A Psalm 90 New Year's Meditation

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One of my private rituals has to do with Psalm 90 and the changing of each year.  In the church that I serve, I begin the first worship service of a new year by reading its opening lines and the last service of the year by reading its closing lines.  This morning - New Year's Day, 2015 - I began the year as I long have done, by reading and praying through the 90th Psalm, a prayer of Moses, the Man of God.  I offer this four-point meditation to all of you in the hope that this psalm may establish you in a new year before our eternal God, with peace, wisdom, joy, and resolve.  


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 (Ps. 90:1-2).

I find the beginning of a new year to be disturbing because it means the old year - the year I had been living in for so long - is now gone.  A whole year is in the books!  Was it a year of gain or a year of sad loss?  Was it a time of struggle or a season of refreshment?  For most of us, it was probably a bit of both.  But now, on New Year's Day, that year is passed.  I cannot return to undo or redo anything that happened.  Usually, this involves a sense of regret - a regret over what took place or regret that a blessed time has come to an end.  2014 will never happen again.  It is past and gone.

But Psalm 90 reminds us that Christians do not in fact live in the span of a year.  We live in God!  And while each year brings change and its passing alters our lives, God does not change.  Our relationship to him is the rock on which we stand secure.  He is God from everlasting to everlasting and our lives gain stability and substance from him.  The Lord is my dwelling place in 2015, as in 2014, and I can have peace and joy through the strength that he gives.


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.  You sweep them away as with a flood; 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... For all our days pass away under your wrath; we bring our years to an end like a sigh.  The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble... So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom (Ps. 90:3-12).

The passing of each year reminds us of our mortality.  The days of our lives do pass "like sands in the hourglass."  While even a thousand years is merely like a day to God, every year of our lives is a portion of a sadly short life.  I am not yet truly old, but I am old enough that the numbers Moses mentions are getting more ominously close - seventy is not so far away anymore.  Before long, my life here will "end like a sigh," with a final breathe with floats away.  Moreover, just as 2014 was spent in a world broken by sin, I can be sure that 2015 will see troubles, challenges, temptations, and loss.  The phone will ring and bad news will come.  The lesson of this?  Moses asks to aprpeciate the importance of each day and for wisdom to live within it.  How important it is in 2015 that I spend time in God's Word and walk closely with the Lord in prayer!  What a disaster it will be if I should turn to sin or embrace a path of folly!  How dangerous is the world of sin in which the coming year will be spent!  This is the great need for Christians on New Years Day: that we should embrace a godly life and a pursuit of biblical wisdom for the year to come!


Return, O Lord!  How long?  Have pity on your servants!  Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.  Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, and for as many years as we have seen evil (Ps. 90:13-15).

Despite Moses' sober estimate of mortality and sin in the world, the Christian faces a new year with such great hope.  We are one year closer to Jesus' return!  And the God who lives in eternity will meet me today.  I wake up on New Year's morning with steadfast love surrounding me in Jesus Christ.  Whatever circumstances may come this year - whether they are outwardly good or evil - I may have the Lord as my strength and my song.  I may rejoice in the eternal life that Jesus has secured.  I may be certain of God's loving care because Jesus is my Savior.  I will have the help of the Holy Spirit to live in faith.  I know that even the trials I fear are intended to make me ultimately glad and that every evil I face will be conquered by the goodness and grace of a loving God.  My God is faithful, and he will satisfy me from January 1 to December 31 with his faithful covenant mercy!  Whatever happens this year, I will have every reason to rejoice because of the steadfast love of my saving God.


Let your work be shown to your servants, and your glorious power to their children.  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. 90:16-17).

This, then, is my request and resolution for the new year of 2015.  May God set my work at my feet and provide me grace to live for him.  I know that the work of God's people in the coming year will have eternal significance.  And I have a part to play!  I have work today in my home and family.  Lord, let me love my wife and children more sacrificially and more tenderly!  Let the work that I do by your grace display your glorious power to my children!  I have friendships and other relationships of love - Lord, let me honor them, let me be a true friend, let me be faithful and steadfast in love, goodness, and mercy.  I have work that I am to do in the church and in the world.  Lord, enable by your grace to be earnest, diligent and faithful to you in all that I do.  Let this be a year in which I serve you whole-heartedly and in true faith. 

Each of us as Christians have much in common when it comes to the calling of 2015.  We all have relationships of love to treasure and bless.  We all have families, friends, and the church in which to serve.  May God establish each of us in our callings so that we may be a blessing to others, true servants to Christ, and obedient children of God the Father.  We have differing gifts and callings - some of us work in ministry, others in the world, and some of us are students.  Lord, lay at your feet the work of 2015!  Show it to us.  Grant us grace to be faithful in it.  And establish the work of our hands for a gospel impact that will last forever. 

O God, you are our dwelling place from everlasting to everlasting.  We rejoice in your work to save and bless us.  We trust in the finished work that Jesus has done for us - how perfect and eternal it is for our salvation, established by your sovereign will and covenant purpose!  God our Father reigns as sovereign forever!  And Jesus died for us almost two thousand years ago.  Enable us, Lord, by your grace, to live for him in 2015.

Posted January 1, 2015 @ 12:08 PM by Rick Phillips
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