We are mortal. God is eternal. The implications of this are huge. As Anselm says in his ontological proof for the existence of God: God is that-than-which-nothing-greater-can-be-thought-or-imagined. In other words, you cannot imagine anyone greater, bigger, holier, stronger, wiser, or longer-lasting than God. In one sense, thinking about the eternal nature of God is truly mind-boggling.
Because God is eternal, we are wise to look to Him for answers concerning this life and eternal life. We are mortal. God is eternal.
Psalm 90 instructs us. Here are seven truths from this tremendous Psalm, worded as prayers to God.
“From eternity to eternity, you are God.” God has always existed, He exists now, and He will always exist. He did not have a beginning, nor will He have an end. He is the high and exalted one, above all.
1 Lord, You have been our refuge in every generation. 2 Before the mountains were born, before You gave birth to the earth and the world, from eternity to eternity, You are God.
“To you, Lord, one thousand years seem like yesterday that passes by.” In our world of time, there is a huge difference between one day and a thousand years. But with His eternal nature, God is able to understand all of the events of a thousand years better than you can remember yesterday!
4 For in Your sight a thousand years are like yesterday that passes by, like a few hours of the night.
“We are terrified by Your wrath.” We deserve the wrath of God because of our unjust ways and our secret sins. This truth should give us holy fear and drive us to the foot of the cross where we find forgiveness and mercy in the death and resurrection of Jesus.
7 For we are consumed by Your anger; we are terrified by Your wrath. 8 You have set our unjust ways before You, our secret sins in the light of Your presence.
“Teach us to number our days.” The Bible tells us that an average lifespan in the time of the psalm writer was about 70 years, and that if a person was very strong during that time they might live 80 years. The Bible says that we are wise to number our days.
It is actually helpful and sobering to perform a math exercise to see what the number of your days left on earth might be. Now, truly each day is a gift from God and we should treat each day as such. This exercise should motive you to use each day for the purpose of glorifying God and living for His eternal purposes.
The math exercise is this. Subtract your age from the number 80. Then multiply that number by 365 to arrive at the approximate number of days you have left to walk the earth.
For example, if you are 50 years old, here is how it would work out. 80 – 50 = 30. And 30 x 365 = 10,950 days. The question is, how many of these days will you use wisely for the Lord? I hope the answer is all of them! Take them one day at a time.
12 Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts.
“Turn and have compassion on your servants.” Realizing that God is eternal and that we are mortal men and woman full of unjust ways and secret sins will cause us to appeal to God’s mercy and compassion. We deserve His wrath yet we appeal to His mercy and grace. Through the person of Jesus He offers us forgiveness, spiritual regeneration, and eternal life.
13 LORD—how long? Turn and have compassion on Your servants.
“Satisfy us in the morning with your faithful love.” The faithful love of the Lord is steady, steadfast, unending. His love satisfies us in new ways every morning. Each morning and each day is a gift from God. We should give shouts of joy to God and be glad for all of our days.
14 Satisfy us in the morning with Your faithful love so that we may shout with joy and be glad all our days.
“Oh Lord our God, let Your favor be upon us.” We needs God’s favor and His blessing upon us continually. Let us seek Him and depend on Him with all of our hearts. He gives us gifts, talents, intellect, emotions and skills. He establishes the work of our hands.
17 Let the favor of the Lord our God be on us; establish for us the work of our hands— establish the work of our hands!