In our youth we tend to anticipate the future with a sense of certainty that only the naive can possess. As we mature into adulthood, we embrace the challenges before us with fresh eyes and ready energy, but with no experience and little understanding of what lies ahead. Mid-life comes faster upon us than we could ever have expected. The constant drone of responsibility and necessity drown out the earlier thrill of ambition and replace it with the burden of history and reality. As age advances, difficulties of daily living create new challenges, so that as experience, knowledge, and time combine to create wisdom, perspective toward life grows ever more reflective and spiritual. Such we notice in the words of Moses in the prayer recorded for our benefit as Psalm 90.
Perspective about life begins with the realization of just how much man needs God. He provides the place of safety most needed by every soul for all time (Psa. 90:1). While man remains limited, frail, and bound by time, God transcends all of these to provide everything man requires (Psa. 90:2). Indeed, man only gains perspective by contemplating his ultimate demise (Psa. 90:3), all the while remembering that while men pass through life, God’s existence stands above life itself (Psa. 90:4). Generations rise and fall, but God is there through them all (Psa. 90:5-6). Therefore, the perspective man most needs lies in his recognition that God, standing outside of time and above mankind, will also judge every man (Psa. 90:7) for all our sins, whether hidden or advertised (Psa. 90:8). Despite all man’s bluster, everything we do will be judged by God; therefore, we have nothing to boast of in this life but should humbly live realizing what awaits us in the end (Psa. 90:9). This changes how we see life immensely. Whatever time we have upon the earth, it is short and filled with responsibility (Psa. 90:10) because all that we do will be judged by God. Indeed, death itself should be a constant reminder of that reality (Psa. 90:11). This is why we should spend our days focusing on pleasing God and building that perspective in preparation for eternity (Psa. 90:12). However, along with this, God offers yet another layer to the perspective man should have toward life. God cares for man and wants to help (Psa. 90:13). What a comfort this should be for all of life! He will indeed judge us, but He offers His mercy in the meanwhile to give life joy and meaning (Psa. 90:14). In the difficulties we face upon this earth, which He allows, He also promises to be with us and aid us (Psa. 90:15-16). This final promise, this reality built upon God’s character, offers hope in life and beyond, for God loves to bless and longs to help. He will provide what we need to overcome adversity in life, address the challenges of the world, and prepare for the judgment as we enter eternity (Psa. 90:17).
This is a great God, and serving Him, we can also have a great life. When placed in the context of Moses’ own life and service, finally learning to serve at the age of eighty and getting to view Canaan, his life’s work, shortly before his death, the prayer he offers here can surely motivate us to build a future with God, share our heartaches with God, and thus prepare for an eternity with God.