Psalm 90 – The Prayer of Moses

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Dear Heavenly Father, thank you so much for today. Thank you. That we get to gather as your people, sing your praises and be reminded of your word, your truth. God, I pray that you would use me and that you would use your word to transform our hearts from the inside out and to know you more. God, thank you so much for your grace and your mercy. And in Jesus name, Amen. All right. Now, I thought. Today, the last summer in the psalm would be very appropriate to do the first Psalm. And I’m not talking about order in Scripture, but order in which it was written. The first psalm ever written in your Bible, in your Bibles is actually Psalm chapter 90, right? It is also written by the same person. Tyler kind of spoiled this, the same person who wrote Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus Numbers and Deuteronomy. And as you may know, the human author of those five books is Moses. And like the rest of the Psalms, as Nathaniel has been reminding us of of these past two months, is that they are responses by the author to who God is and what he has done in their lives. And we certainly see that in this Psalm today. And I would say that you would be incredibly hard pressed to find someone more qualified to write a psalm. Then Moses himself. He was a direct witness to some of the most incredible exercises of God’s power, who that ever existed.

Not only did he see God work in miraculous ways time and time again, but he had a unique relationship with God. Hey, Tyler, could you grab me the clicker? I’m sorry. I’m a mess. Nothing. Nathaniel came up to me and was like, You got everything you need, right? And I just messed up, All right? But you would be hard pressed to find someone more qualified to write a psalm than Moses. Some of the great things he has done. God chose Moses to redeem his people from slavery in Egypt. He chose him to be an instrument, to work his miracles through the ten plagues that brought Egypt and Pharaoh the the most powerful nation, the most powerful king at that time to his knees and humbled them. And be and parting of the Red Sea. The manna from heaven. Pillar of Fire, the burning bush. God chose Moses to lead his people, but not only to lead his people, but to be a mediator of the covenant that bound the people of God Israel to him at Mount Sinai. But maybe the most special thing about Moses wasn’t his unique in many callings and what he did for God, but the relationship that he had with God. Exodus 33 tells us that God spoke to Moses as a friend. Speaks to a friend. And in Psalm 90, we read his prayer to his Lord, his God, his deliverer, his friend, and his response to God after most of his life has passed.

Now, we don’t know exactly when Psalm 90 was written, but we are almost certain that it was written in the final third of Moses’s life wandering in the wilderness with Israel. So what is Moses’s response to God after all of the remarkable life that he’s lived? Well, Psalm chapter 90, verse one tells us how he begins his prayer. Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. What is the first thing out of his mouth? How does he address the Lord? What is he trying to remind God of who He is to Him, The Lord has been our dwelling place in all generations. Now I have a few questions. When I read that first one, who is he talking about? Right? He says our and he says generations. And it’s pretty easy to figure out who he’s talking about. He’s talking about the people of God. And the reason why I know that is that Moses has been chosen to be that mediator, to be that leader, leader between God and his people. And he would be well familiar with the stories of Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Joseph, who inherited the blessings and covenants of God that had brought him to this specific moment in time to lead their descendants. Moses, the one who recorded those down. And he is a part of that lineage and he is leading God’s people through the wilderness.

And I’m not 100% sure what that wilderness looked like. I mean, we have pictures of the Sinai wilderness today, and it looks pretty barren, not unlike some of the deserts that we have in Utah. And if you’ve ever been without water in those parts of Utah, you realize quick that it is a wilderness, right? The one thing I do know about the wilderness is that it’s not fit for dwelling, dwelling in. It’s not fit for habitation. And that’s where Moses is. And the next question that I would ask is, what does Moses mean by Dwelling place? See, we don’t usually use that phrase to dwell somewhere, but I’m sure you guys are familiar with the connotations of it. If I asked you, where do you dwell? You could give me an answer. Oh, I live over here. I live, you know, give me the address. But if I asked you a different question, like. Where’s home? You’d probably give me a different answer. Where’s home? And the reason why is even though they sound similar, they’re different because home is a much deeper concept than the idea of living somewhere. Because home has the idea of belonging to it. You can live somewhere, but you don’t belong there or belong to that place. But home is where you belong to. It’s not necessarily a place, right? The famous Elvis song Home is Where the Heart is.

