“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. 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.”
~ Psalm 90:12-14
Psalm 90, or at least individual verses or themes, are very familiar to many. You will even hear truths from it recited in some form by unbelievers (“man returns to dust” [v.3], “a thousand years is a day to God” [v.4], “our lifespan is toil and trouble” [v.10]) To many believers, this is a very beloved psalm. It is noted as a prayer written by Moses, “The Man of God”. It is not specifically known when he penned this prayer, but I imagine it to be during the latter years of the exodus wanderings in the wilderness.
I would like to draw your attention to a comparison (more accurately a contrast) highlighted by Moses between humanity and deity. What Moses does here in this prayer helps us to have a proper perspective. Take note of the brevity, vanity, humility and iniquity of humanity, paired up against the Eternity, Immensity, Dignity and Purity of God (deity).
Humanity vs God (deity)
God is eternal, from everlasting to everlasting (v.2), and humanity is but 70-80 years (v.10) and will return to dust (v.3).
Man and “his days” are empty and meaningless (vain) like a dream (v.5), passing away (v.9), full of toil and trouble (v.10); but God is the fullness of meaning and purpose (v.12,16), providing safety and security (v.1), satisfaction and joy (v.14); he is the creator of all (v.2) and the grantor of favor (v.17).
God is full of dignity and honor (v.1-2), high and lifted up (v.16-17); but man is little and low and humbled before this great God (v.3,7,9,12).
And perhaps most clearly known/felt by us all, man is sinful…full of iniquity…deserving God’s wrath (v.7-8). But our God is pure and holy, righteous in all he does, even in dispensing his wrath on sin (v.7-8,11,16).
What is to be our rightful response to this proper perspective? Moses says it is to dwell in the LORD (v.1), to get a heart of wisdom (v.12) and have the favor of the Lord rest upon you (v.17).