September 06 2023
Today, Wednesday September 06
“Establish the Work of Our Hands”
“So teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Return, O LORD! How long? And have compassion on Your servants. Oh, satisfy us early with Your mercy, That we may rejoice and be glad all our days! Make us glad according to the days in which You have afflicted us, The years in which we have seen evil. Let Your work appear to Your servants, And Your glory to their children. 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.”
Moses, one of the world's greatest leaders and no doubt the most famous, often referred to himself as the “servant of God”. He is the best model of the servant leader in the Bible! Twice in these final verses he also refers to people of Israel as “Your servants”. A servant is someone who has no agenda of his own but lives to serve the will and wishes of his master and to please him. Moses learned to be a great servant in the school of “hard knocks” of life! He faced difficult challenges all through his 120 years of life! His prayer in Psalm 90 reflects what and how he learned, not only to survive the tough times of life, but also to thrive in them!
In verses 1-2, Moses knew that God was His eternal dwelling place. In verses 3-12, He teaches us that we need God’s wisdom to live one day at time. Now in these final verses (13-17), Moses assures us that our future is bright with God’s compassion and mercy, with God’s beauty and glory upon us!
Yes, life is a difficult school, and God disciplines us if we fail to learn our lessons and submit to His will, but there is more to the story. In spite of the "black border" around this psalm, the emphasis is on life and not death. The past and present experiences of life prepare us for the future, and all of life prepares us for eternity. This closing prayer emphasizes God's compassion and unfailing love, His desire to give us joy and satisfaction, even in the midst of life's troubles, and His ability to make life count for eternity. When Jesus Christ is your Savior and Lord, the future is your friend.
"Return" in verse 13 carries the idea of "turn again—turn from your anger and show us the light of your countenance" (Ex. 32:12). In verse 14, Moses may have been referring to the manna that fell each morning, six days a week, and met the physical needs of the people (Ex. 16:1-21). It was a picture of Jesus Christ, the bread of life. The manna sustained life for the Jewish people for nearly forty years, but Jesus gives life to the whole world for all eternity! When we begin the day with the Lord and feed on His Word (Deut. 8:3; Matt. 4:4), then we walk with Him throughout the day and enjoy His blessing. The nourishment of the Word enables us to be faithful pilgrims and successful learners.
There are compensations in life that we may not appreciate until we enter eternity. Moses prayed that God would give him and his people as much joy in the future as the sorrow they had experienced in the past. Paul may have had this in mind when he wrote Romans 8:18 and 2 Corinthians 1:5 and 4:16-18. God promises His children far more blessing than the burdens they carried! The glory to come far exceeds the suffering that we bear today. Moses lost his temper and could not enter Canaan (Num. 20:2-13), but he did get to the Promised Land with Jesus and share God's glory with Elijah and three of the disciples (Matt. 17:1-8).
Whatever the Lord doesn't compensate for here on earth will be compensated in heaven (1 Peter 5:10), and this includes our works for Him. At times, Moses must have felt that his work was futile, temporary, and not worth doing. Many times the people broke his heart and grieved his spirit. He sacrificed to serve them and they rarely appreciated him. But no work done for the Lord will ever go unrewarded, and those who do the will of God abide forever (1 John 2:17). Even a cup of cold water given in Jesus' name will receive its reward (Matt. 10:42; 25:31-46). The favor of the Lord does not desert us in our old age, in times of affliction, or when we come to die, and the blessings of our work and witness will go on. In verse 13, Moses addressed God as Jehovah, the God of the covenant who will never break His promises, and that is the God we love, worship, and serve.
Life is brief, so Moses prayed, "Teach us." Life is difficult, and he prayed, "Satisfy us." His work at times seemed futile, so he prayed, "Establish the work of our hands." God answered those prayers for Moses, and He will answer them for us. The future is your friend when Jesus is your Savior and Lord.