It’s not necessarily a place, but home is where you can have rest, where you fit, where things make sense, where you’re meant to be, where you feel safe and taken care of. And what Moses is talking about when he says, Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. He is certainly not talking about a location, not about a place that they dwelled in space and time, but where the people of God’s home is who they belong to. Hebrews 1113 through 16 tells us this when talking about the people of God who had preceded Moses and he would be familiar with, such as Abel, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac and Jacob. Verse verses 13 and 16 of Hebrews 11 say this All these died in faith without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. But as it is, they desire a better country that is a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. What do the people of God belong to? The Promised Land. The law. No, they belong to God. God has always been their dwelling place. And whether that was Abraham and her or Joseph and Egypt or Jacob and Israel, the Israelites in the wilderness, it has been God who has given them shelter, who has looked after them and has given them refuge, for they are exiles and strangers in the world.

And I don’t have to make a strong case. I think I’ll just make this assumption that most of you guys know that we all have a strong desire innately in us as human beings to belong. To have a home. It’s one of the things that draws us to the grace and mercy of God. To be a part of his flock. To be a part of his kingdom. To be a part of his family. And Moses, I think, was not different. I believe the opening statement found in Psalm 90, verse one is not just something that he’s saying for Israel, but it is something that is deeply personal to him and something that he had to wrestle with and come to the understanding of maybe even before his time in the wilderness. Now, why do I say that? It’s because he more than most. Knew what it meant to be without a home. To not belong. He spent. Moses spent his whole life as an outsider. He you know, if you know the story, his family had to get rid of him because Pharaoh was coming to kill the baby boys and he was adopted into the royal family of Egypt. And would always be an outsider as a Hebrew in Pharaoh’s house and fleeing after he committed murder.

He fled and went to Midian and lived for 40 years as a shepherd to complete and with complete strangers. And then finally, at the end of his life, he is with his own people. But he’s wandering around in the wilderness and he does so for the remainder of his life, never having belonged to anywhere. Or any one other than the Lord. And the people of God belong. And what he says in Psalm 90, verse one, and how he addresses the Lord in the first things out of his mouth is, Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. The people of God belong to you, and you alone are their home. Thanks be and thanks be to Christ that we also are able to have a home with God, to dwell with Him, to be a part of his people. First, Peter, Chapter two nine through 11 tells us you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God. Once you had not received mercy. But now you have received mercy. Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires which wage war against your soul. As a believer, as a part of his chosen people, a part of the family.

God, this world is not our home. We don’t belong to the world. Why? Because we belong to Christ and Christ, says in John 15. Abide in me. Right. What he’s saying is abode in me, which literally means, you know, to home with or to make your home with me. To live in the new nature that you have received from Him. For the Lord is our dwelling place throughout all generations. And continuing in Psalm nine two through six, it says this before the mountains were born or you gave birth to the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, you are God. You turn mortals back into dust and say, Return you sons of mankind for a thousand years in your sight are like yesterday when it passes by or like a watch in the night. You have swept them away like a flood. They fall asleep in the morning. They are like grass that sprouts anew. In the morning it flourishes and sprouts anew. Toward evening it wilts and withers away. Verses two through six are an exaltation of the nature of God. As well as a vivid picture of what man’s position is before him. As Tyler said earlier, see, man is transient here today, gone tomorrow, like the grass that sprouts in the morning, green and bright and full of life and in the evening is wilted and withered. Wilted and withered. And how quickly life goes on.

