This is one of my favorite psalms; I have several favorites – Psalm 1, Psalm 40, Psalm 84, and others; but among my favorites also is Psalm 90; I read 2-3 Psalms every morning as a part of my morning Bible readings. Whenever I see that I have come to Psalm 90 again, my heart warms and I look forward to it.
The author is Moses, and it is a prayer, a prayer about man’s smallness and temporalness, and the shortness of our life and years. Perhaps my favorite part of the psalm is vss. 12-17 at the end of the psalm.
What specific requests does Moses make here?
1. TEACH US (vs 12) – “teach us to number our days, in order that we may gain a heart of wisdom”. Who doesn’t need that? Teach me, O God, all your ways; I need to be taught by God Himself. Even Moses himself was teachable, and cried out to God to be taught. Are we beyond this, even when life is fleeting by, and we are heading into our later years? We all need to be “taught” continually by the Holy Spirit, and one of the utmost things to be taught is to “number our days”, in order to gain a wise heart.
2. SATISFY US (vs 14) – Our hearts need and want satisfaction continually. That is why this world is continually in pursuit of vacations, fun, entertainment, and holiday get-a-ways to some remote beautiful destination; this is why people love to travel to new places they’ve never seen, and want to experience new things for the first time. Satisfaction–the heart needs it and longs for it. Here Moses prays that GOD would satisfy him; why? because only God can truly and permanently satisfy a person’s heart, soul, and spirit. Man cannot be satisfied by anything except by the One who made him. “Satisfy us early with your mercy.” When Christ Himself satisfies our hearts and lives, and we find true contentment in Him, then a dungeon or a jail cell can be like a palace to us. When Christ satisfies us, nothing else has to; but when Christ is not our satisfaction, nothing else will permanently satisfy.
3. MAKE US GLAD (vs 15) – Gladness? Yes, gladness of heart; Make me a truly happy man, happy in You, Lord; no one likes or is attracted to a gloomy, sad Christian. There is no beauty or attraction in such Christianity; yes, there are times of sadness, sorrow, and trials, but we normally should radiate the joy, pleasure, and gladness of spirit that emanates from Christ Himself. Even suffering Christians often do this in spite of their hardships. Why would Moses pray, “make us glad” unless it were a valid and godly request?
4. LET YOUR WORK APPEAR (vs 16) – God showing us progressively His purposes, will, and His kingdom work is all that ultimately matters in this life; all else is temporal and passing. “The world is passing away, and its lust, but he who does the will of God abides forever.” (1 John 2:17) Can you pray, “Show us, show me, Your work, O Lord; show me continually all you want of me and all you have for me.”
5. LET THE BEAUTY OF THE LORD BE UPON US (vs 17) – God’s beauty and glory being upon our lives; what a thing to pray. It was upon Moses and is the desire of every true believer. Let it be upon me, Lord.
6. ESTABLISH THE WORK OF OUR HANDS (vs 17) – Each of us have a specific work, calling, and purpose that only we can fulfill; no one can live our life for us; we cannot be anyone else or do the work of another person; trying to be like others is always frustrating and failure; let us be ourselves and serve our own generation by personally, from the heart, do the will of God for us; He has a work for our own hands to fulfill that no one else can do. “Establish, Lord, the work of my hands.”
May God hear our cries for such reality as He did Moses; A greater than Moses is here–and He lives within every believer to fulfill each of these realities in our hearts as we cry out to him with such praying.
– Mack Tomlinson