Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Psalm 90, For Encouragement on Dreary Days

I've been discouraged every now and then for various reasons.
This week in particular, it has helped me to read Psalm 90 from its author's perspective---a man who knew many disappointments, a man who wasn't a particularly good leader, a man with public and private failures, a man with a dysfunctional family, a man whose "big event" in life was denied him.  In short, a man who could very easily have been discouraged.

He was also a man with many good character traits.  The first line in the psalm calls him "the man of God."

Psalm 90

A Prayer of Moses, the man of God.
 Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. 
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 man back into dust
And say, “Return, O children of men.”
For a thousand years in Your sight
Are like yesterday when it passes by,
Or as a watch in the night.
You have swept them away like a flood, they fall asleep;
In the morning they are like grass which sprouts anew.
In the morning it flourishes and sprouts anew;
Toward evening it fades and withers away.

 For we have been consumed by Your anger
And by Your wrath we have been dismayed.
You have placed our iniquities before You,
Our secret sins in the light of Your presence.
For all our days have declined in Your fury;
We have finished our years like a sigh.
As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years,
Or if due to strength, eighty years,
Yet their pride is but labor and sorrow;
For soon it is gone and we fly away.
Who understands the power of Your anger
And Your fury, according to the fear that is due You?
 So teach us to number our days, 
That we may present to You a heart of wisdom.

 Do return, O LORD; how long will it be?
And be sorry for Your servants.
O satisfy us in the morning with Your lovingkindness, 
That we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. 
Make us glad according to the days You have afflicted us,
And the years we have seen evil.
 Let Your work appear to Your servants 
And Your majesty to their children. 
Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us; 
And confirm for us the work of our hands; 
Yes, confirm the work of our hands.

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