Psalms 90

Dr. Steve Viars September 18, 1993 Psalms 90:

- this morning we're going to be studying Psalm 90
- last week we looked at a very important Psalm with a very
   interesting message
- let's see if you remember some of the key ideas:

  1) who wrote Psalm 73?  (Asaph)

  2) who was he? (the Pastor Lopez of Israel's worship)

  3) what problem/question/concern did Asaph raise in that
     Psalm? (why the wicked prosper and the righteous suffer)

  4) what "sin" was Asaph guilty of by taking that line of
      thinking/reasoning?  (envy//jealousy)

- now I think all of us would agree that Psalm 73 addressed
   an issue that every one of us struggles with--and that
   every one of us needs answers to.

- Psalm 90 is very similar to Psalm 73 in that way.
- in this Psalm, Moses is writing about the topic of death.
- you remember a few weeks ago we said that the Psalms
    really address the critical issues of life -- we've seen
    that over and over and we're seeing it again today.

- let's take a minute and do some brainstorming in order to
   get our minds thinking about this subject.
- INPUT - what are some fears associated with the end of

      (especially go after the one -- "I blew it" - "I've
        wasted the years God gave me.")

- before we study the Psalm itself, let me just point out
   that Moses was preeminently qualified to talk about this
   subject.  I say that for several reasons:

  1) He was facing his own death.  Most Bible students
     believe this Psalm was written just prior to Moses'
     death at the end of the book of Deuteronomy.  So here's
     an opportunity to see what a spiritual man is thinking
     about during his final days of life.

  2) He had witnessed tens of thousands of deaths in the last
     forty years.  Remember, the children of Israel wandered
     in the wilderness forty years because their disobedience
     in obeying God's command to take the promised land.
     (cf. Numbers 14: 20-34 - READ)

  3) Moses had the privilege of speaking to God personally.
     (cf. Deut. 34:10-12 - READ) As a result, his
     relationship with the Lord was strong, and his knowledge
     of the Lord was great (cf. Deut. 33:26-29)

- with that in mind, let's begin reading this Psalm.
- read Psalm 90:1-6
- we'd like to summarize these verses with the point:

I. Man Needs God Because of Life's Brevity

    - INPUT - what are some examples of how the average
       person is not convinced about the brevity of life?

    - these verses are given to convince of that truth, and
      to tell us why the Lord is the only appropriate place
      to turn for how to handle the brief life we have.

    A. Why the Lord is the appropriate place to turn

        - INPUT - what reason do you see from verse 1?

        1. God is the "home of the believer."

            - INPUT - What passage that we've already read
                this morning does this verse sound like?
                (Deut.  33:26-29)

            - it's interesting that Moses would be making
              this comment.  Remember, they were wanderers--
              they had no homes.  Yet their personal
              relationship with God provided shelter and

    - INPUT - what reason do you see from verse 2?

        2. God is eternal

           - If anyone has answers to the matter of death,
             and the brevity of life--it's the eternal God.

   - INPUT - what is the reason you see from verse 4?

        3. God is not affected by time?

           - even the person that lived the longest in
             recorded human history, Methuselah (969 years)
             --that’s like "the passing of a day", or the
                passing of a "watch at night."

- see, the question is - are you and I going to turn to the
   appropriate place to learn to handle death, the brevity of
   life, and the present implications of these truths?

  - INPUT - what are some wrong places many turn as a means
      of handling the subject of death?

- in addition to stressing how the Lord is the appropriate
   place to turn to learn to handle the subject of death,
   these verses also try to get us to concentrate on just how
   brief man's life is.

    B. Why man needs to turn somewhere

        - what words/phrases do you see in the first six
          verses that emphasize the brevity of man?

          (v. 5 - like a flood--swept away as if it were
             never there, like a sleep, like grass)
- the point so far is--Moses wants us, regardless of how old
    we are, to think about the brevity of life...
     - and then to think about where we're going to turn to
         learn to handle that fact.

- in verses 7-11, Moses moves into explaining why life is so
    brief.  These verses become especially meaningful if you
    think about the context.
      - all of the Israelites might have been tempted to be
         very bitter against God.  (because of all the deaths
         they had witnessed)
      - they, like Asaph last week, might have been tempted
         to shout, "God's not fair!"
      - Moses "cuts that off at the pass" by clearly stating
         the reason for death.

- read 90:7-11

II. An Explanation Of Life's Brevity

    - INPUT - how would you summarize the reason Moses gives
        for life's brevity?  (it's because of our sin)

    - We said earlier that this Psalm is similar to Psalm 73
      in that it addresses a very important and relevant
        - but the other side of that is--there's some real
          differences between the way Asaph approached his
          topic and the way Moses is approaching his.

