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Sermon Overview & Prayer: "Passing Years, Abiding Hope"

Psalm 90 – PRAYING THE SERMON

These excerpts from Psalm 90 and Josh Blount’s sermon, as well as these written prayers are intended to fuel your meditation on this psalm and your enjoyment of God in prayer.

Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. You return man to dust and say, “Return, O children of man!” For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night. (Psalm 90:1-4)

What should the passing years teach us? To find in God what cannot be found in this life!
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I admit that the passing years, the brevity of life, and the certainty of returning to dust are not frequent or comfortable considerations for me – but should be. Thank you for lifting my gaze, and stirring me to consider these realities – not with anxious fear and uncertainty – but with gratefulness and hope because of the glorious work of the gospel.

Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. (Psalm 90.2)

That’s the point of the psalm, and that’s where ultimately, we’re going to end. Our God – the God who is our dwelling place – is everlasting.
Prayer: Lord God, my finite mind and woefully weak grasp of eternity, leave me humbled and in awe of the fact that from everlasting to everlasting, you are! You always have been, you always are, and you always will be! When I am tempted to cling to, or to dread, something in the present, remind me that in Christ, regardless of the present, I am secure for all eternity!

You return man to dust and say, “Return, O children of man!” For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night. (Psalm 90.3-4)

In a poetic way, Moses is capturing the sum total of our passing years. We are born. We live. We die. Here’s the label we should put over all of it: return to dust! And it is God who says that. It is a divine decree, it is a sovereign word of God – dust you are, and to dust you shall return! If “return to dust” destroys the foundations of your hopes and dreams, you need more solid hopes and dreams.
Prayer: Father, guide me to live my life on a path of righteousness for your name’s sake. Holy Spirit, please prompt me to redeem the time, and to do all for the glory of God. Open my eyes to savor the precious gift, and the myriad blessings of life – even in a fallen world. Please help me to enjoy these blessings, but not cling to them. May I hold all the blessings of this life in an open hand, anticipating the ultimate blessings of eternity with you!

We still live in this world, a world that most emphatically is under the wrath of God. We make our temporary home, our years and days and morning and evenings, pass in a world and way of life cursed by God for all the sons of Adam. Not denying the gospel – this is describing our “location” in a sinful world.

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. (Psalm 90.12)
Prayer: Lord, the reality of death reminds us of your perfect righteousness and holy judgment against sin. It also reminds us, that for the believer in Christ, this is not our home. Death is a gateway to the eternal glory secured by the cross.
So, once again we ask, please give us hearts of wisdom to live life that draws us to you. And, please help us to number our days in a way that alerts us to those around us who are indifferent to eternity, or afraid of eternity, or scoff at eternity. May the message of this Psalm help to inform our conversations with the lost.
Father, as we look ahead, we declare, you are our future. With faith in you, and thankfulness for your greatness and glory, please hear these our prayers:

Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. (Ps 90.14)

Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, and for as many years as we have seen evil (Ps. 90.15)

Let your work be shown to your servants, and your glorious power to their children. (Ps. 90.16)

Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands! (Ps. 90.17)

The one factor that can actually transform our passing years is the presence of the Lord. Presence, and joy, and permanence and a future are now ours forevermore...because on the third day the Lord Jesus Christ rose from the grave. A new morning dawned that was not shadowed by toil and trouble and evil. A resurrection morning. And this, is our future.
Prayer: Where, O death, is thy victory? Where O Death, is thy sting? Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory – who gives us a future resurrection – through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

OVERVIEW OF THE SERMON:
In Psalm 90, Moses tells us that we are to find in God what we could never find in this life, and he explains this through a meditation upon time in four stanzas. Moses begins by expressing that our God is everlasting; time is the work of God’s hand, and this personal God is our dwelling place. Moses transitions to the idea that our times are passing, as seen in the divine decree that all of the human race and all human accomplishment and achievement is to return to dust. Next, Moses describes that our passing of time is judgement, and we still live under the wrath of God in our bodily experience of time. Lastly, Moses tells us that our future is in God. In that future we have God’s presence, resultant joy, and the assurance that these things will be permanent.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:  

  1. In the first two verses, Moses expounds on God’s eternality. How does this attribute of God affect how you view God and the passing of time in your own life?
  2. The next section (verses 3-6) focuses on the finite nature of man’s days. Josh explained that having a right understanding of the passing of time is like a “ballast” for our souls. In what ways have you seen this truth be helpful in your own life, and how can this be helpful in the future?
  3. Josh encouraged those feeling the weight of time as they drudge through the valley, “It’s not a lack of faith to say the darkness is dark . . . Keep waiting, dawn is rising and joy will come”. What toil and trouble (verse 10) are you experiencing? How can this Psalm strengthen you through tribulation?
  4. Moses ends by reminding us that our future is in God. We can be rest assured that in the future we will have God’s eternal presence and resulting joy. How does this reality make you anticipate Christ’s return?