Yet he wants God to teach him wisdom! Job 14:5 may have taught Moses that God has limited or numbered man's days!

Moses, already a godly man, wants to learn better how to live a pure and holy life!

I believe it was the Puritan Pastor Richard Baxter who said that he tried to preach "as a dying man to a dying people!" That may be the spirit of this verse!

Mankind can and does number most of his possessions and investments and everything else too, but he seldom thinks of numbering his days!

Spurgeon suggests that numbering our days might include grieving over lost opportunities in the PAST, making every minute count for Jesus in the PRESENT and planning diligently to serve the Lord in whatever FUTURE He gives us!

I say, "Amen!"

                                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 12, VERSE 13:

The Psalmist pleads with God!

"Return, O LORD, how long? and let it repent thee concerning thy servants." Psalm 90:13

Using the imperative mood, which is standard in Old Testament prayer, he earnestly and fervently asks the Lord to temper His anger toward His people!

In fact, the wording here suggests that in the writer's mind God has faced another direction! He no longer has His Eyes on His people Israel! 

He has turned His Back to them!

"Shub," meaning "return" or "turn back," is asking God to restore fellowship with the sinful but repentant Nation.

Lord, lift up the light of Thy Countenance ... or Face ... upon Thy people again!

I counted 19 times that "how long" is asked in the Psalms! Sometimes the question is posed to men ... but often to the Lord Himself! Psalm 13:1 is typical: "How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me?"

The verb "repent" is "nacham" and means "to be sorry" or "to regret" or "to have compassion" on someone! It is today taught to be "an attitude of lowliness and sorrow over one's sins ... leading to a consequential and prayerful change of behavior!"

Not often in Scripture are the words "repent" and "Lord" used together!  And several of those few times we are told that ... "The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent."  This is bold praying on Moses' part!

The noun for "servants" is "ebed" and literally means slaves or bondmen. The man of God here gladly admits submissiveness to the Lord!

To me this verse could only have valid meaning if some type of acknowledgement of sin, Israel's sin, has already been admitted.

It has.

Back in verse eight Moses wrote: "Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance."

What powerful words these are before a Holy God!

"Lord, we have sinned!"

I hear much today that belittles repentance.

And of course one must realize that there are different ways of explaining this doctrine.

But ... at the bottom of it all ... must rest the foundational truth that sin, in order to be forgiven, must be acknowledged! And the resulting fruit of that forgiveness should be a forsaking of the wrongdoing!

Jesus best said it in Luke 13: "Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish!"

In reality, the New Testament's longest and most detailed paragraph concerning repentance is found in Paul's writings. Yes, in 2nd Corinthians chapter 7 Paul lists several traits of real repentance, of the right attitude toward sins! He calls such sorrow over sin "godly sorrow that worketh repentance!" Again I remind you, this is written to Christians!

The Believers here have repented ... and God subsequently turns from His judgment and discipline!

"Turn thou me, and I shall be turned; for thou art the LORD my God." Jeremiah 31:18

Here's how James put it: "Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you." James 4:8

What an intimate prayer! "Return, O LORD, how long? and let it repent thee concerning thy servants."

Amen! 

                                                                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 13, VERSE 14:

The Psalm takes a dramatic turn here!

The Old Testament at times can have such bright spots of grace and mercy!

This is one of them.

"O satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days." Psalm 90:14

Could Paul himself have worded it any better?

The opening verb "satisfy" means to be filled to the brim! To be sated!  To be full, nearly too full! Nearly overflowing!

Plus the fact that "saba" here is in the Piel stem, indicating intensive vigorous action!

The adverb "early" translates "boqer" and just means at daybreak! At dawn! First light!

And the key word here, "mercy," is truly one of the great words of Scripture. "Hesed" or "chesed" means kindness or lovingkindness or goodness or favour or even pity!

It has the root idea of Someone Big bending down to the level of someone little! That's what God did when He sent Jesus into this world 2,000 years ago, via the Virgin Birth!

"Hesed" is usually linked to some kind of covenant love too! Like a marriage relationship, a Bride/Bridegroom thing!

And it always in the Bible involves the Bigger showing grace to the lesser!

Moses the Lawgiver is begging God for grace!

And God has granted such ... abundantly so!

But then look at our verse again.

"O satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days."

It reveals to us the purpose of such manifested and bestowed mercy ... "that" ... a conjunction in Hebrew, implies some consequential benefits!

What does God's mercy produce?

"That we may rejoice!"

This verb, "ranan," means to shout or cry out loud ... almost always in a spirit of gladness!

God's Grace and Mercy should make us all shout!

And to "be glad" (in Hebrew = "samach") means "to brighten up!" To be cheerful or to make merry!  It is framed as an ongoing action verb, progressive habitual delight!

"All our days," this word string has been used earlier in Psalm 90:9. There the circumstances are dark and dreary, here bight and cheerful!

That's the way it is with God!

Things get brighter and brighter the further along we progress!

Remember ... "The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day." Proverbs 4:18

What a verse!

What a prayer!

What a God Who can answer such!

Glory to his Name!

                                                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 14, VERSE 15:

Psalm 90 is often quoted at funerals.

It focuses on death, inevitable death!

Yet near its end it bursts into a glorious paragraph of grace!

Listen as Moses prays to the Lord: "Make us glad according to the days wherein thou hast afflicted us, and the years wherein we have seen evil." Psalm 90:15

This is bold praying! It's the kind of intercession Hebrews 4:16 asks of us. "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."

The Israelites in Psalm 90 have been subjected to God's Hand of discipline. They have rebelled against and openly disobeyed the Lord. They, the whole generation of adults, were dying in the wilderness!  This part of their journey could nearly for them have been called a "death march."

