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Bible Commentaries

Smith's Bible Commentary

Psalms 90

Verses 1-17

Psalms 90:1-17 is a psalm of Moses. Now Moses was also a writer and he wrote psalms and songs, and this is one of the psalms of Moses.

LORD [or Jehovah], thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God ( Psalms 90:1-2 ).

Declaring the eternal nature of God. Before the world ever existed, from everlasting to everlasting.

The word everlasting is an interesting Hebrew word. It is a word that literally means the vanishing point. To understand it, think back as far as you can think back. Now the sun, they say, is losing about... been a while since I've read how much it's losing... something like 200 million tons per second of mass. At that rate, in ten billion years it will no longer be able to support life upon the earth. So if you want something to worry about, think about that.

So because the sun is losing this much mass, the sun could not have always existed. Because if you added that much mass to the sun back to infinity, it would have meant that the sun at one time filled the entire universe. If you kept adding it would. So the sun is gradually reducing. It's like Herschel Genes, the scientist said that the earth is like a giant clock that was wound up and is slowly winding down. The first and second laws of thermodynamics, laws of entropy, and the gradual erosion and wearing down of the material world.

So you have to think of a time when the earth didn't exist if you go back far enough. So in your mind go back just as far as you can possibly think back. Now as you go back in your mind, as far as you can go back, there comes a point, it's sort of a vanishing point. In other words, you just can't think of anything before that. It sort of fades out into a vanishing point. That's this Hebrew word everlasting, from this vanishing point.

Now in your mind think forward as far as you can think on into eternity. Now they say that if a little bird will go down here to Huntington Beach and take a drop of water in its beak out of the surf there, and every morning as the sun would rise, would take one hop towards New York. And when the little bird arrived in New York, it would drop that water in New York harbor. And then start back a hop a day towards Huntington Beach again. By the time that little bird emptied the Pacific Ocean into the Atlantic Ocean, the first day of eternity would just be getting its start. So think of out in the future to the vanishing point, you know. You think out so far and then it just vanishes. So the Hebrew word has that as its meaning. Actually, literally from the vanishing point as far as I can think until my mind just hits the vanishing point, to as far out as I can think this way, till my mind hits the vanishing point, you're God. You've existed. You will exist.

There is even a Hebrew word that is stronger than that. It is beyond the vanishing point. You know, when I get to the vanishing point, and then out beyond that. And that's the strongest word in Hebrew for the eternity. It's beyond the vanishing point. But vanishing point is far enough for me. From everlasting to everlasting God has existed.

You turn man to destruction; and you say, Return, ye children of men. For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night ( Psalms 90:3-4 ).

So the relativity of time. A thousand years is just like a day as far as the Lord is concerned. Now Peter tells this in talking to us about the coming again of Jesus Christ. He said, "In the last days, there will be scoffers that will come saying, 'Oh, where is the promise of His coming? Since our fathers have fallen asleep, everything continues as they were from the beginning.'" ( 2 Peter 3:3 , 2 Peter 3:4 ) God's not going to come. You know, where is it? Where is the promise? He is not here. And Peter said you've got to realize that a thousand years is as a day unto the Lord and a day is as a thousand years. So time is only relative to us. We think in the terms of time. We always think in terms of linear time. Here's the beginning; here's the end. Here's my birth; here's my death. Time in a linear way.

But that's because we are involved in matter. But if we weren't matter, then time wouldn't matter. Time only matters to matter. According to Einstein's theory of relativity, actually, time doesn't exist. Only except in matter. And so time can be stretched if you're going fast enough. So, in according to his theory, that if you can accelerate yourself to the speed of light, time would stand still. So if you could accelerate yourself to the speed of light and head out for the Andromeda galaxy, about... oh, let's not go to the Adromeda galaxy, that's too far. Let's go to Proxima, or Alpha Centauri. They're our closest solar neighbors. Traveling on this ray of light you could get to Centauri, Alpha Centauri, you could get there in four-and-a-half years. You could make the round-trip in nine years. But when you got back though, you would be the same age. Time would have stood still for you because of the speed at which you were traveling. When you got back, the earth would be nine years older. Your wife would be nine years older than you are at this point. Now, if you went further, if you did go to Andromeda galaxy, one million five hundred thousand light years out there, you'd come back in three million years. Now the whole earth would be different by that time. You'd look around you wouldn't find any of your friends. But you would only be, you know, a matter of hours older, because time would have stood still because of the speed you were traveling. Because if you travel that fast, you're going to turn into energy, and because you have no materials, you're just energy at that point, then time ceases to exist. This is the idea of the relativity, Einstein's theory of relativity. And so there's no way that we can really prove it. So you just have to accept it because he was a smart man.

