TO CHEW ON: "And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us,
And establish the work of our hands for us;
Yes, establish the work of our hands." Psalm 90:17
Does it seem to you that Christmases are coming around faster than they ever did when you were a child, and birthdays, and anniversaries? I don't know what it is about getting older that makes time seem to fly. Perhaps it's the realization that it's running out. The top of the timer is only half full, one third full, one quarter full...
The theme of Psalm 90 is the brevity of life and the stewardship of time. What vivid pictures the writer, Moses, paints to show how short life is:
To God a thousand years are like yesterday (before you realize it, only a memory), and a watch in the night (a few hours on duty) - Psalm 90:4.
To us life is like a flash flood, a sleep when time passes without our awareness, grass that grows in the morning but by evening is cut down, as slight as a sigh - Psalm 90:5-6,9.
Other Bible passages add paintings to the "Life is Brief" gallery:
- "Our days on earth as as a shadow" - 1 Chronicles 29:15.
- "My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle" - Job 7:6.
- "My life span is gone, taken from me like a shepherd's tent; I have cut off my life like a weaver. He cuts me off from the loom" - Isaiah 38:12.
- "You have made my days as handbreadths" - Psalm 39:5.
- "He comes forth like a flower and fades away" - Job 14:2.
- "For what is your life? It is even a vapour that appears for a little time and then vanishes away" - James 4:14.
In the setting of such fragility and brevity, Moses' request seems almost brash: "...establish the work of our hands for us; Yes, establish the work of our hands."
[Establish = kun means to be firmly established, stable, secure, enduring, directed aright, fixed aright, steadfast.]
Isn't this what we all want—to do something significant, to leave something that endures past the span of our short lives?
Just over a month ago we celebrated the thirteenth anniversary of 9-11. I would suppose that the men who designed those twin towers thought they had left a multi-generational legacy in the massive structures. Yet they came down in mere hours. What everyone celebrated on the anniversary was not the memory of those buildings but the acts of heroism, self-sacrifice, and love performed by many who died that day and how they made a lasting difference to lives.
Our love for people, as it works itself out in a hundred different ways, is also the best legacy we can leave. It is an investment in never-dying souls. Let's concern ourselves with leaving such a legacy especially as it involves introducing those souls to Jesus, the giver of eternal life.
PRAYER: Dear God, Moses' prayer is my prayer today: 'Let the beauty of the Lord my God be upon me. And establish the work of my hands for me. Yes, establish the work of my hands. Amen.
MORE: a poem...