(Our church had no services today in the building due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), so we watched the sermon online, as the church gathers in smaller venues throughout our area. Our pastor preached from Psalm 90. You may view or listen to that message here. This Life Over Coffee podcast is my sermon notes from our pastor’s message.)
You may want to read:
1 Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations.
2 Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting, you are God.
“God with us” is a theme throughout the Bible (Genesis 39:2). He walked with Adam (Genesis 1:27). He had Moses build a tabernacle in the wilderness (Exodus 25:8). Jesus “tabernacled” with us (John 1:14). The Spirit of God abides in us (1 Corinthians 3:16). And we’re heading to the eternal dwelling place, who is God (Revelation 21:3), which transcends this temporary home where we live in disposable tents (2 Corinthians 5:1).
The tension with most inhabitants of the earth is to overly-focus on their temporary home while expecting more and more of the blessings, entitlements, and benefits of living in the most prosperous time of the human race. Moses warns us in Psalm 90 that God is our dwelling place, and whatever we do enjoy in this life is temporal, cursed, and unsatisfying ultimately. The Coronavirus is merely one way for us to recalibrate our hearts to the Lord.
3 You return man to dust and say, “Return, O children of man!”
4 For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night.
5 You sweep them away as with a flood; they are like a dream, like grass that is renewed in the morning:
6 in the morning it flourishes and is renewed; in the evening, it fades and withers.
Our dwelling place is transient. This life disappears fast. A walk through any cemetery reminds you that our lives are nothing more than a “dash between two dates.” We’re here today and gone tomorrow, e.g., a thousand years is as one day, one watch, or swept away by a flood. It’s a dream that quickly passes or a fading flower that withers before the heat of the sun.
Every parent reminds us how quickly life passes when they walk another child down the aisle. We invoke “cliche-speak” when we say, “Life is short,” or “you can’t take it with you.” What Moses is reminding us is not new news, though there are times when it’s wise to ponder the brevity of life.
7 For we are brought to an end by your anger; by your wrath, we are dismayed.
8 You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.
9 For all our days pass away under your wrath; we bring our years to an end like a sigh.
Our dwelling place is cursed. Because of sin, evil, immorality, and oppressiveness, the Lord stands in opposition to human depravity. Coronavirus is only one outcome of a fallen world. Some people will overly focus on a person or nation, as though what they did is the primary cause of what is happening to us.
Though we want to understand the reason for Coronavirus and create protocols so we don’t repeat this tragedy, the more significant point to ponder is that we’re under a curse. Coronavirus is a sign of brokenness. Our first course of action should be repentance. We live in a cursed world, and we need God’s intervening power and grace every moment of our fallen lives.
10 The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away.
11 Who considers the power of your anger, and your wrath according to the fear of you?
Our transient and cursed dwelling place is difficult. Our days are full of trouble and difficulty. The Lord does not “hide the ball” when it comes to suffering and persecution. Pain and oppression are real, and the Lord is clear about the result of our fallenness. Self-sufficiency and entitlement do not insulate anyone from the curse, and screaming louder will not bring resolution.
Prosperous people need a sound, practical, and wise theology of suffering. Prosperity and personal preferences are perks of good times, but pain and persecution never take a holiday. Nobody can insulate themselves from the cursedness of this world, and the humblest thing to do is acknowledge reality while begging the Lord for mercy.
In light of our transient, cursed, and difficult earthly dwelling, it’s vital to learn and apply a few things from the teaching of Moses. Here are three of those things that our pastor brought to light.
12 So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.
Ask the Lord to teach you to number your days. “Oh, Lord, I want to sit in your school, so I know that I have limited days, but more than that, I want to prioritize them to use them for your fame and the good for humanity.” We need wisdom from the Lord to prioritize our lives to do more than make money and build kingdoms in this transient life.
There have been many excellent examples of this in recent days. Some companies are setting aside the “opportunities of materialism and capitalism” for the sake of saving lives. The decisions we make during crises reveal what is most significant to us. “Lord, will you use this time to draw my heart from the things of this world and teach me the wisdom of living for your fame.”
13 Return, O Lord! How long? Have pity on your servants!
14 Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
15 Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, and for as many years as we have seen evil.
You want the Lord to give you a love that satisfies. Is it possible to be glad while living in a cursed world? Moses is asking the Lord to satisfy us in the morning with the love of God, which leads to all-day-long joy. Think about this: when your first response in the morning is for the Lord’s satisfaction, you are positioning yourself for a day of hope in the Lord, which will impact your spheres righteously.
The overflow of your love for God should be contagious. The love of God stabilizes you during times of crisis. Early in the morning, God enables you to reach out all day with wisdom and care that is redemptive and practically helpful to others. Christians have access to a power that not only satisfies them but spreads to all those within their spheres.
16 Let your work be shown to your servants, and your glorious power to their children.
17 Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!
You want the Lord to give you multiplying work. The word “favor” here is the overflow of the kindness of God, through Christ, that is on you. In light of this favor, you can take the mundane things that you do daily and establish those works in the lives of others.
The double use of the word “establish” in verse seventeen is in contrast to all the transient things that you see in your fallen world. The Christian life is counter to how the culture lives. We are different, and we “spread” a different kind of response to those around us. The way you respond to others will live on, not just in this transient dwelling place, but you can affect eternity, too.
Coronavirus is real, and its impact is measurable. But God’s Word has an answer that abates our fears, reduces our anxieties, and impacts our culture with practical gospel initiatives and applications. Here are two straightforward application questions that you can take from the message of Moses.