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What can we learn from the prayer of Moses in Psalm 90:9-12?

Psalm 90
A prayer of Moses the man of God.
9 All our days pass away under your wrath;
    we finish our years with a moan.
10 Our days may come to seventy years,
    or eighty, if our strength endures;
yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow,
    for they quickly pass, and we fly away.
11 If only we knew the power of your anger!
    Your wrath is as great as the fear that is your due.
12 Teach us to number our days,
    that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Clarify Share Report Asked January 27 2019 Mini Jack Gutknecht

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
None of us knows exactly when the end of life will be. Some people choose to continually put off thinking about God and eternity, or to postpone making sure that they are at peace with God, but Moses is warning against such delay in the verses cited in the question.

I would say that the chief "take-away" verse from this passage is Moses' admonition in Psalm 90:12 for each of us to be conscious of our mortality, and to make wise and maximum use of each day of the lifespan that God gives us. (As Paul also noted in 2 Corinthians 6:2, NOW (emphasis mine) is the day of salvation.)

Christians should be careful to stay close to God during their entire lifespans, and yet (due to the adverse events that can occur in this life) they can and should also look forward with anticipation and joy to eternity in God's presence. 

(As a side note, I have heard accounts of people who had reached the age of seventy or eighty (as mentioned in Psalm 90:10) who subsequently decided to neglect their health or refuse medical treatment, since (in their view) this psalm was saying that God intended for people to live only to those ages. However, even though seventy or eighty years of age might be regarded (even today, thousands of years later) as a full lifespan, I think that the misconception that God intended those ages to be an absolute limit on the length of human life is amply refuted by noting that Moses (the author of the psalm) lived to be 120.)

January 28 2019 0 responses Vote Up Share Report


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