Gripped by the Greatness of God

Today we are going to head back to the Old Testament and spend the morning in the Psalter. The Psalms are essentially songs that were penned in a variety of settings. Some were personal prayers, others were designed for corporate worship. Some Psalms were laments (crying out to God about suffering and pain) others were psalms of praise (extoling the greatness of God), psalms of imprecation (calling down judgment on God’s enemies).

We sing them, pray them, meditate upon them. And we are instructed by them. But the Psalms instruct us in a different manner than other parts of Scripture because they are poetic expressions of the heart.

It is different than the letters written to the churches, it is different than the narrative (story) portions of the Bible, and it is different from prophecy or doctrinal portions of the Bible. It is deeply experiential.

And so, when we encounter Psalms it is a window into rich expressions of theology. We see what it looks like for God’s people to relate to their God.

This morning we will be in Psalm 90. Psalm 90 or at least portions of it are well known. And the theme of this psalm is the greatness of God contrasted with human limitations. Psalm 90 is the only psalm we have that was written by Moses, making it the oldest psalm.

The psalm breaks down into two main sections—a consider of God’s character compared with man in vv. 1-11, and then a prayer in vv. 12-17. I made one more subsection and broke this into three sections.

Moses Offers a Precious, Three-Part Psalm to God

  1. Praises God’s eternality compared to our limitations (1-6)
  2. Ponders God’s wrath in light of our unworthiness (7-11)
  3. Prays for God’s favor because of our neediness (12-17)

Psalm 90—A Prayer of Moses, the man of God. 1 Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. 2 Before the mountains were born or You gave birth to the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. 3 You turn man back into dust and say, “Return, O children of men.” 4 For a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it passes by, or as a watch in the night. 5 You have swept them away like a flood, they fall asleep; in the morning they are like grass which sprouts anew. 6 In the morning it flourishes and sprouts anew; toward evening it fades and withers away. 

7 For we have been consumed by Your anger and by Your wrath we have been dismayed. 8 You have placed our iniquities before You, our secret sins in the light of Your presence. 9 For all our days have declined in Your fury; we have finished our years like a sigh. 10 As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years, or if due to strength, eighty years, yet their pride is but labor and sorrow; for soon it is gone and we fly away. 11 Who understands the power of Your anger and Your fury, according to the fear that is due You? 

12 So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom. 13 Do return, O LORD; how long will it be? And be sorry for Your servants. 14 O satisfy us in the morning with Your lovingkindness, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. 15 Make us glad according to the days You have afflicted us, and the years we have seen evil. 16 Let Your work appear to Your servants and Your majesty to their children. 17 Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us; and confirm for us the work of our hands; yes, confirm the work of our hands.

A Prayer of Moses, the man of God. 

We will take a couple of minutes and pause here to establish our historical context. Knowing the setting of a psalm provides a depth of insight as we consider the words in light of what was going on when they were written.

Moses is a prolific writer, he wrote the Pentateuch: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. His song in Deuteronomy 32 contains some of the same themes we read of in this psalm.

Moses was born in Goshen, Egypt during a time when Jewish babies were murdered by decree of Pharaoh. In God’s providence Moses was preserved, and was raised in the house of Pharaoh.

As the years when by the opposition to God’s people increased, and Moses left the passing pleasures of Egypt to identify himself with the people of God. Years later he was called out of Moab to lead the nation out of Egypt into the promised land.

You know the story. From the getgo it was a rocky road. The people were stiff-necked and grumbled and complained. And Numbers 14 chronicles how they rejected the Lord. Right before they were set to take possession of the land God had promised to Abraham, they rebelled against the Lord by disbelieving that He would give it to them.

They feared man and trusted in their own understanding. God was incensed. He said he would destroy them and make a new nation through Moses, but Moses appealed to God and God relented. At that point, God allowed the people to live, but that generation was under a death sentence. None of them except Joshua and Caleb would enter the land. All of that is coloring the background for this psalm.

And what we will find is that Moses is absolutely struck by the greatness of God, and his own insignificance. This is a man who has spent time observing the world’s most powerful ruler in the national powerhouse of Egypt. 

