Psalm 90 Commentary

Psalm 90 Commentary

The human author of the Book of Genesis is speaking. It is a prayer to the God who had revealed Himself as the IAM God at the Burning bush. Psalm 90 reflects on some foundational truths as presented in the Torah.

The Creator God exists before creation and after creation. He is from everlasting to everlasting. This is Israel’s God; the God of creation.

We have the universal call to return to the ground. We came from there. Probably the scripture is referring to the Body. That is the only component that came from the ground.

The universal call doesn’t come immediately. Individuals are allowed to live 70 years or 80 years.

But these are years full of trouble and sorrow. Moses is not impressed. He petitions the LORD for mercy. But he has also a message for mortals. If only they knew the wrath of God!

He knows exactly why humans are ordered to return to the ground: their iniquities. That isn’t the only punishment. Their days pass away under God’s wrath; they come to the finish line with a moan.

Mortals have responded with a strong desire to sustain life or prolong it beyond the limit. And in between mortals make every effort possible to create a world free of trouble and sorrow. But it all comes to nothing. We still retire in death with a moan. It is a rigidly defined law.

Moses, therefore, prays: “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Only this wisdom can help us appreciate the wrath of God; only this wisdom can help us understand the brevity of life; only this wisdom can help us understand why mortals return to the ground.

This psalm summarizes the Book of Genesis. God remains the dwelling place of mankind. Mortals cannot craft their own and have it their way. The immortal God retains control and subjects, everyone, to rigidly defined rules. Death is one of them. Pain and suffering are another. The LORD ordained it after the fall of man in Genesis chapter 3.

Knowing the wrath of God means having the fear of God. It speaks of godliness. Learning to number our days has nothing to do with arithmetic. Our attention is drawn to the brevity of life and the consequent appreciation of God’s rule.

Only the Creator God can help an individual see and appreciate these facts of creation. Then the individual can seek the LORD’s compassion. Instead of trouble and sorrow, the individual can pray for gladness of the heart.

The curses on humanity cannot be reversed by technology, drunkenness, money, power, authority, or sheer human determination. The LORD’s compassion comes first. Then the individual can experience the unfailing love in the morning; sing for joy; and be glad all their days.    

Then the saint can talk about working the ground, as originally ordered by the Creator God.

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Published by Joseph Malekani

Joseph Malekani is a born-again Christian with a strong PAOG/Baptist background. He is heavily involved in student ministry with ZAFES – an IFES movement with focus on student ministry in Zambia. He is married to Audrey and they have two lovely children.

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