Daily Devotion – October 21, 2020 – Dr. Pat Taylor Ellison
Psalm 90:1-6, 13-17
90:1 Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations.
90:2 Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
90:3 You turn us back to dust, and say, “Turn back, you mortals.”
90:4 For a thousand years in your sight are like yesterday when it is past, or like a watch in the night.
90:5 You sweep them away; they are like a dream, like grass that is renewed in the morning;
90:6 in the morning it flourishes and is renewed; in the evening it fades and withers.
90:13 Turn, O LORD! How long? Have compassion on your servants!
90:14 Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, so that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
90:15 Make us glad as many days as you have afflicted us, and as many years as we have seen evil.
90:16 Let your work be manifest to your servants, and your glorious power to their children.
90:17 Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and prosper for us the work of our hands — O prosper the work of our hands!
The first 6 verses of this psalm are about how big God is and how small we are. The familiar sentence “from everlasting to everlasting you are God” comes from this psalm. The writer acknowledges that for God the entire life of a mortal seems like a speck of dust. So the passing troubles of a mortal must seem like a microscopic speck. God is big – very big. God has command of time and space, so God can sweep entire lives away, like a dream.
The second half of this passage is a plea. After acknowledging that human lives and especially the troubles in human lives are tiny in comparison to God, the writer asks God to be mindful of those tiny lives and the troubles they have. “Turn, O Lord! How long? Have compassion on your servants!” As if to say, like a child to a parent, Please. Please. Please. Pay attention to me. Please!
And what does this human want? To be satisfied so rejoicing may last forever. To be glad for as long as we have been afflicted. To see God’s work in front of our faces. To know the Lord’s favor. To have the Lord bless our work so it will prosper. These things may be quite a lot to plead for.
But this is a mortal being in a deep and abiding relationship with a God who is infinitely bigger and more powerful – something like an ant belonging to a human. But it is a relationship founded on deep trust and eternal commitment. The tiny creature knows the bigger, more powerful being loves and cares for him/her.
How big and powerful is our God? How close to us, relationally and even spatially? Is our great God, creator and ruler of the universe involved in the creation enough to pay attention to tiny creatures like us? To the point that our works might be prospered? I think so. And not only that, this powerful God does in fact show us God’s work in front of our faces, if we will only pay attention and look for it. How wonderful if we might join our work to God’s work right where we live today! It would make us glad.
Gracious God, Thank you for loving us. Thank you for letting us, your small creatures, see you at work. Thank you for prospering our work, too. And please, in these days of trials and fear, be there to give us gladness. If we look, we will find gladness in you. Amen.