He has personally been leading a massive group of people. He was the leader of a nation. He was directing 2.4 million people. Exodus 12:37 tells us there were 600,000 able-bodied men who could go to battle. Generally, that’s about 25% of the population. This is the same size as the Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro Metropolitan Statistical Area.

How did all of that personal significance impact Moses?

Numbers 12:3—(Now the man Moses was very humble, more than any man who was on the face of the earth.)

Moses was humbled by it. He had learned the character of God and he was personally unimpressed with himself.

We don’t know how old Moses was when he wrote this Psalm. He lived 120 years according to Deuteronomy 34:7. When he died his eye was not dim, nor his vigor abated. He was still rearing to go at that age, preserved by God in a special way.

It certainly wasn’t early in life. But he is introduced here as the man of God. This was the man God had chosen to lead his people, and he was also a godly man.

Godly people have an accurate view of God. They have a high view of God. They see Him as a supreme and pre-eminent and valuable. Fear of the Lord is all over Scripture. Not just a love, or an awe, but an actual fear.

We have recently been studying the topic of selfish ambition. The idea of being self-absorbed, self-focused, self-important, desirous to be loved and praised and see your agenda advanced and your goals get met for your own fulfillment. 

Psalm 90 is a help because it is the meditation of a man who was not selfishly ambitious. This is a perspective re-alignment in a big way. The disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray and He did, in a similar fashion if you were to ask Moses to teach you to pray, this is what you would get:

Moses Offers a Precious, Three-Part Psalm to God

  1. Praises God’s eternality compared to our limitations (1-6)

(1) Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. 

This is a look backwards at his national history. 

Dwelling place—[מָע֣וֹן] refuge, shelter, habitation… for animals this would be the cave they go to for safety. 

Moses lived other places during that time, and so did the people. But even for Moses as a prince in Egypt, the palace was his home for a time, but not his dwelling place. 

After leaving, the desert of the Sinai Peninsula became his home for a time, but not his dwelling place. Although having various physical homes on earth, Moses found comfort and refuge in the Lord. 

Is this not sweet? The wilderness matters not, for you Oh Lord are our safe-heaven and our dwelling place!

in all generations… You have become this for us. 

Over the generations—so from Moses’ vantage point this would be going back to Adam and Eve finding consolation after sin in God’s provision of clothing and promise of a deliverer. On to Noah, and Abraham through to Isaac, Jacob and Joseph. That preceded 400 years of time in Egypt.

Moses is a historian. He understands the nation’s past with keen insights.

Moses had learned a lesson over the years. When he was fearful to lead the people of God with stammering tongue, when he was standing before Pharaoh, when he saw the Egyptians coming with their military might to attack the Israelites, when he was overwhelmed by the burden of leading 2.4M million people, he would turn to the Lord, and in Him find rest.

Psalm 71:3—Be to me a rock of habitation to which I may continually come; You have given commandment to save me, for You are my rock and my fortress.

Psalm 91:1—He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.

It isn’t just finding a safe place to dwell, which God provides, but in the person of God himself.

Where do you seek rest? I don’t mean physical rest, I mean inner-peace. Security. Do you self-medicate with entertainment? Or fill your life with hobbies? Maybe it is work and achievement? Perhaps you vent to other people and that is your relief. 

Godly people seek refuge in the Lord. And they do so because they know that God is infinitely capable of helping them. Look at Moses recount God’s greatness in v. 2:

(2) Before the mountains were born or You gave birth to the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. 

Here is the foundation for finding our rest in God. He is everlasting! He is utterly self-sufficient. Unimaginable! 

God is God. And He is from everlasting to everlasting. He never had a beginning and He will never have an end. Impossible to fully appreciate or comprehend. Name on thing in your life that did not have a beginning…

Similar language is used at various points in Job. The thought is that we tend to think highly of our importance, our personal significance, how much depends upon us in this life. But something that cuts through and immediately demonstrates the difference between us and God is to reflect upon the greatness of grandeur of creation.

God made the mountains. He didn’t consult you. You weren’t a part of it. Creation took place before there was one of us. God is glorious and mighty.

Martin Luther found great comfort in this verse. After his conversion from Roman Catholicism to salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone he wrote:

Such a God have we, such a God do we worship to such a God do we pray, at whose command all created things sprang into being. Why then should we fear if this God favors us?... 