- INPUT - how would you characterize the differences? (what
   words/phrases would you use to describe Moses' approach?)
    - Moses is evidencing a "seasoned" understanding of God
    - reverence
    - truthful (contrasted to Asaph's half-truths and
    - able to face hard facts without wining//blaming them on
        someone else

- remember, Asaph had to ask forgiveness for his approach to
   his topic--Moses won't have to do that
     - even a man who's facing death, knowing he will not be
       able to lead the children of Israel into the promised
        - is not going to die a bitter man
        - he's not going to die having a "pity party"
        - he's not going to try to "sway the sympathy to his
        - Moses knows why he's going to die and he knows why
           everyone else is going to have to die

           - because of sin.
           - sin has a terrible price.

- of course, what we're reading here is the exact opposite of
   what Satan communicated to Eve in the Garden of Eden.
- his message was:
   - God isn't fair (hath God said...)
   - there won't be a price for sin (you won't surely die...)


- Satan is a liar--and he would be delighted to see you and I
   face the issues of life and death with his lies on our
   "hearts and minds."

- the fact that he's a liar is born out graphically in Gen.
      (develop, so and so lived so many years, and he
         died...and he died.....and he died)

- Moses his showing his spiritual maturity by facing what
   some have referred to as "the terror of men" (death) with
   truth and faithfulness.

- Moses also had some specific desires for the way this Psalm
   would impact his listeners.
     - Undoubtedly, he was thinking especially of the
       "younger generation" -- those who were under "twenty"
        at the time the decision was made not to enter the
        promised land the first time.

III. Petitions Prompted By The Brevity of Life

  - READ 12-17

    A. For the wise use of time - v. 12

        "teach us to number our days, so we might apply our
          hearts to wisdom."

       - INPUT - what is the opposite of "having learned to
           number our days?"

       - INPUT - do you think this is a problem?
          - take for example, the fact that Ron Blue claims
            that at age 65:
              45% of Americans are dependent on relatives
              30% are dependent on charity
              23% are still working
              2% are financially independent

            - which means, financially speaking, we're not,
              at least as a country, convinced about the
              brevity of life.
            - if that’s true financially, think how much more
                true that is spiritually.

- INPUT - what is the characteristic Moses says will be
          present if a person is "numbering his/her days?"
          (they will be applying their hearts to wisdom)

- INPUT - what might that look like today?

  - cf. Doc Smith's illus. of following protocol

    B. For renewed fellowship with God - v. 13

        - the great truth is that even though every one of us
          faces death because of sin, God has provided an
          answer for death through the sacrifice of his Son.

        - that means that the believer need not fear death (I
           Cor. 15:54-57), and that the believer can enjoy
           fellowship with God now as a result.

        - and a person who is convinced of the brevity of
          life will view fellowship with God as a great
          privilege and make it a top priority.

    C. For rejoicing in the mercy of God - 14, 15

        - Moses also prays for joy to come as a result of
           "living in light of eternity."

        - the irony of all this is--the pursuit of things
          that supposedly will bring pleasure is often what
          hinders us from numbering our days (and living in
          light of the implications we've been discussing)
            - but choosing to live in line with these verses
               is what actually brings joy.
            - if you know these things, happy are ye if you
                do them.  - John 13:17

    D. For the visible operation of God - 16

        - people who realize the brevity of life watch
          carefully for the way the Lord is working today.
        - Their motto is, "life is short, I don't want to miss
            what God may be doing today."

        - they also want that to be true of their children.
           (cf. 2nd half of the verse)

        - we're talking about living for a cause, and raising
           children who want to live for a cause as well.

            - cf. what's happening with teens today who
               aren't living for a cause.

        - (take time here to thank the Lord for youth
            workers, SS teachers, clubs, etc. who assist us
            in training our children to have eternal values)

    E. For the favor of the Lord - 17a

    F. For the works that last - 17b

        - II Tim. 4:7-8

Dr. Steve Viars


Senior Pastor - Faith Church

Director - Faith Legacy Foundation


B.S.: Pre-Seminary & Bible, Baptist Bible College (Now Clarks Summit University)
M.Div.: Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min.: Biblical Counseling, Westminster Theological Seminary

Dr. Steve Viars has served at Faith Church in Lafayette, IN since 1987. Pastor Viars leads and equips Faith Church as Senior Pastor with a focus on preaching and teaching God’s Word and using his organizational skills in guiding the implementation of the Faith Church mission and vision. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith Church ministries. Dr. Viars serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation. Steve is the author, co-author, or contributor to six books and numerous booklets. He and his wife, Kris, were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and three grandchildren.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video