Lent Devotional: Psalm 90:1-12
by Jonathan Haefs
*I am sorry that there was not a Lenten Devotional yesterday. I had an extended family emergency. Thank you for understanding.
Psalm 90:1-12 (click here)
Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. You return man to dust and say, “Return, O children of man!”
For we are brought to an end by your anger; by your wrath we are dismayed. You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.
Who considers the power of your anger, and your wrath according to the fear of you? So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. (Psalm 90:1-3, 7-8, and 11-12)
Have you ever tried to ponder eternity?
No beginning… no ending. Have you ever just tried to wrap your mind around such a thought? It such a massive concept that it hurts our minds as we try to stretch them to fit eternity into our thoughts. And, our headache only grows as we attempt to bring God into the picture! Have you ever really just sat and pondered the nature of the God who is from everlasting to everlasting?!
Not only does the Psalmist do this in Psalm 90, but to maximize his thoughts of God even more, to their greatest possible grandeur, he sets mankind alongside of God for comparison.
What emerges from this comparison and contrast is a void of hopelessness between the holy God and sinful man. The God who gives and sustains all life should simply return mankind to the dust from which he was taken, “For we are brought to an end by your anger; by your wrath we are dismayed. You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.”
What could possibly be the point of such ponderings? Such thoughts do nothing but make us tremble with fear! And they should! My heart races like crazy when I think a cop has caught me speeding… how much more fear should fill my heart when all my sins are laid bare before the God of the universe?! But is fear the point?
“Who considers the power of your anger, and your wrath according to the fear of you? So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.”
Fear is not the point, but a pointer to wisdom… to worship. Proverbs 9:10, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.” The fear of the LORD is seeing him rightly… for who he is… and such knowledge can only lead to fear and trembling! Every time someone in scripture encounters God their first reaction is fear and trembling. Fearing the Lord is evidence that you actually see him for who he is… and this is the beginning place for wisdom. This is the starting point for rightly relating to the Lord in worship.
The fear of the Lord is not meant to lead us to despair and death, but to hope and life… for now, we live in light of the knowledge of who God is! We no longer trust in ourselves, but we look to him as our only hope! He is the only one who can save us… and he has!
Through Jesus Christ, God has become our refuge from his righteous wrath! He poured out his wrath upon himself, as our substitute, so that we might have eternal life in him! This is grace… given to us for all eternity!
Have you ever tried to ponder grace?
It makes your head hurt more than trying to ponder eternity! Grace leads us to rightly fear the Lord… not in a manner that leads to despair and death but to hope and life… in a manner that leads to worship.
By grace, we see God for who he is and ourselves for who we are… AND we see what he has done in Christ! And, by grace, we fear him, reverence him, stand in awe and worship of him for all eternity… from everlasting to everlasting… for he is God!