For all our days have declined in Your fury; We have finished our years like a sigh.
I suppose this is one of those verses in the Bible that makes us cringe a little. Sometimes it’s verses like this one that make pastors feel they need to defend God, reminding their people that He’s really not such a mean person after all, is full of love, and we’re all saved from His wrath, and Moses was perhaps having a really bad day the day he wrote this, etc. I certainly don’t like to think of God’s people (or, me) finishing up this life under the glare of a God whose chief feelings toward me (at least according to this verse) is fury! Do you? And I don’t want to finish my years like a sigh; I want to live a very full, healthy, productive life, both physically and spiritually, that ends with the warm and grateful recognition of a benevolent God. As Moses prepared to depart this life, he reflected on the heartache, disappointment and persistent failure that had robbed his people, God’s people (!), of the life of blessing and meaning that they could have had. As he looked back across the decades and the desert miles, he saw not the villages, synagogue, farms and schools built by Israel, the new people of God, delivered from the bondage of slavery in Egypt. He saw….graves. That’s why there are no archaeological remains of the 40 year sojourn of the nation of Israel in the wilderness; all they left behind were makeshift graves in the shifting sands of the desert, for although they bore the name Israel—the people of God, and were a redeemed, saved people of God—they resisted following God, and seemed to distrust and disobey Him at every turn. And so, instead of occupying cities and villages and beginning new lives as free men and free women, they wandered as punishment for their treason against their God. And instead of that generation of former slaves building a culture of learning, achievement, and witness to the power and mercy of God—they became a nation of grave diggers, as each of them who left Egypt, save a faithful few, died off in the wilderness, day by day, year by year, barely noticed, like a sigh.
I don’t live under the fury of God today–not because He has stopped being furious at sin, but because He has stopped being furious at me. Another has stood before that fury in my place. I hope you, too, have been delivered from that fury. If you haven’t, or if you are not sure, you must flee to the Man who bore the wrath of God in your place, for your sins. You must do it this day, before your final day approaches, the day of your final breath. And that final breath will simply be a sigh.
Lord, today, give me eyes to look to the days ahead; to acknowledged that, short of Christ’s gathering of His own, living and dead, I will certainly die one day. Help me to appreciate the sacrifice for my sins made by the Lord Jesus, and please bring me opportunities to share the hope and forgiveness of gospel with any person who comes into my life today. Please make it very clear to me, what I should do and say and please make me very clear in what I say! Amen.