Hello, my name is Michael Brennen, Pastor of Ebenezer Wesleyan Methodist Church, Delray Beach, Florida. Here is my reflection upon Psalm 90, which has special significance because one of my late father’s favorite biblical quotations, which was published in his obituary, comes from Psalm 90. Let’s begin by reading selected verses from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) Bible.
Psalms 90:1 - 6, 9 – 12 NRSV
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.
You turn us back to dust, and say, “Turn back, you mortals.”
For a thousand years in your sight are like yesterday when it is past, or like a watch in the night.
You sweep them away; 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; our years come to an end like a sigh.
The days of our life are seventy years, or perhaps eighty, if we are strong; even then their span is only toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away.
Who considers the power of your anger? Your wrath is as great as the fear that is due you.
So, teach us to count our days that we may gain a wise heart.
“From everlasting to everlasting, you are God,” was Daddy’s scriptural saying that I earlier mentioned. Mr. Brennen was well known throughout the community in which I grew up for several reasons, but chiefly because he rode his bicycle everywhere. Practically everyone in Nassau knew Mr. Brennen who rode that bike. He was a carpenter, and rode to work with his toolbox on the specially adapted back seat. All the bicycling was the most likely reason for his strength. Though short in stature, his sturdiness was unmatched among men. He was from a generation that toiled sun up to sundown, all their life. So, when this man, who represented for me longevity and endurance, exclaimed, “From everlasting to everlasting, you are God,” it provoked a lasting image of an old man giving reverence to an ancient God – to God who was in the beginning, is now, and will be forevermore.
Another expression, I heard him use, was “I die daily.” This gets to the essence of this Psalm – our vulnerability before an all powerful God. When we close our eyes at night, there is no guarantee we will wake to a new daylight. We live one day at a time, and moment by moment. The writer says we are like grass, “in the morning it flourishes and is renewed; in the evening it fades and withers.”
If we live for seventy or eighty years, that is a blessing, not a guarantee. Our existing time on this planet is like a blink of an eye, or like a vapor that disappears, and is subject to God’s providence.
So, the lesson here is humility, an attitude we learn as our years increase. Let us seriously consider the Psalmist’s concluding words. “So, teach us to count our days that we may gain a wise heart.”
Let us hold onto the wisdom of trusting an all-wise God; let us put our trust in an ever-faithful God. Let us sing with the hymn.
Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father. There is no shadow of turning with Thee. Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not. As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be
Great is Thy faithfulness. Great is Thy faithfulness. Morning by morning new mercies I see. All I have needed Thy hand hath provided. Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me.