Faith on the Wrong Side of the Jordan
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,
that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. Psalm 90:14
Greetings to you, friend,
The beginning of a new year always makes us reflect on the passage of time. Our thoughts go in two different directions, in both chronology and attitude: We look backwards in time—with thanksgiving, or with regrets. We look forward in time—with high hopes, or with anxiety. If you find yourself vacillating between the two, take counsel from Moses.
Psalm 90 is “A Prayer of Moses, the Man of God”—the earliest of all the psalms, and a stark backdrop for its composition. Moses watches an entire generation perish in the wilderness because of their rebellion. And he, too, would die on the wrong side of the Jordan River.
Knowing all this, he leads us into the very presence of God who dwells in eternity. He is our anchor in life’s storms. From everlasting to everlasting, you are God (2). We certainly need that eternal perspective when Moses hits us head-on with the brevity of life: The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away (10). That’s a wake-up call to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom (12) to use them well.
Yet in the end, we don’t boast in our successes or despair over our failures, either past or future. We rejoice in God’s amazing grace! May the delight of the Lord our God rest on us (17). Did you catch that important little word? The Lord our God. If you are found in Christ through faith, the Father delights in you as he delights in his Son, our Lord Jesus (Gal. 4:4-7). His imputed righteousness is given and your sins forgiven because of his sacrifice on the cross. We will dwell forever with him in the New Creation (Isa. 65:17; 2 Cor. 5:17; Rev. 21:1).
But we aren’t there yet, and life is hard. So what about right here right now? Amazingly, the everlasting God decrees that our actions in this time-bound universe have eternal significance: Establish the work of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands. Notice the plural—our hands.
Those works that God establishes are especially those that God’s people accomplish together. “It has been worth facing the unwelcome facts of time, wrath, and death, to have been moved to such a prayer and such assurance.” May we so trust Christ and labor for him together this year, with strong confidence in his presence with us, whatever our circumstances.
Blessings to you, and Happy New Year!
1] Derek Kidner, Psalms 73-150 (Downers Grove: IVP, 1975), 331. He also prefers the stronger word “delight” (vs. 17) as above, rather than ESV’s “favor.”