The Times They Are A Changin’, But One Remains The Same
Lord, thou hast been our dwelling-place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, and thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from eternity to eternity thou art God. Psalm 90:1-2, J.N. Darby’s Translation (JND)
Another year is almost history. As 2012 dawns, the world is as uncertain and dangerous as ever. Economic turmoil, political upheaval, warfare, and natural disasters will remain with us into the new year. At this season, when time is on many people’s minds, it is good to remember that there is a timeless Creator: an eternal being – that is to say, He never had a beginning and shall never have an ending. He always was loving, wise, gracious, and holy, and He will continue to exhibit these glorious attributes as ages pile upon ages (Ephesians 2:7.) As Psalm 90:2 expresses it: “even from eternity to eternity thou art God.”
The Sands Of Time
Moses was the human amanuensis that the Lord used to write the 90th Psalm. His bittersweet experience of shepherding God’s chosen nation, Israel, in the desert is described in this lovely prayer. Man’s frailty and transience is accentuated as Moses reflects on their disobedience and the divine judgment that it brought upon the generation that disbelieved the Almighty’s promises. Instead of prospering in the promised land, they were languishing in the wilderness until the last of that generation died off. How many funerals had he attended? How many grieving families did he console? He affirms that:
You carry them away like a flood; They are like a sleep. In the morning they are like grass which grows up: In the morning it flourishes and grows up; In the evening it is cut down and withers. For we have been consumed by Your anger, And by Your wrath we are terrified. You have set our iniquities before You, Our secret sins in the light of Your countenance. For all our days have passed away in Your wrath; We finish our years like a sigh (Psalms 90:5-9.)
Seventy year life spans were the norm; if one saw his eightieth birthday it was remarkable. Yet even the longest life-spans are tinged by sadness, regret, weakness, and – from the human perspective – seeming futility. In the midst of this tale of time’s ravages upon humanity, how good it is to know that there is mercy available from the Almighty.
One Whose Goings Forth Have Been Of Old
Just as Israel brought their calamity upon themselves by their personal rebellion against the Creator; likewise, we moderns have forged our own chains and created our own catastrophes on planet earth. It is common for skeptics to lay the blame upon God, but in our hearts we know that we do and say things that compound the misery. All the while, time ebbs away, speeding us on towards eternity.
Amazingly, the Creator Himself entered into time to liberate us from our hopeless fate (Micah 5:2.) The Son of God became a man that He might die on the cross for our sins; thus identifying with our fleeting lives. The eternal one was “cut off from the land of living” that He might reconcile us to God by removing the rebellious deeds and hearts that separated us from Him (Isaaiah 53:8.) He did nothing to contribute to the world’s ills, yet He suffered for them nonetheless.
Time To Reflect
Moses ends the psalm with a plea for divine mercy, asking the Lord to “…teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12.) This would be a helpful prayer for anyone to pray in the new year. For the unbeliever, it is a call to recognize the brevity of life and their need of a Savior for a blessed eternity. Time is short, so repent and receive Christ while there is still time (John 3:16.)
For the believer, it is no less important to remember that our days are numbered. We only have a certain amount of time to serve the Lord in this present scene. As the old poem expresses it: “Only one life, ‘twill soon be past/Only what’s done for Christ will last.” To see our lives count for eternity we must follow the Scriptural instruction: “…redeeming the time because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16.) Each day ought to be lived with the Master’s interests in view. We must ask, what does the Lord want me to do with my time? How much will I surf the net? What will I read, watch, or listen to? How will I grow in my relationship with the Lord, with His people, and equip myself for eternity? All of these things must be borne in mind as we face a new year. The eternal God will be the same in 2012, and wants us to know, enjoy, and serve Him.
Written by: Keith R. Keyser