For over 20 years now, I have greeted the New Year with a friend. Sometimes we don’t get much time together; sometimes we have an hour or so. But most every year for the last two decades, I have gotten together with my friend, and he has helped me greet the New Year. Tomorrow, once again, I’ll be spending some time with Moses, the man of God.
Moses wrote one Psalm, just one, and it ranks right up there with some of David’s best. It is Psalm 90, and it is at once worshipful, sobering, realistic and hopeful. I won’t take time to point out all the glories of this portion of God’s word, but I will say that it is my New Year’s Psalm because of three particular prayers within it.
First, Moses considers how long life is, and then prays a prayer for wisdom:
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. Who considers the power of your anger, and your wrath according to the fear of you? So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.
Psalm 90:10-12 (ESV)
So, on January 1st each year, I consider the years remaining. I turned 47 in 2011, which gives me 23 years more according to Moses’ clock, or 33 if I have strength (and if I can get my cholesterol down). Of course, these years are not guaranteed – I know that – but just thinking about limited time is sobering. 23 years? Heck, I was just getting going on life when I turned 23 years old. But Moses says the years of our life are seventy, and Moses is a man of God.
What will I do with the 23 years I (may) have remaining? Try to devote myself to my family, maybe including some grandkids? That would be cool. Write more sermons? I hope so. Love the body of believers called Edgewood Community Church that God has asked me to shepherd? All of this is good, and each year I need to relearn that there is limited time.
Secondly, there’s joy. Moses acknowledges that days of sorrow have come, and he prays for days of gladness in their wake:
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.
Psalm 90:14-15 (ESV)
This all dovetails nicely with the last verse, and the last prayer:
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!
Psalm 90:17 (ESV)
Finally, as I gain a heart of wisdom, I ask God to take the work of these remaining 23 years, and do something wonderful. I want Him to establish the work of my hands. I don’t want wood, hay and straw (1 Corinthians 3:12) left at the end. I want years that last to His honor and praise. So I pray for that. When it comes to the end, whenever it is, give me joy…and a life that counts for the glory of God. That will be enough.
See you tomorrow Moses.