And yet we are so fainthearted that if the anger of a single prince or king, nay, even of a single neighbor, is to be borne, we tremble and droop in spirit. Yet in comparison with this King, all things beside in the whole world are but as the lightest dust which a slight breath moves from its place, and suffers not to be still. In this way this description of God is consolatory, and trembling spirits out to look to this consolation in their temptations and dangers.

Moses had seen God’s power over and over and over in powerful ways. And in all of that there was no competition between God and Pharaoh. Think of how absurd it is that we would fear man. And that leads right into Moses’ next thought:

(3) You turn man back into dust and say, “Return, O children of men.” 

In the Garden, when God created the first human being it was Adam, and he was formed using dust. When living things die they decompose, and eventually turn back into… dust. 

It isn’t merely that there is a scientific process by which all things are breaking down and eventually the body can no long support life. Tis’ true, but here Moses gives God the credit for being the one who is behind even that process. God invented death. God designed it as a consequence for sin, and He is said to be the one who kills.

The translation here sounds like a fairy-godmother turning someone back into dust—Poof! But in the original it is to crush. You crush people and say return… Go be dust again. Dust to dust.

Moses ascribed this to God in Deuteronomy already:

Deuteronomy 32:39—‘See now that I, I am He, and there is no god besides Me; it is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded and it is I who heal, and there is no one who can deliver from My hand.

Here’s Moses early admission—God you are ever-lasting, and people are short-lasting.

(4) For a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it passes by, or as a watch in the night. 

This is poetic imagery. The point isn’t to analyze it piece by piece as if there is an actual direct correlation in terms of time. But just consider the chasm. 

For God, the last thousand years of human history, which included such things as the airplane, the computer, rockets, jets, guns, bombs, antibiotics, printing press, electricity, automobiles, robots, billions of people, the rise and fall of the Ottoman Empire, the Spanish Empire, the British Empire, the United States).

To God that basically feels like what yesterday was to you. Yesterday was Saturday, you woke up did your chores, worked, ran errands, maybe relaxed, went to bed, and here you are. You just had the same experience in that brief blip of a day that God does in a thousand years.

Night watch. The night watch was a military watch. You little boys probably are picturing a military watch that glows at night or something. Different kind of watch. This was a period of time where it was someone’s job to watch out for bad guys. 

And staying up all night was too long and maybe you would get sleeping, so they divided the night into three portions. And then someone would take the first watch, then someone else the second watch, and then someone else the third watch. Part of the night. Quickly comes and goes.

We are so small and live for such a short amount of time. God is eternal. Time is really nothing to him. We can’t understand so this is an analogy for us. Puts your entire life in perspective. 

Perhaps you don’t struggle with viewing yourself as indispensable like I do. As if my contribution is so vital and so necessary. You and I will be gone and forgotten in 100 years or much less. Not the Lord. He was here before, and He will remain after.

This just crushes self-importance. 

(5) You have swept them away like a flood, they fall asleep; 

You have swept away our lives like a flood. Floods don’t play favorites, they just swoop in and rush away anything in their path.

in the morning they are like grass which sprouts anew. 6 In the morning it flourishes and sprouts anew; toward evening it fades and withers away. 

Did the grass in Palestine come up in the morning and die by evening? No! Morning and evening are poetic imagery of the season. Grass is planted, has an exciting first shoot, it is beautiful and fresh and full of life. Then in a few months it is drying out and withering and fading. That’s the point. Youth is full of energy, life, vitality, creativity, progress, conquest, battles, success, challenge. And then it begins to fade.

Again, poetic imagery of how finite and frail we are. Like the line from “Immortal, Invisible” that compares us to leaves the are new in the spring and dead by fall:

We blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree, and wither and perish, but nought changeth Thee.

Spurgeon said,

we are not cedars, or oaks, but only poor grass, which is vigorous in the spring, but lasts not a summer through.

Friends, God made us finite. So often we want to have perfect wisdom, or complete insight, or absolute control. Some of you get anxious and want to orchestrate life a certain way to go how you think would be best.

It is subtle, but it is wanting to be God or like God. He fashioned you with your limitations. Adam and Eve were limited and finite even before they sinned. They were completely dependent upon God, they had no knowledge except that which He had given them.