There are there are times I know this may sound ridiculous to some of you, but there are times when I think, Am I really 30? Right. I know that’s not very old to some, but to others that’s ancient. But it seems like only yesterday that I was able to eat whatever I want, whether it was 100 pizza rolls or, you know, Taco Bell, just, you know, the whole menu all at once, and my pants still fit. And I didn’t get heartburn. And I was dreaming of driving my own car and had thoughts of immortality. And now I’m having to purposely exercise and know the word and I know the word portion control. And I’m once again going to doctors and dentists and Lowes without my parents. It’s weird and I’m falling quickly behind and all the trends and even the modern slang, no cap. Now, if you don’t know what that means, you can ask a teenager and I’m told and believe that life only gets faster and hurts more the older you get. And I believe it. And I know I’m still new to the old man thing, so take what I say with a grain of salt. But Moses, he’s been there. He is at least 80 years old when he writes this psalm and likely older. He is much more aware. Of the fragility of life and the transient nature of mankind than myself. And he tells us that our lives are like grass.

Of which Charles Spurgeon said once said, Here is the history of grass sown, grown, blown, mown gone. And the history of man is not much more natural. Decay would put an end to both of us and the grass in due time. Yet on the other hand, God is transcendent. We are transient. He is transcendent, meaning beyond and above our comprehension, for he is without beginning or end. He was and is and will always be. He created the universe before it was. He existed before the mountains rose from the ground and the earth took shape before the hills and forests and valleys were stretched under the sky. He was for he is the eternal God, infinite, totally beyond beyond our limited understanding as finite creatures. And not only is God infinite in all ways, he is authoritative. He is sovereign. He spoke all things into existence. Genesis one and breathed man into existence from the dust of the ground and with a word. As Psalm 90 says, he can make us return. Nothing can resist or deny his sovereignty, for he is the Lord of all things. He is not fragile, mortal or weak. He is the Almighty and all things exist because of him and for him, as Colossians tells us, he does not exist for us and because of us. And Moses is praising God in this exaltation of his nature as sovereign creator, in and in humility.

He understands who he is and who we are considering who God is. And he further elaborates on the character of God on who he is in the following verses. Psalm 97 through 11 says, For we have been consumed by your anger. We have been terrified by your wrath. You have placed our guilty deeds before you. Our hidden sins in the light of your presence for all our days have dwindled away in your fury. We have finished our years like a sigh. And as for the days of our life, they contain 70 years or due to strength, 80 years. Yet their pride is only trouble and tragedy, for it quickly passes and we disappear. Who understands the power of your anger and your fury? Fury according to the fear that is due you. Now, if we’re familiar with the story of the Israelites in the wilderness, you will understand what Moses is talking about when he says, For all our days have dwindled away in your fury, we have finished our years like a sigh. You see, the Israelites time and time again saw the wonders and great power of God. Witnesses of God coming on Mount Sinai. Yet. They still constantly fell short. They still constantly didn’t believe God. They worshipped a golden calf and through a very unsavoury party while doing it, they grumble and complain against Moses and God. They try to overthrow Moses by attempt of a coup, and they want to go back to slavery in Egypt instead of follow God.

And that’s just to name a few. And above all that, they reach the land that God himself had promised them. And they doubt. They doubt that they’re strong enough to take it. So they shrunk away. And here’s the problem with the Israelites. They thought way too much of themselves. And not nearly enough of God. They thought they had to provide for themselves and give themselves shelter instead of seeking shelter and refuge in God. And even after all that they witnessed. They still didn’t believe. And as Hebrews tells us, we don’t want to be like one of the Israelites in this wilderness. But understand what Moses is saying in this psalm of who God is. God chastises them for their unbelief, making them wander in the wilderness for 40 years until that entire generation passes away. The only two to enter into the Promised land. The two spies that were sent and said, We can do this. We can take it because God is on our side. Caleb and Joshua are the only ones who ever get to enter the land, not even Moses. And and he says this, Moses says, for we have been consumed by your anger and we have been terrified by your wrath. You have placed our guilty deeds before you, our hidden sins in the light of your presence.