But it is interesting that the Bible does hint to relativity of time as far as God is concerned. "A thousand years in Your sight is like yesterday when it's past." And, as Peter said, "A day is as a thousand years to the Lord, a thousand years is as a day."

Now that is interesting in the light of in the book of Hosea, he speaks of Israel sort of being out of the land, dispersed for two years. And he said, "And in the third year, I will raise her up and she will dwell in the land." Or, "for two days," rather, "and in the third day... " "After two days He will revive us, and in the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight" ( Hosea 6:2 ). And so Israel was destroyed and dispersed from the land for about two thousand years. And now they've been raised up again. And so, a thousand years is as a thousand years to the Lord... a day is as a thousand years.

So you say, "Oh, but the Lord's waiting so long to come back." Yeah, a couple days. Relativity of time.

You carry them away as with a flood; they are as a sleep: in the morning they are like grass which grows up. In the morning it flourishes, it grows up; in the evening and it cuts down, and withers ( Psalms 90:5-6 )

So life is just so temporal.

We are consumed by your anger, and by your wrath we are troubled. You have set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins are in the light of your countenance. For all of our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told ( Psalms 90:7-9 ).

Now, not only is time relative, and this is where we really come into trouble understanding this, because it really begins to get weird at this point. When you are released from this linear timeframe that we are existing in, and you can enter into the timelessness of eternity, there is then no past and or no future, but everything is present, because now you're released from time. And in time, we know past, present, future. But released from the linear time zone, then the past or the future do not exist; everything is now in the present. Now the writer of Eccleciastes tried to describe that and he only made it more confusing. But, of course, our minds can't grasp it anyhow, so it would just boggle our minds to try to conceive it.

But that which is past, he said, is now. And that which shall be has already been. And God requires that which is past. So figure that one out and you've got eternity wired. Everything happening now, so that in this relativity of time, in reality, our lives are spent like a story that's already been told. We're like a re-run as far as God is concerned, because God living outside of the time dimension can see the whole picture at once.

As James said, "You know the end from the beginning." Or James said actually, "Known unto Him are all things from the beginning," because He is outside of the linear timeframe. Thus, as God looks down, He sees the whole picture, where we are looking at it from day to day, and today and yesterday and tomorrow, God sees the whole thing. He sees the end from the beginning. And as far as God is concerned, we're just in a re-run. It's just something He can already see, the whole scene, the end results, and the whole thing on out.

He knows the end from the beginning. Now there would be fantastic advantages to be able to be released from our linear timeframe references and to become, to come outside of timeframe and be able to see as God sees, the whole thing. John had that experience, the book of Revelation. He said, "I, John, was in the spirit unto the day of the Lord." God took him in the time chamber and he took him on out past the day in which we're even living. And the Lord showed to John the things that are going to be taking place on the earth after the church is taken out and the earth is undergoing the Great Tribulation period. And John saw events that are going to take place on the earth. Described the events as he saw them in this time chamber that God just released him from the timeframe, linear timeframe that we experience and took him outside of it. And John was able to see down the road and he described in the book of Revelation things that yet have not happened, but surely will happen, for God released him outside of the timeframe reference.

So God existing out of the timeframe reference knows. He knows your life. He knows the end of your life. He knows the whole score. You spend your life like a story that's already been told. It's just like watching USC play Washington today on television when they replayed the game. It's already over; it's already done. The score's already been established. You're just watching something that already happened. And that's the way God looks at your life, is like it's already happened. He knows already what the score is.

So those whom He foreknew, "those whom He foreknew, He did also predestinate. And those that he predestinated, He also chose" ( Romans 8:29-30 ). So God chose you in Christ when? After you were born and after you came forward? No, God chose you in Christ before the foundations of the world, because He is outside of the timeframe zone and He could look down and He could see the whole end. He could see your life and the whole end of your life and on out, and He sees out because time doesn't exist with God. He lives outside of time. So on the basis of this ability of being outside of the linear timeframe reference, God then made His choices. All right! He chose me! Isn't that neat?

