Psalm 90 The Eternality of God: Lesson One

Welcome back!  I hope you enjoyed the introduction to this blog series!  Our focal passage for this series is Psalm 90.  I strongly encourage you to read it in its entirety several times and familiarize yourself with the passage.  Engaging the scripture yourself will serve to aid you in a deeper, long term understanding of the passage.  Plus your participation will help you get more out of each lesson.  

As we discussed yesterday, death is a sobering reality.  Thankfully, we serve a God who does not avoid the tough subjects but informs us in His word. He wounds us in order to heal us.  He rattles our chains to cause us to stand and give pause to what will inevitably come for us all.  

Let me give full disclosure to the fact that this is not a topic we would willingly search out to read about or study.  In fact, this is not a topic I would willingly search out to teach.   But, I promise I wasn’t having a bad day when I determined to write this lesson.  I chose it because as believers we need to be informed of the full counsel of scripture regardless of how difficult the subject.  Death, if viewed through the wrong lens, the lens of humanity, is morbid and depressing. But if viewed through the right lens, the lens of the Eternality of God, it brings joy and peace.  

Ironically, I have experienced more peace writing this lesson then any other lesson I can remember.  Not just peace about death but peace about life.  Beloved, it is GOOD for us to think about death.  It is humbling and scripture even says it is WISE for us to think about death.  In our focal passage, the Psalmist says, “Teach me to number my days that I may have a heart of wisdom.”  Let’s enter each lesson with minds that are sharp and hearts that are prepared to be informed about death from the TRUTH of the word of God!  

Before we begin our walk in the scriptures let’s get acquainted with the author, the setting and the original subjects.  It might say in the heading of your Bible that this is a Psalm of Moses.  This was a new discovery for me.  I knew that David and Asaph were regular authors of the Psalms but it never occurred to me that Moses was the author of anything past the Pentateuch.  

The setting for this Psalm is sometime in the 38 years of wilderness dwelling on the edge of Canaan.  This 38 years was purposed as a season of death while the 2nd generation waited for the first generation of Israelites to die. How sobering is this?  For two years, after the Exodus, the Israelites made their way from Egypt to the edge of the Jordan bordering the “PROMISED” Land and they get there only to fall back into a pattern of fear and unbelief.  

In Numbers 13, Moses sends 12 spies into the land to bring back word about Canaan. However, upon hearing about the number and size of the inhabitants, the people began complaining out of fear.  Disgruntled, unbelieving hearts sinfully railed against Moses and the Lord, “If only we had died in Egypt!  If only we had died here in the wilderness!  God, have you brought us into this land only for us to die?  
And so, God gave them what they wanted by cursing everyone over the age of 20, minus two, Joshua and Caleb, to die in the wilderness rather than enter the land.  This took 38 years!  38 continuous years of death.  Daily, scores of people died.  It is estimated that based on the sheer number of people that often hundreds of deaths took place each day.  

Do you think death was on their minds?  Do you think they were thinking about eternity and life after their DOD? Every.  Single.  Day.  How do you live as one of the ones over 20 (probably most of you reading this lesson) from one day to the next and not obsess over death?  I’m sure some of them did.  I’m sure every time they got a cough or felt a pain they began to panic.

They didn’t know when their time was up.  Just like us.  They knew they were going to die in the wilderness but God had not told them it was going to take 38 years.  The timeframe was hidden from them.  We know it, in hindsight, but they did not.  If you were 20 you could have assumed, “Ok, I’m not making it into the promised land. I know I am dying in the desert but it won’t be today.”  The sobering reality was that everyone who was 20 would be dead by the age of 58.  

So, they knew they were going to die AND to compound the anxiety of the situation, they were watching other people die.  People their own age, people younger, people older.  I think they had to quickly come to terms with death and what occurred after death in order to be able to face the time they had alive with some semblance of normalcy.  The truth is, we are really no different.  We know we are going to die and we are touched by death around us while we live.  Yet, our society and even the church has swept the subject of death under the rug.  We have sanitized death.  We don’t want to think about it.  We want to avoid it as if death is for another day, another time and not for now, not for us.  

And when we do think about it, we think about it from a perspective of fear.  We teach the gospel to our children, making sure they are saved from hell and then we go about our lives avoiding the thought of death until a diagnosis makes it unavoidable any longer.  And even at those times we often bury ourselves in the research for a cure rather than preparing ourselves for the fate that comes to all of us.  I firmly believe this is why we fear death, why we deem it as unpleasant and depressing, because we don’t think about it and when we do, we don’t think rightly about it.  

Which is why we are studying the eternality of God through the lens of the mortality of man.  Tomorrow we will begin our look into Psalm 90 verse by verse.  The following is the outline we for our lesson: 

V.1-2 God’s eternality: God is eternal
V. 3-6 Man’s mortality: Man is not
V. 7-10 Sin brings death: Why do we die?
V. 11-17 Moses’ plea: How do we live?

We will discover the truth about God’s eternality, man’s mortality, why death is imminent and how that affects our living the “dash”.  Beloved, let’s allow the Israelites experience to shape us.  By the truth of God’s word, we are informed and we are healed.  Take some time today to meditate on death.  Your death and the death of those around you.  What emotions surround your thoughts?  Do you have a theology on death or just an ideology?  Is it based on scripture?  Take these things to the Lord in prayer and ask that He show you, by His grace, the wisdom of numbering your days.