Verses two through six. God is sovereign, eternal creator and verses seven through 11. God is a holy judge. He doesn’t allow sin to go unpunished. His wrath is on those who are guilty, whether those sins are in open or in secret. He wasn’t born yesterday. Right. That’s what you guys say when you realize that someone’s doing something that they shouldn’t of and you’re a little wiser and they think they can get away with it. I wasn’t born yesterday. Yesterday? Guess what? God wasn’t born yesterday. He knows. The Israelites. We’re foolish. Nothing escapes him. He will right every wrong. And that’s why verse 11 says, Fear is. Do you? And as Proverbs 910 tells us, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge of the holy One comes understanding. All right. Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. In the knowledge of the Holy One comes understanding why. Because if you think you are the judge or you should be the judge of what right and wrong is and take God’s place as judge, morality becomes moldable, expedient and often ad hoc rationalizations based on you and what you desire, it leads to foolishness. And the Israelites were foolish. They feared everything else more than they did God. They judged what was right apart from him and apart from his character and fearing the Lord is rightly acknowledging him as judge that he has the right to judge and that he will to fear the Lord.

You’re recognizing that there is such a thing as evil, such a thing as sin, wrong and right isn’t just based on people’s viewpoints or what they believe, but it is established by and on God’s nature, for through the knowledge of the Holy One comes understanding the understanding of righteousness only comes from knowing who God is for. He’s not like us who are here today and gone tomorrow sinful, pliable, transient and often misguided. He is eternal, steadfast and good. Moses knows this and he desperately wants God to make his people understand who God is and who they are in light of that. Psalm 90, going back and continuing on Psalm 9012 says this. Teach us to number our days that we may present to you a heart of wisdom. So teach us to number our days so that we may present to you a heart of wisdom. Now, I’m guessing. I’m just making an assumption here that most of us aren’t economic majors here. Maybe some of you are. But I’m sure that you guys are familiar with the principle of supply and demand. Right? What makes something valuable? Scarcity or if you want to get technical about it, perceived scarcity. But if you can think back with me, I am sure you guys remember the great toilet paper famine of 2020, right? You guys remember that? I tell you what, I never cherished toilet paper like I did in 2020, and I hope I never have to look at toilet paper the same way again.

So listen to what Moses is saying. Teach us, Lord, to value what you have given us. Life days knowing that it is him who has given them to us and that they are limited. Our days are scarce. We are like grass. And he, as the Creator, has given us a limited gift. We can either value and care for the hours of life that we have been given by trusting the Lord and acknowledging who he is. Or we can carelessly live in pride and folly. And it’s really important because Moses doesn’t end in Psalm 90, 2090 12. He goes on in 13 through 17 and says this do return, Lord, how long will it be and be sorry for your servants? Satisfy in the morning with your graciousness that we may sing for joy and rejoice all our days. Make us glad according to the days you have afflicted us and the years that we have seen evil. Let your work appear to your servants and Your Majesty to their children. May the kindness of the Lord, our God be upon us. And confirm for us the work of our hands. Yes. Confirm the work of our hands. Moses knows that they’ve been foolish, that they’ve sinned time and time again grievously before God. But what does he ask of God? To return to them.

To be merciful to them. For his grace to be upon them. For he knows the people of God have no other place to go. And he also knows. Who God is. That he alone is their dwelling place and he alone is the one who is able to satisfy them, whether it is in the wilderness or in Paradise. For God is sovereign, creator, holy just. But He is also merciful, gracious and loving. And Moses knows, then this, knows this and calls on God to be who He knows him to be in verses 13 through 17. And if you know the story of the wilderness, you will know that the Lord did not abandon His people there. In fact, he showed up every single day and gave them exactly what they needed. In the wilderness. You need food and water. And God gave them water and manna and they couldn’t keep it. Right. The manna would go bad. After a night except on the Sabbath. And. They were learning to depend on God. And for 40 years they did. And their children. Of the next generation got to see and know who the God who rescued them from Egypt was. By looking to him, depending on him. And he satisfied them in his faithfulness, in his grace. And the Lord answered everything in Moses’s prayer. He proved himself merciful, gracious and loving, even if Moses wasn’t around to see all of it.