Having that kind of wisdom, He'd never choose a loser. So the fact that God has chosen me, that automatically writes me in. I'm a winner. For what God has begun in me, He's going to finish. Now we have difficulty with the concept of pre-destination and election, chosen in Him and so forth. We have difficulty with that because we only think, and we can only think, we're limited in our thinking, to this linear timeframe reference. And that's what makes it hard to understand, "Well, how could God choose me? That isn't fair God choose me," and so forth. Oh, if He wants to choose me, that's all right. I'm not going to argue. I'm only going to rejoice. Chosen in Him.

So I spend my life like a story that's already been told. God knows the end of it. He knows the final chapter. I don't know that yet. I'm coming into it, you know, and I'm discovering the things that God has already known. Anything I ever discover is something that God has already known. I'm only discovering things that God has. I'm not discovering new truth. New truth doesn't exist. God has already known all these things. They are unfolding to me as I go along. But God... and so I love this whole concept that Moses gets into of the nature of God, the eternal nature of God from everlasting to everlasting. Outside, so our lives are as a tale that has been told.

The days of our years ( Psalms 90:10 )

Now here I am in this linear timeframe, and I'll spend seventy years in this linear timeframe, perhaps.

And if I go to eighty, it will be with great labor and sorrow; and I can be sure that I'm soon going to be cut off, and fly away ( Psalms 90:10 ),

When you get up there.

Who knows the power of your anger? even according to your fear, so is your wrath. So teach us, Lord, to number our days ( Psalms 90:11-12 ),

Now I'm living in this time zone so, God, teach me to number my days that I might really use the time that I am here to the best advantage. God has given me an allotted span of time. God has given me, in this timeframe, an allotted span of time. In this front timeframe, there's a line down here that God knows, I don't know it yet, but there's a line down here that God says that's the end of Chuck as far as his existence in the timeframe reference. God knows the day in which my soul and spirit are going to leave this body. God knows the day that I'm going to depart from this body. He already knows the day; He already knows the circumstances by which my soul and spirit will depart from the body. He already knows that. He's already made the appointment for me. It's a date down here, there's a time down here that God knows. I don't know it. I'm coming into it. I live by progressive revelation, but God already knows. He's already established. I don't know when it might be. It might be much sooner than what I'm anticipating. I may not even get to the threescore and ten. I personally don't think I will have lost anything if I don't. But God help me to use wisely each day. Lord, teach me to number my days, because I don't know when the day of opportunity of my serving God is going to come to an end. So Lord, teach me to number my days that I might incline my heart to wisdom, that I might use wisely the time that I'm here. Use it to its best advantage for God.

Oh, we waste so much precious time in front of that stupid television. An evil device that is designed to rob you of precious time, making men very shallow because it's filling their minds with emptiness. God, teach me to number my days.

that I might apply my heart to wisdom. Return, O LORD, how long? let it repent thee concerning your servants. O satisfy us early with your mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all of our days ( Psalms 90:12-14 )

I don't know how many days I have but, God, I want to live a happy life, rejoice and be glad.

Make us glad according to the days wherein you've afflicted us, and the years wherein we have seen evil. Let thy work appear unto thy servants, and thy glory unto their children ( Psalms 90:15-16 ).

And then the prayer of Moses I think is absolutely gorgeous.

Let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish it ( Psalms 90:17 ).

The prayer, though, "Let the beauty of the Lord be upon my life." We used to sing a chorus years ago when I was a little kid, "Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me. All of His wonderful passion and purity. O Thou Spirit divine. All mine nature refine, till the beauty of Jesus be seen in me."

Oh, let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us, beauty of God might be seen in our lives and through our lives and through the works of our lives. Let God's beauty show forth to this needy world.

Shall we stand.

May God be with you and watch over you during the week and God help us that we might number our days, incline our hearts to wisdom. Use the time that God has given us this week to serve Him, to lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven. And may the Spirit of God work in your heart and life conforming you into the image of Christ, that the beauty of the Lord our God might be seen by others as you walk with Him this week. God bless you, keep His hand upon you. In Jesus' name. "

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Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Psalms 90". "Smith's Bible Commentary". 2014.