And then since death entered the world, we have an expiration date. Don’t fight your finiteness, but let it be a cause to worship God rightly.

Psalm 100:2—Know that the Lord Himself is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourself. We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

Psalm 102:25–27—25 Of old You founded the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands. 26 Even they will perish, but You endure; and all of them will wear out like a garment; Like clothing You will change them and they will be changed. 27 But You are the same, and Your years will not come to an end.

God will endure forever, and He has existed eternally, before we were here. Moses got it. He had seen the rise and fall of rulers, and the vanity of life, and the power of God, and this was his conclusion.

Remember, he was a godly man. This is a godly perspective.

Moses Offers a Precious, Three-Part Psalm to God

  1. Praises God’s eternality compared to our limitations (1-6)
  2. Ponders God’s wrath in light of our unworthiness (7-11)

There is an immediate circumstance that is causing Moses to think about the frailty of humanity.

(7) For we have been consumed by Your anger and by Your wrath we have been dismayed. 

This was what happened when Israel was sentenced by God to wander around until the generation that disbelieved Him, died. What a depressing circumstance!

We can’t relate to this if we are in Christ because God’s anger and wrath were poured on Jesus for our sakes. We don’t live under the anger and wrath of God. But these people were in a very real way.

This is the circumstance that correlates with the passage we read in Hebrews 3. It is those to whom God swore in wrath, they shall not enter my rest. We can make that connection because it was the manifestation of God’s wrath upon his people during the lifetime of Moses.

Why was God angry?

(8) You have placed our iniquities before You, our secret sins in the light of Your presence. 

Moses’ expression here is that God is looking at Israel’s rap sheet as it were, and their sentence was carried out based upon the consequences they earned.

Iniquities—[עָוֹן] wrongdoing, with a focus of liability or guilt for this wrong incurred. An action that will require punishment.

Secret sins—[עלם] the things that are hidden. The deeds that no one knows about.

You have brought hidden things that were in the dark and brought them into the light. The Hebrew concept of being in someone’s presence is to be right in front of their face. 

Sin loves darkness. Let’s just think this through together for a minute. 

There are things that you would read or watch only around certain people or by yourself. There are things that you would never say if the person you were talking about would find out. There are attitudes and desires that you harbor, but keep on the inside, things that you would never want to be discovered. 

Sin is shameful. Sin puts us in a bad light. Sin is embarrassing. And so, sin loves to remain hidden. It’s like when someone says, “I just can’t stop myself…” Really? 

Would you be able to stop yourself if you were in the room with your mom? Or with your pastor? Or with your church body? Of course you could. You keep your sin as hidden as possible. And Moses just says, “you know it Lord.” It is brought into the light. As though a lamp is clicked on and what was previously hidden is now visible. David said it doesn’t matter if it’s dark out:

Psalm 139:1–12—1 O LORD, You have searched me and known me. 2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. 3 You scrutinize my path and my lying down, and are intimately acquainted with all my ways. 4 Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, You know it all. 5 You have enclosed me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot attain to it. 7 Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? 8 If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. 9 If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, 10 Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me. 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, And the light around me will be night,” 12 Even the darkness is not dark to You, And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You.

It is a strange sensation of fear and comfort to think that we are known by God in this way. Every stray thought or motive or desire He knows. That has a purifying effect on your life. And at the same time to think that He chose me knowing all of that. 

Children you may deceive your parents for a season. Husbands you may deceive your wife, or wife your husband, or parents your children. Perhaps you deceive your friends at church, or you don’t answer honestly when asked a spiritual question by your pastor or one of the leaders here. You know my heart breaks when I see deception in my heart or in the hearts of others. 

But you know what gives me confidence? 

God knows and sees it all, and when He is ready to expose it, He will. You can lie to me and to your friends and your family. We might have questions based upon the fruit in your life, but we just leave those things up to the Lord. He will reveal it in His timing.

In the meantime, can I leave you with an incentive to bring it into the open?

Proverbs 28:13—He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.

The hope of the Gospel is more powerful than the fear of judgment, and the desire for tasting the mercy of God is worth the pain of exposure.

It is a great comfort that you don’t even understand your sin, but God does. And in spite of that, He set His electing love upon you and before you were born had determined that you would be His child and that you would live with Him forever.

