So Little Time
By the time Moses wrote Psalm 90 he was evidently an old man and had come to realize how short his time on earth would be. The psalm begins with a meditation on the eternality of God: “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” (v. 2). Moses, then, contrasts the God who is from everlasting to everlasting with the transitory nature of humanity:
You turn men back to dust, saying, “Return to dust, O sons of men.”
For a thousand years in your sight
are but as yesterday when it is past,
or as a watch in the night.
You sweep them away as with a flood; they are like a dream,
like grass that is renewed in the morning:
in the morning it flourishes and is renewed;
in the evening it fades and withers. (Psalm 90:3-6)
Pessimistic or Hopeful?
At first glance, this may seem like a pessimistic and morbid way of viewing human life, but upon further analysis, it turns out to be a realistic and hopefulapproach. It is realistic because it is always better to know things as they are than to believe things as they seem. It is hopeful because it informs us that there is more to life than what we presently see. This perspective on time assures us that what we long for is more than a dream – this world is not all there is.
The key to this dilemma is found in the pivotal verse of the psalm: “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” (vs.12). Essentially, Moses says that, unless we come to understand life’s brevity and place proper value on the time we have (no matter how long or short it is) we will never gain a wise heart.
Lord, I pray, give me a heart of wisdom to see things life from your perspective.