It was pretty cool, and some of what was written by Moses long ago seemed very timely in my postmodern world. It's January 2nd, the birth of a new year. Endless possibilities for what is to come in 2013; still lots of time to set new goals, reflect and bring in to sharper focus my hopes and God's vision for the new year. My study Bible is a KJV/NIV split, and so I went to a favored Bible website and looked up a few other translations and versions. Then I thought I'd give some of the critiques and commentaries a glance - these tools can provide helpful background information and often provide greater insight and understanding.
And then I smiled at God. Most of the experts agree that this is a great passage to use ... at a funeral. Huh - not exactly what I was thinking. But then again, isn't that just how God works some times. Speaking to my heart, just what it needs to hear in the moment I need to hear it and in a way I can understand. So here goes - hang with me now. It's good stuff. After reading it about a dozen times, I can see the funeral tie in, but the following is what stood out to me the most:
Lord, you have been our help, generation after generation. Before the mountains were born, before you birthed the earth and the inhabited world—from forever in the past to forever in the future, you are God.
- What a great reminder - God has been God from forever until forever. It started with Him, it ends with Him, and He has faithfully been there for His people!
You return people to dust, saying, “Go back, humans,” because in your perspective a thousand years are like yesterday past, like a short period during the night watch. You sweep humans away like a dream, like grass that is renewed in the morning. True, in the morning it thrives, renewed, but come evening it withers, all dried up. Yes, we are wasting away because of your wrath; we are paralyzed with fear on account of your rage. You put our sins right in front of you, set our hidden faults in the light from your face. Yes, all our days slip away because of your fury; we finish up our years with a whimper. We live at best to be seventy years old, maybe eighty, if we’re strong. But their duration brings hard work and trouble because they go by so quickly. And then we fly off. Who can comprehend the power of your anger? The honor that is due you corresponds to your wrath.
- Ok - so God understands time from an eternal perspective and I have a very limited understanding. God controls time, and my number of days here on earth. From an eternal perspective my life is just a quick moment in the vastness of eternity. Everything I do is seen and will be judged by God, I can't hide anything (good or bad) from Him. I can't comprehend the extent of the judgement I deserve or the the vastness of His Lordship.
- This is it. Probably my favorite part of this Psalm. Help me to understand how limited my time is God, and give me the wisdom to spend my days doing what is honoring to you. With your discernment God, I want to know what is good and what is best. I want to live each day looking for what you have in store and not what is on my list. Don't let me miss the "regular moments" that hold deep within a sliver of eternal significance.
Come back to us, Lord! Please, quick! Have some compassion for your servants! Fill us full every morning with your faithful love so we can rejoice and celebrate our whole life long. Make us happy for the same amount of time that you afflicted us— for the same number of years that we saw only trouble. Let your acts be seen by your servants; let your glory be seen by their children. Let the kindness of the Lord our God be over us. Make the work of our hands last. Make the work of our hands last!
- Fill me every morning - yep I get it God. Starting my day with you gets my heart ready for what come next. Starting together helps me keep in step with you the rest of the day. It may not change the day, but it changes me and how we will do the day together.
- Make the work of my hands last - let what I do be the stuff that matters to you. My life is bigger, than laundry, loading the dishwasher, and lugging the kids around town. I can honor you in all things. Acts of love. Acts of kindness and mercy. Your physical hands and feet. Help me to shift out the fluff and invest better in the stuff that matters.