Very often we might think, “boy if I had all the facts back when I made that decision, I would have done things a little differently!” God had perfect insight, perfect knowledge of your rebellion and said, this one will be precious in my sight. This one I will scoop up and wash and cleanse. This one I will set my electing love upon.

(9) For all our days have declined in Your fury; we have finished our years like a sigh. 

Winding down into a groan.

Why have the days wasted away in God’s wrath? Fury here is used elsewhere of God rising in anger to punish sinners. This is rage.

This was a dark time with the shadow of death looming over them. The historical situation that took place in Numbers death is an unmistakable theme:

Numbers 14:22–23—22 “Surely all the men who have seen My glory and My signs which I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness, yet have put Me to the test these ten times and have not listened to My voice, 23 shall by no means see the land which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who spurned Me see it.

Numbers 14:28–29—28 “Say to them, ‘As I live,’ says the LORD, ‘just as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will surely do to you; 29 your corpses will fall in this wilderness, even all your numbered men, according to your complete number from twenty years old and upward, who have grumbled against Me.

Numbers 14:31–33—31 ‘Your children, however, whom you said would become a prey—I will bring them in, and they will know the land which you have rejected. 32 ‘But as for you, your corpses will fall in this wilderness. 33 ‘Your sons shall be shepherds for forty years in the wilderness, and they will suffer for your unfaithfulness, until your corpses lie in the wilderness.

They were living under a divine death sentence. They knew they were exiled to live in the desert waiting to die so that their kids could go into the land.

(10) As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years, or if due to strength, eighty years, 

World market for anti-aging expenditures is nearly $200 billion dollars. That’s 200 thousand-millions each year. And you might cover up what’s really going on for a while, but v. 10 is pretty raw. There isn’t a whole lot you can do beyond this.

Isn’t the simplicity of this verse helpful?

Seventy years is a good average. If you are strong you will get eighty. 

strength—[גְּבוּרָה] sounds strong… used of strong warriors, horses, and the reign of a great king.

In the United States right now you get 78 on average, four more if you live in Canada, and 10 less if you are in India. But we are still in the same ballpark 3,500 years after Moses. It’s a good thing to think about these things.

Ecclesiastes says it is the end of every man, so it is good to consider your death.

yet their pride is but labor and sorrow; for soon it is gone, and we fly away.

Boy, we need to hear this encouragement.

It’s as if Moses is sitting back, in a way that sounds quite Solomonic and he evaluates life without any sentimentality. He says, you want to know the truth? Life is hard. The pride of life is actually marked by labor and sorrow. 

That’s not how we like to think about life. Just consider advertising words: easy, hassle-free, convenient, happy, fulfilled. Moses is honest that this life is a struggle. And whether you get 70 years or 80 years, it just isn’t that long until you fly away, until you depart the earth.

You get that extra few years, but it’s hard at the end. That’s the idea.

(11) Who understands the power of Your anger and Your fury, according to the fear that is due You? 

Moses has been shepherding God’s people Israel for some years at this point. Remember how much counseling he did? He saw the backside of God’s presence on Mt. Sinai. And his conclusion after spending time with God and with his people was this… who really even understands how intense your fury against sin and fears you rightly?

Every day was a funeral.

And yet even from that place, no one thinks too deeply or exactingly about the wrath of God. 

Moses Offers a Precious, Three-Part Psalm to God

  1. Praises God’s eternality compared to our limitations (1-6)
  2. Ponders God’s wrath in light of our unworthiness (7-11)
  3. Prays for God’s favor because of our neediness (12-17)

(12) So teach us to number our days, 

How do we number our days? Get a little tally sheet on your desk? I’m somewhere north of 12,500 days so far… not the point. Reckon your days properly. Consider the brevity of life and let it influence how you live as a result. What did Israel think when they heard this? What was numbering days for them? How does that help us today?

Not to delay hearing from God and acting upon His Word. Consider the lost time and let that be an incentive to you as you move forward in the future. As Christians we don’t wallow in our past failures, but we also don’t gloss over them and pretend they didn’t happen. Let your failures of the past cause you to thank God for His mercy, and then fuel your diligence to by his grace not repeat the same failures.

