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 (Psalm 90: 10).
I’m almost 70. I live with little guilt for my past.
No regrets! Psalm 90 teaches us to live our days without regrets.
In 49 years as a pastor, I’ve been with many as they breathed their last breath. Some had regrets – I could see it etched on their faces, and feel the spirit of sorrow as they passed into eternity.
I’ve watched others who lived a life that should have ended with shame and anger, but they left in peace.
Psalm 90 is about living with peace and no regrets.
This psalm is the oldest of the psalms. The psalms aren’t in chronological order. Ninety isn’t composed by David or Solomon, but Moses. He wrote this psalm after the Israelites refused to enter the Promised Land.
You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence (v. 8).
Because of disobedience caused by the secret sin of fear, the Israelites wandered the wilderness for another 40 years. Scripture says that only two men from that generation lived to enter the Promised Land – Jacob and Caleb.
Talk about regrets.
Psalm 90 takes the long approach to our sin and the sin of the Israelites. On the verge of another 40 years of tents in the desert, Moses reminds them:
Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God (vv. 1-2).
After stumbling, and if we are now living in the penalty of that sin, let’s remember to return to God as our dwelling place.
Let’s confront sin and embrace the judgment. Let’s keep perspective. We sin and we wander, and we need to remember:
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 (vv. 3-6).
Sorrow and repentance – yes! But no self-condemnation, for judgment lasts for a second while mercy for eternity.
No regrets. God is working toward your redemption.
Teach us to number our days that we may gain 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 (vv. 12-14).
I’m almost 70 years old and I’m going for 80!
I’ve committed deeds and thoughts to fill pages of regret. But Psalm 90 describes a God who focuses on my future, and gently (or sometimes not so gently) pushes and leads me along His path.
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! (v. 17)
Editor’s Note: Tomorrow is my birthday!