WITH THE BEGINNING of a new year, humanly speaking, we are made to think about time. When we think about time, our thoughts center upon God and man. The 90th Psalm puts God and man in sharp contrast. God does not exist in the context of time, but in timeless eternity. He is "from everlasting to everlasting" (which is hard for us to grasp). Man, in sharp contrast, is a creature of time hemmed in by days, months, and years which will eventually end in death. A sinful, fallen being, his life is short and filled with hardships. Job well exclaimed, "Man that is born of woman is of few days, and full of trouble" (Job 14:1). The Psalmist said, Psalms 90:10, "The days of our years are threescore and ten [seventy years]: and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years [eighty years], yet is their strength [in their boast is only] labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away." 
How are we going to respond to our human predicament and situation in which we find ourselves? There are three basic ways in which we can respond. 
(1) We can become sour and embittered that this is our human lot (or, at the best, stoically endure it). We can despair of life and become cynical. The word "cynical" comes from a Greek word that indicates a dog, a canine, and consequently to be cynical is to be like a snarling dog. And that's about how some people look at life. 
(2) We can embrace what has been called the Epicurean philosophy--eat, drink, and be merry. Live for today. Cram all the worldly pleasure into your life that you can while you can. "You only live once," we are told. And so many people today, whether consciously or unconsciously, seem to have embraced this philosophy. But this is very, very foolish. A rich farmer thought this way in Luke 12:15-21 as he said to himself, "Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee; then whose shall those things be which thou has provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God." Paul warned about this philosophy in I Corinthians 15:32-34. 
(3) We can take heed to what the Psalmist said, "So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom" (Psalms 90:12). This was said after considering the frailty and brevity of human life in contrast with the Almighty God of eternity. In view of our mortality we need to become time conscious and "apply our hearts to wisdom." We are told the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10). Today is the day of salvation (II Corinthians 6:2). "It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27). Get right with God while we can (II Peter 3:9), and live right (Ephesians 5:15-17; Romans 13:11-14). In getting ready to die, and dying to self, we learn how to live (Romans 6; Galatians 2:20; Matthew 16:25). We are getting ready to live for eternity. 
Then with the Psalmist we can look to God and say, "LORD, thou hast been our dwelling place [refuge, hiding place] in all generations" (Psalms 90:1). Then what we do has a sense of permanency. With the Psalmist, who looked to Him who is "from everlasting to everlasting," we can pray, "And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it" (Psalms 90:17). Only one life will soon be past; only what's done for Christ will last. (VOL. 34, NO. 1, 1996)
to Index Page