Purpose clause:

that we may present to You a heart of wisdom.

Wisdom =  the art and skill of living a godly life. Where does wisdom come from? Fearing God… v. 11 “fear” again. Get the point? 

We don’t have a surplus of life and time enough to squander it. You have whatever time left God will allot to you, and I promise you there isn’t so much extra to fulfill his calling and squander it, or fulfill his calling and procrastinate. 

(13) Do return, O LORD; how long will it be? And be sorry for Your servants.

Calling upon the name of the Lord in a time of need. God has rejected them, but not abandoned them forever. If you have rejected the Lord, or have secret sins, maybe you are sitting here right now questioning if you are saved, then turn to the Lord.

Moses would pray over and over, Lord remember your lovingkindness. Lord have mercy on your servants. Habakkuk staring in the face of God’s wrath prayed a similar refrain:

Have mercy, relent your anger and stay your wrath. In wrath remember mercy (Habakkuk 3:2).

Oh God, be gracious!

(14) O satisfy us in the morning with Your lovingkindness, 

Moses is using food terminology poetically. Oh, God we hunger for you, and in the same way that physical meals satisfy us so that we are satiated, so we want you to satisfy our souls.  

satisfy us—fill us up. Again, not the thought that you need more of God as if He is filling up a tank inside of you, but rather, filling as in satisfying until you want no more. Not no more of Him, but you want nothing else. 

Morning time—every morning fresh challenges, every morning fresh grace, God’s mercies are new every morning. Satisfied with your lovingkindness, you know the word [חֶסֶד] it speaks of God’s loyal love that never fails, never fluctuates, never finds cause for cancelation. It endures. 

And even in His people in the face of the nation of Israel committing spiritual adultery by worshipping other gods and trusting in other things, yet His loyal-love was never in question. He continued to pursue. He kept his promises. He patiently endures.

You are probably familiar with Lamentations 3. Those verses have been a rock to cling to in difficult days for me.

Lamentations 3:22–23—22 The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.

I can remember one period where I just had to wake up and tell myself this every morning.

That’s what my soul needs! That when the sun comes up and daybreak is upon me, before I make a move, my soul isn’t looking for fulfillment in the vanities of this life, but finds rest in God alone. And not in a general concept of God, but in a fresh awareness of the kind of love this God has for me.

My dear friends, as you feast on this love to take Moses’ words, your soul will exult in God. It’s right here in Moses’ prayer:

that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.

This life is full of labor and sorrow according to Moses. And yet in spite of the labor and sorrow it is possible to sing for joy and be glad. 

Oh, Christian I hope that you sing to your God. Not just on Sunday, but every day. Not self-focused songs that fail to extol the Lord, but songs of His greatness and songs that proclaim what the Lord has done for you.

It flows out of knowing the lovingkindness of our God.

(15) Make us glad according to the days You have afflicted us, and the years we have seen evil. 

Israel faced costly consequences for her sin. And God afflicted her. For years. Moses boldly requests—give back what we lost, oh Lord. Moses would pray boldly to God prays of intercession where he would request that God would be merciful to his people.

(16) Let Your work appear to Your servants and Your majesty to their children. 

Don’t cut us off forever. Let the next generation see you. Immediate circumstance? All the people over the age of 20 were going to die in the wilderness, and another generation after them were going to go into the land.

(17) Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us; and confirm for us the work of our hands; Yes, confirm the work of our hands.

Based in His character again (His favor) not our entitlement.

Psalm 127—we need God to make the work of our hands stand firm—established, secure, steadfast, lasting, durable. Moses knew that the next generation needed to see God for themselves (v. 16) and he wants their labor to endure.

Psalm 127:1–2—1 Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; Unless the LORD guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain. 2 It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors; for He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.

What’s the point? If you want to attempt to manufacture an outcome using your own resources, it isn’t going to work. 

Well our God is incomprehensible. We can understand him, but not completely. Moses has shepherded us here today, as he has so many others. 2.4 million people while he was alive, and many millions since.

Praising God’s eternality, pondering his wrath, and then praying for his favor. It’s where we live. But we have God’s favor if we are in Christ. We have a more sure foundation then that generation did that rejected the Lord.

Praise God.