His work, Moses’s work, as well as the work of the children of Israel, was not in vain, for the Lord confirmed his work with the entering of the Promised Land and ultimately the coming of Jesus Christ, who, like Moses, was sent to deliver his people, but not from Pharaoh in Egypt, but sin and death. And instead of giving the law, Christ fulfilled the law. Instead of giving a sacrificial system, He was the perfect sacrifice. He was a better mediator to a better covenant as a son and not a servant, as Hebrew Hebrews tells us. And unlike the law and those under the Old Covenant. We who are in Christ are no longer under any condemnation, as Romans eight one tells us. So. And as Romans three, 19 through 25 says. It declares to us that Christ has suffered the wrath of God so that we may be reconciled to him no longer under his fury. No longer afraid of him. As judge for Romans three, 19 through 25 tells us. If I can get this thing working. Hey, could I get the next slide, please? Thank you. Now, we know that whatever the law says, it speaks to those who are under the law so that every mouth may be closed and all the world become accountable to God, accountable to God as judge. Because by the works of the law, no flesh will be justified in his sight.

For through the law comes the knowledge of sin. But now, apart from the law, the righteousness of God has been made and been manifested being witnessed by the law and the prophets. Because. I’m sorry. Next verse. Okay. I think this is working now. Even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ, for all those who believe, for there is no distinction, for all, have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. Justified, meaning being declared righteous not because of what we have done, not because of the law, but what he has done, what Christ has done, and propitiation meaning the satisfaction of God’s wrath. You and I are sinners. We have fallen short of the glory of God and are deserving of our wage as sinners, accountable to God as judge. But God being rich in mercy promises salvation, eternal life with him by grace, through faith in Jesus Christ. And unlike the Israelites who were under the law, were treated and treated in accordance with the law, we are under a new covenant. The covenant of grace. Romans 614 tells us, for sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under the law, but under grace. In Romans 615 through six, right after it says, What then shall shall we sin? Because we are not under the law, but under grace.

May it never be. Do you not know that when you are when you present yourself to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey either of sin, resulting in death or of obedience resulting in righteousness. Listen, Jesus is the true Moses who delivered his people from the real enemy, the enemy that has been around since Genesis, Genesis, chapter three, and even to this day, sin and death. And he has called his people to follow him. To believe in him. To abide in him. And what we need to remember is we should not be like the Israelites with unbelieving hearts who desire to go back into slavery, the slavery that we were delivered from. Back into bondage. No more for Galatians five. One tells us it is for freedom’s sake. That Christ has set you free, both from the burden of the law and the power of sin. All right. Now. I want to close with one more passage. I know that I’ve been shotgunning a few passages with you, but one more passage written by the Apostle Peter, who references Psalm chapter 90 and summarizes in a beautiful way what we’ve been talking about. Reminding us exactly of who our God is and who He is to us as his people. And ultimately, that is what Psalm chapter 90 is about.

About who God is and who we are as his people. In first Peter, 17 through 25, says this. Thank you. Since you call on a father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold, that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down from you, from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times. For your sake. Through him, you believe in God who raised him from the dead and glorified him. And so your faith and hope are in God. Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply from the heart, for you have been born again, not of perishable seed like grass, but imperishable through the living, enduring word of God for all people. I’m sorry for all people. Uh, for all people are like grass. Verse 24, for all people are like grass and all their glory is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall. But the word of the Lord endures forever. And this is the word that was preached to you. Amen.