Psalm 90 | Limited Life, Unlimited God
Psalm 90 magnifies our need for God.
Moses describes God’s eternality, man’s frailty, and God’s just judgement of sin. (vs. 1-11)
Moses prays for wisdom, mercy, and grace to help our use of time on this earth (vs. 12-17)
#1 Teach us to number our days and apply our hearts to wisdom. (vs. 12)
An angel appears at a faculty meeting and tells the dean that in return for his unselfish and exemplary behavior, the Lord will reward him with his choice of infinite wealth, wisdom or beauty. Without hesitating, the dean selects infinite wisdom.
“Done!” says the angel, and disappears in a cloud of smoke and a bolt of lightning. Now, all heads turn toward the dean, who sits surrounded by a faint halo of light. At length, one of his colleagues whispers, “Say something.”
The dean looks at them and says, “I should have taken the money.”
#2 Give us mercy that we may rejoice and be glad. (vs. 13-15)
A mother once approached Napoleon seeking a pardon for her son. The emperor replied that the young man had committed a certain offense twice and justice demanded death.
“But I don’t ask for justice,” the mother explained. “I plead for mercy.”
“But your son does not deserve mercy,” Napoleon replied.
“Sir,” the woman cried, “it would not be mercy if he deserved it, and mercy is all I ask for.”
“Well, then,” the emperor said, “I will have mercy.” And he spared the woman’s son.
Luis Palau, “Experiencing God’s Forgiveness,” Multnomah Press, 1984
#3 Make Your grace evident in our lives and work. (vs. 16-17)
During a British conference on comparative religions, experts from around the world debated what, if any, belief was unique to the Christian faith. They began eliminating possibilities. Incarnation? Other religious had different versions of gods appearing in human form. Resurrection? Again, other religions had accounts of return from death. The debate went on for some time until C. S. Lewis wandered into the room. “What’s the rumpus about? He asked, and heard in reply that his colleagues were discussing Christianity’s unique contribution among world religions. Lewis responded, “Oh, that’s easy. It’s grace.”
After some discussion, the conferees had to agree. The notion of God’s love coming to us free of charge, no strings attached, seems to go against every instinct of humanity. The Buddhist eight-fold path, the Hindu doctrine of karma, the Jewish covenant, and Muslim code of law—each of these offers a way to earn approval. Only Christianity dares to make God’s love unconditional.
Phillip Yancey, What’s So Amazing About Grace, Zondervan, 1997, p. 45