God had truly "afflicted" them for their unbelief! This verb, "anah," means "to depress" or "to humble" or "to make to bow down!" But here it is a Piel verb, expressing intensive action!  The first time it's used in the Bible, Genesis 15:13, the oppression of the Egyptians upon their slaves the Israelites is in view!  God's people then were "afflicted" four hundred years! In Genesis 16:6 "anah" is translated "dealt hardly!"

To "see evil" is another way of expressing the hardship they have endured. But the day is coming, according to Zephaniah 3:15, when Israel will no longer "see evil" at all. "The LORD hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy: the king of Israel, even the LORD, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more."

The essence of this prayer is that ... God would send them as much gladness as He had sent them chastisement! That he would balance things for a bit!

Again, Moses asks ... "Make us glad according to the days wherein thou hast afflicted us, and the years wherein we have seen evil."

The verb "to make glad" is "samach" in Hebrew. Moses has already used it in the previous verse: "O satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days." It literally means "to brighten up" or to show glee and joy! Back in Exodus 4:14 (its first mention) Aaron was said to "be glad" when he saw Moses his brother again ... after an eighty year absence!

Lord, renew our acquaintance and fellowship and communion with Thee! Such unity will indeed make us glad!

To that we can all say a hearty "amen!"

                                                                                   --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 15, VERSE 16:

The Psalmist prayed to the Lord: "Let thy work appear unto thy servants, and thy glory unto their children." Psalm 90:16

Not much human work could have been done in the wilderness! That's right, for forty years Israel wandered in the desert, building no cities nor establishing any real farms either! 

The work of their hands was quite limited.

Yet even under those difficult circumstances, Someone's Work was obvious!

The Lord's!

The verb "appear" translates "raah" in Hebrew and means "to be seen," or even "to be inspected" or "to be considered!"

Although those last forty years in the wilderness were filled with harsh judgments upon sin, God still caused manna to fall every morning, allowed the Cloud of His Presence to be visible and even once caused the earth to open, swallowing some rebels alive!  Plus God made a dead tree limb blossom, brought water from a rock, protected his people from the curses of Balaam, and led multitudes of them to Canaan!

Look, Israel, God is at work on your behalf!

See it!

Even under chastisement ... Israel benefited from the mighty works of God!

That's the Grace of God!

May we today also see the Lord's Works!

They are indeed everywhere!

Then ... Moses beseeched God that His Glory would appear unto their children!

Glory, "hadar" in Hebrew, means splendor or majesty or comeliness or ornament!  It is the "excellency" of God!

But who needs to see God's vast awesomeness?

The "children!"

"Ben" means sons but at times in Scripture means daughters as well. Here it is obviously plural, whole generations are in view!

The adults are all dying ... the children will live for many years to come!

Let them see God's Glory and Majesty!

If the children do not see God in His Power and Strength and Eternal Life ... we will lose the next generation!

They will serve some other god than Jehovah!

Let each of us in these dark days of apostasy beg God: "Let thy work appear unto thy servants, and thy glory unto their children."

Isn't this lovely?

Moses, an elderly old man, burdened for the young folks!

Now lastly note this: Israel, adult Israel, may die and be buried in that dry and hot wilderness ... but with God, glory is coming!  There are brighter days ahead!

May the children experience such sweet days of refreshing!

Amen!

                                                                                   --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 16, VERSE 17:

Psalm 90 has a lot to say about the brevity of human life.

But it ends on a more glorious note for sure!

In its last verse Moses approaches the Lord with some lovely requests.

"And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it." Psalm 90:17

opening verb "let" expresses the meaning of "hayah" in Hebrew. Just as God said "Let there be light" in Genesis 1:3, so God can say "Let there be beauty" and it will fall upon his dear people!

The noun "beauty" is "noam" and also means that which is pleasant or delightful or kind or favorable! This expression is used three times in the Book of Psalms! In Psalm 27:4 the Lord has beauty! In Psalm 141:6 God's Words have beauty (sweetness)! And here in Psalm 90:17 God's people can have beauty!

Think of this. Even this generation that had sinned and failed God, doubting His ability to give them victory as they entered Canaan ... even they can ask for God's Beauty to be upon them! God disciplines in Grace!

And to "establish" means to make something or someone firm or stable or durable or secure! By "the work of their hands" Moses may have been indicating the Tabernacle built in the wilderness! Or the pieces of glorious furniture that adorned it! Or the garments of the priesthood! Or maybe the Scrolls of Law Moses had written at God's command.

If so, God sure answered Moses' prayer!

This is so important to Moses that he asks it twice ... in one verse!

See: "And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it."

The next to the last verse in our Psalm talks about God's Work! The last verse, man's work!

The work of our hands can out-live us!

So many of the Psalms, just like Psalm 90, start low and end high!

Start in the valley and come to rest on the mountain!

Begin in defeat and culminate in victory!

Lastly let me observe this.

The generation that sinned unto death ... is also the generation that begged for God's beauty to be upon them!

How is that so?

They had learned that the beauty of the Lord principally consists of His Holiness! Four times the Old Testament mentions the "beauty of holiness!"

Sin had brought such terrible consequences!

Holiness was the need of the hour!

Therein would be found the Beauty of the Lord God Almighty!

I dare say this whole generation had well learned their lesson!

May we do so too!

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

CONCLUSION:

The 90th Psalm may seem to be irrelevant to many today.

It is not.

Written in a time when God's people had sinned profusely and stood under His Mighty Hand of Discipline ... it was for them filled with nuggets of wisdom and godliness.

America, too, has sinned prodigally!

We are already ... and will be more and more so as time progresses ... under God's Hand of judgment too!

The lessons Israel had to learn are the same ones we will need to learn!

Get ready!

                                                                     --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

WHAT A GREAT PSALM!

 

 

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