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This sermon series is about the Psalms – the songbook or playlist of the ancient people. Knowing our location in life, in every way, is incredibly important. The Psalms locate God and us. They show us where we feel dislocated in life and how we can be relocated to a place of truth that reflects God’s way and His heart.

Think of the minutes and the moments of our lives. Where is our time located?

Time is the great equalizer. It doesn’t matter whether you’re rich or poor, where you come from, or where you live. We all have a fixed amount of time.

Ever heard of the phrase, “time is money?” Like time, money is limited. But unlike money, you can’t make more time. You can’t work harder. You can’t borrow time or go into debt for more time.

When we’re young, we trade our time (our lives) for more resources. When we’re old, we trade our resources for more time (life).

Unlike money, most of us rarely think about how much time we have and even how we spend it…

…until we hit a speed bump…

And we’re faced with our own mortality or that of someone close to us.

Moses was known as the one who led the Israelites out of Egypt. But he actually lived 4 lives.

  1. Pharaoh’s House – Center of the action, wealthy, influential, high-living, flat screens, and an abundance of swimming pools.
  2. Shepherd – Had a fallout where he killed a guy, fled into the desert for 40 years, and tended sheep. Boring. Seems like a failure. The sheep will die, and eventually, I’ll die.
  3. Back in Egypt – Confronting Pharaoh, plagues, “I can’t even speak well.” The epicenter of world events.
  4. Leader of a Nation – Murmuring, complaining. God gets sick of it and says, “you’re going to lead them all around in circles until this generation dies out.” Makes a couple of bad choices along the way. Gets to the edge of the Promised Land. God says, “you can’t go in, but go up to the mountain, and you can look.”

Interesting life. What a perspective on time and the seasons of life.

Psalm 90
1 Lord, you have been our dwelling place, throughout all generations.
2 Before the mountains were born, or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

Talking about the nation and people of Israel – God has been the foundation and context of everything. Before the mountains were even born, that’s a cool image. God was before the things we look at and can’t imagine when they weren’t there.

There’s another part to it.

God was there before the things that seem so permanent, so big, and so immovable.    

He’s even more permanent. And He’s above and beyond them.

From everlasting is like saying, “God, you know the arrows go in both directions. We’re in the middle, a blip in time. We had a start date, and we’ll have an end date. But you don’t.” So then he makes this dramatic statement.

Psalm 90
3 You turn people back to dust, saying, “Return to dust, you mortals.”

Sort of like Gandalf, “You shall not pass!” This is hard for us because it exposes just how out of control we are. Does God just know how long we’ll live, or does He decide? We aren’t sure, but we know we don’t control that.

God does.

Most of us believe, even if we’re not Christians, that God has something to do with the length of our lives. What happens if you don’t acknowledge God when you or a loved one is faced with a health scare? You pray. You ask for prayer.

Psalm 90
4 A thousand years in your sight are like a day that just gone by, or like a watch in the night.
5 Yet you sweep people away in the sleep of death – they are like the new grass of the morning:
6 In the morning it springs up new, but by evening it is dry and withered.

As we get older, we feel like the seasons are flying by. Imagine how it is for God.

Our lives seem long, but in reality, they’re short.  

Have you ever pulled weeds in the morning, and by the time you come back a few hours later, they’re wilted? He’s saying our lives are like that. First, we see a baby born, then in the blink of an eye, they’re in school, driving, and off to college. It’s fast for us, but it’s even faster for God.

Psalm 90
7 We are consumed by your anger and terrified by your indignation.
8 You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.
9 All our days pass away under your wrath; we finish our years with a moan.
10 Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures; yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.

Depressing, right?

But even when we see the tremendous goodness of life, we are also aware of the struggle. Moses is saying, "I get it. I grew up the golden boy and then spent 40 years tending sheep, thinking that was it. Then things pick up, and we're back in the driver's seat, only to get inches from the finish without crossing the line."

He’s saying, “Don’t lose faith just because you’re dwarfed by the magnitude of the universe and the magnitude of God, and you feel small, and life feels confusing. But look at your years and cherish your days.”


They quickly pass, and we fly away.

Psalm 90
11 If only we knew the power of your anger! Your wrath is as great as the fear that is your due.

This is a tricky verse to translate. But here’s the essence of what it means:

  • If we could see you for who you are – that you’re from infinity to infinity, and you gave us this blip – we’d be far more careful with how we spend it.
  • If we could see you for who you are, we’d worry about a lot fewer things.
  • If we could see you for who you are, we’d be more careful with how we invest all of the parts of our lives.
Psalm 90
12 Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
  1. Teach: This doesn’t come naturally. We have to learn it. We tend to live as if we have endless days. What do we do with something we think we have an endless supply of? We waste it.
  2. Number: Teach us to remember our days are limited, not endless. We can count them.

When you recognize that you have a limited resource, you are careful with it. The result of doing this is that we may gain a heart of wisdom. And when we do this, it changes our perspective.

See how Moses ends:

Psalm 90
14 Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
15 Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, for as many years as we have seen trouble.
16 May your deeds be shown to your servants, your splendor to their children.
17 May the favor of the Lord our God rest of us; establish the work of our hands for us – yes, establish the work of our hands.

The “work of our hands” here is not our great accomplishments. It’s the day-in, day-out. What we do every day. So when we number our days before God, we can trust that His favor rests on us and that He’s the author, the source of what seems routine, unglamorous, and unimpressive.

So think of these questions as you reflect.

  • What should I add? (forgiveness, discipline)
  • What should I subtract? (distraction, fruitless things)
  • What should I increase?

The older we get, the more responsibility we carry, and the more impressed we become with these sidebar comments in the Gospels, where Jesus slips off to a lonely place to pray. Really? With all He had going on?

  • What should I decrease?

Here’s the trick. We can’t increase something without decreasing something else. If this were easy, we’d all do it.

What do we need to add or remove? Increase or decrease?

Start by praying the verse as a prayer, “Teach me to number my days that I may gain a heart of wisdom.”

When we were kids, our parents would take us to the store and give us money to spend on one item. It took forever to decide. Why? We were so careful because we wanted to get the most out of our limited resources.       

When we have limited resources, we are careful with how we spend them and where we invest them.    

When we truly look at our time – our days – as a limited resource, we will become much more careful with how, where, and on what we spend them.

We'll spend them in the places that matter, where a return is produced. Whether that’s people, relationships, serving, giving of us in the right ways, or making an impact that matters.

Teach us, Lord, to number our days so that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

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