20 November 2007

Psalm 90

"For a thousand years in your sight are like yesterday when it is past, or like a watch in the night. You sweep them away; they are like a dream, like grass that is renewed in the morning; in the morning it flourishes and is renewed; in the evening it fades and withers". (v.4-6)


In today's Bible passage we read that God's omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence mean that he is not bound by the parameters which govern our planet. Our creator God was there at the beginning and will be there at the end.

By comparison, the lives of human beings, who are made in the image of God, appear small, powerless and brief. The psalmist suggests we have all the permanency of grass or a puff of smoke - here today and gone tomorrow.

Those who are aware of this reality sometimes respond in two ways; one common response involves an 'eat, drink and be merry' approach to life (eg: Ecclesiastes 11:7-12:7): if life is short, then it is best enjoyed to the full and each day lived as if it was the last! The other response involves a recognition that life is fleeting and so time and energies ought to be focused on matters that have a legacy or an eternal perspective.

Despite the relative brevity of our lives (the writer of the psalm suggests that we should expect to live for 70 years), God still values us. Such was God's identification with human beings that God's son was born a 'man and dwelt among us'. Jesus was fully God, yet fully 'man' - someone who was subject to the planet's parameters during his earthly sojourn.

Moreover, there is no evidence that taking on human form thwarted Jesus' earthly mission to redeem us. On the contrary, being someone who experienced hunger, thirst, tiredness and sadness made Jesus identify with our weaknesses all the more and quicken the need to bring about our salvation.

We may appear small to God, but this does not mean we are insignificant in his eyes.

To Ponder

Can you think of someone who did not have a long life but used their time on this earth in a way that inspires you?

Size does not matter in God's eyes - the most important thing is to use what we have for God's glory. In the next few days, what can you use in your life for God's glory?

Bible notes author

Richard Reddie

Richard Reddie is an author and researcher, who for three years headed up the set all free project which marked the 2007 slave trade bicentenary. He also worked as an education policy officer for Race On The Agenda (ROTA), a social policy think-tank looking at issues affecting London's Black Minority Ethnic Community.