Psalm 90:3

You turn man back into dust And say, “Return, O children of men.” 

Who ultimately makes the decision of the exact moment when a person dies?  Doctors? Soldiers? Police? The person themselves?  According to this verse, the Lord Himself decides the point at which our spirits leave our bodies, and we begin a process of biological decay that sends our material elements back into the earth from which they came and from which they grew.  But looking at the newspapers, it would appear that God has very little to do anymore with the death of human beings.  Homicide, disease, traumatic accidents, combat, physician assisted suicide…the list goes on of ways that humans seem to be the final judges of who dies, why they die, and the moment at which they die.  As I’ve written, the Bible says otherwise, that God actually determines these things.  I used to hate that idea—God arbitrarily deciding the moment of my death, as if I had nothing to do with it.  Now, I think to myself, “Who better to have the fate of my earthly, physical existence in His hands than God Himself.  Do I want such the decision to rest wholly in the will of any person, group, or fate, or (perhaps the worse of them all) me myself?!”  Death is hateful to humans (particularly our own death!), but not precious.  To most of us, it is certainly not a divine-human transaction that precludes physical resurrection to an eternal life.  Perhaps that is why we haven’t been able to fight, kill, legislate, or simply rip, the ultimate control over death out of the hands of God.  Our lives are in His hands, and to simply rest and trust in this truth is one of the deepest expressions of faith I have ever been challenged to live.  Psalm 90 is a poem Moses wrote about time; all time, including the timing of your own death.  May we look at the verse from the viewpoint that allows us to rejoice that as our death is in the hands of God, so are our continued, blessed lives.

Let’s pray to day for the wisdom and humility to live as people who do not know the moment of death, and so live each moment of life in wisdom and obedience to our Lord.  Look around you—today; you will probably see people who will not be alive in 20 years, 10 years, perhaps even a year.  When He calls them to “Return” to the dust, will they have had the opportunity to know and be saved by the One who will one day call into the dust, “Arise,” and command it to give up its dead?  Any that you know who are sick, ill, or injured; suffering in any way today, please pray for both their physical and spiritual health and healing.

Blessings,

Pastor Ken

Psalm 90:1-2

A Prayer of Moses, the man of God. Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were born Or You gave birth to the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.

Scholars have suggested that Moses wrote this Psalm soon after the events of Numbers 20, while leading the nation of Israel to the Promised Land.  In that chapter, we read of four heartbreaks that Moses, the man of God, endured.  His sister, Miriam died, He failed to obey the instruction of God in the miracle of producing water from a rock, and was told he would not enter into the Promised Land himself, he was denied travel through the land of Edom (ethnically cousins of Israel), and so was forced to continued leading the nation through the wastelands of modern-day Jordan, instead of along a well-groomed, direct road.  And his dearest, forty-year partner in minsitry, his brother Aaron, died.  The death of dear family members, the death of a 40 year dream, and the denial of immediate needs to proceed in the task God gave him to accomplish; No wonder this is one of the most somber Psalms in the Bible, often read at funerals!

How does a man (or woman) “of God” respond to such loss, failure, and disappointment?  Moses began by resting his hope in what he knew to be true about God:  You have been our dwelling place in all generations…  Profound words from a man who had spent at least one third of his life living in tents.  A dwelling place is not simply a place with four walls and a roof, where people can go at the end of the day; it is a place marked by safety, protection, and peace.  Moses had no such place left on earth.  No people to share his life with, no place to call home, and finally, no earthly dream of such a blessed land anymore.  All of those dreams and opportunities had flown from him like leaves in the wind.  Even the land he stood on was not his own, and never would be in his earthly life.  But from eternity past, God is God, wrote Moses.  Before there were any mountains to climb or hills to own, or lands to conquer or houses to build, there was a lasting place of rest and safety—in God Himself.  Before your dreams, whatever they may be, even existed, there was God.

Let’s pray that we would see beyond the present, temporary, difficulties and heartbreaks of this life, and cast our faith upon the only safe and secure Person there is—God Himself.  Through obedient, joyful trust, do things His way, by His leading, today, and see if you don’t find yourself in a dwelling in His place, with God Himself.  I hear there are all kinds of troubled people in that place; including a man who spent 40 years pursuing a dream of a Promised Land, only to find his promise was not in any particular land, but in the Lord of the land.  You’ll be in good company.

Pastor Ken