Psalm 90: Dust in the Wind

Pastor Jon Brohn

Worship Series: Psalms - For the Season of End Times
Worship Theme: Psalm 90 - Dust in the Wind

Lesson & Sermon Text: Psalm 90 (EHV)
Gospel: Matthew 25:31-46 (NIV)
Music: I Was Glad, CW 441 O God, Our Help in Ages Past, Lamb of God, CW 406 This Is the Threefold Truth (in worship folder)
Song by Grades 1: Now Thank We All Our God
Message Notes & Growth Group Questions

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Message: Psalm 90 - Dust in the Wind

Did you hear the heading of this Psalm? Moses, the man of God. I am that man, granted, an old man, but that’s me. I have to chuckle at that heading. It sounds like I’m someone really special, really important. There was a time when I thought I was. Did you know that I was once a prince of Egypt? That’s right—I was part of Pharaoh’s family. Kind of ironic, isn’t it? A Hebrew boy, who should have been drowned in the Nile River, ended up living right under Pharaoh’s nose. His daughter drew me up from the river in the little basket my mother had made. In fact, that’s why my name is Moses. It means “draw up.” My adoptive mom made sure I had the best of everything. I “was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians,” and I “was powerful in [my] words and actions” (Acts 7:21-22 EHV). That was me. At that time I wasn’t the man of God. I was the man of Egypt!

My pride was my downfall. Soon after I realized that I was a Hebrew, and that the Egyptians had enslaved my people, I looked for ways to help them. My plans didn’t work out very well. I murdered an Egyptian who had beaten one of my fellow Hebrews. Pharaoh wanted to kill me, so I ran away. I ended up in the land of Midian, far enough away from Pharaoh that I would be safe. My life changed, and that’s putting it mildly. I went from living in a palace to tending sheep. Those were simple days, but good ones. I got married, and my wife Zipporah and I had two wonderful sons. Ah, but I’m losing my focus. That’s ancient history—you don’t need to hear my life’s story.

I’m supposed to be telling you about that title, Moses, the man of God. The first time I met God, I remember how afraid I was. I saw a bush that was burning, but never burned up. As I approached it, I heard God’s voice call to me, “Moses! Moses!” (Exodus 3:4 EHV). That was the beginning of a special relationship with God. Whenever he came to me, he revealed who he was with his WORD. That day he told me who he was—“I AM.” He called me to action. I would lead the Hebrews out of Egypt, setting them free from slavery, and into a new land, the land God had promised to Abraham almost 1500 years earlier. Our God is so different from me and you. “Before the mountains were born, before you gave birth to the earth and the world, from eternity to eternity you are God” (Psalm 90:2 EHV). Those words have been in my heart ever since I recorded the opening statement of the Bible. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1 EHV). God and his WORD have always been there, and his WORD brought me into existence. That’s why I can be called the man of God.

I am thankful to be called Moses, the man of God when I see how he has revealed himself in POWER. I have seen some incredible miracles during my lifetime—God’s POWER at work! He gave me the ability to put my hand inside my coat, and when I pulled it out, it was diseased. I could put it back in, pull it out again, and it would be completely healthy. I threw down my staff (which was called the staff of God) and it would turn into a snake. When I picked it up by its tail, it turned back into a staff. That was just the beginning. God sent ten different plagues against Egypt, each more destructive and terrifying than the last. God’s angel of death came during the last plague and took the lives of Egypt’s firstborn sons. God’s POWER in that plague finally caused Pharaoh to set us free. Pharaoh demanded that we leave, and we did!

God’s POWER led us along the way. We knew where to go because he went in front of us with a pillar of cloud during the day, and a pillar of fire during the night. He helped us escape Pharaoh’s soldiers by guiding us across the Red Sea on dry land. When we were thirsty in the middle of the desert, he gave us water from a rock! We were hungry, and he gave us the bread of angels—manna! We had quail, so many quail eat. When enemies tried to attack us or keep us from passing through their territory, God gave us victory! I have to shout it again, “You are God!!!” (Psalm 90:2 EHV).

I am so thankful for God’s WORD, and humbled by his POWER. Who am I compared to him? Where does that leave me, Moses, the man of God? I have to be honest—at one time I thought I was all that, and more. I was the man of God who stood on top of Mt. Sinai in God’s presence. I talked with God. I held two tablets of stone that God himself has inscribed with his finger. I was the Law Giver! I was the miracle worker! I was the man who would lead the Hebrews into the Promised Land. I was the man. I too quickly forgot that I was supposed to be the man of God. I was his creation, his tool, his instrument, not the other way around.

Who am I? Once I compared myself to God, I finally figured it out.

God is the eternal, unchanging ROCK, unaffected by time and history. Me? I am just a speck of dust ground to bits under that Rock. I have spent 120 years here on earth, a long time—gone in an instant, with a snap of the fingers.

God is LIFE. He has always been LIFE and always will be. Me, I am a blade of grass that too quickly withers and falls to the ground.

God is ANGRY, and his anger is like a fire that will not go out until it has consumed everything in its path. We are just fuel for the fire, because he sees who we are. He knows what we have done. “You have laid out our guilty deeds in front of you. Our hidden sins are revealed in the light of your face” (Psalm 90:8 EHV). I know this because I experienced it. Do you know why I had to write this psalm on a mountain top? Do you know why I wasn’t allowed to write it on the other side of the Jordan River? Because God knew my GUILTY deeds and hidden sins. I was GUILTY, GUILTY of just one thing. You might think it sounds harsh. The people had been complaining again—what was new? They always complained about something. It was over the lack of water again. “Why did you bring us out here to die?” (Numbers 20). God told me to speak to the rock and provide water for everyone. I was so angry, and frustrated. I had enough, so I gave them water, all right. I took the staff of God and hit the rock twice as I yelled at those rebels. Water came out. God saw my guilty deed and my hidden sin. I was proud. I would provide water as I saw fit. I was wrong, and I would face the consequences for my sin. I wouldn’t enter the Promised Land.

Plenty of my fellow Hebrews didn’t either. Their stubbornness, their complaints, and their lack of trust would be their downfall too. An entire generation died in the wilderness as we wandered for 40 long years. My wife. My sons. They never saw the fulfillment of that promise. Me. “The days of our lives add up to seventy years, or eighty years if we are strong. Yet the best of them are trouble and sorrow, for they disappear quickly” (Psalm 90:10 EHV). We are here for a moment in time. Even the best part of our time on earth is filled with all kinds of trouble and sorrow. You know it as well as I. You have felt the weakness of your human body. Each day we age brings us one day closer to the dust. These muscles that were once strong enough to lift heavy objects, ache and complain at every movement. The eyes that could see things in the distance clearly, strain to see markings on a page. Ears that could hear the slightest sound struggle to sift through background noise. “We finish our years like a sigh” (Psalm 90:9 EHV). We groan in a hospice bed, breath wheezing, and finally, mercifully stopping. “We fly away” (Psalm 90:10).

This God of ours is serious. His anger is real. His fury is terrifying. I have seen it. No one can stand before him, not Moses, the man of God, or anyone else. We need his help. We cry out, “Turn, O LORD! How long! Change your mind toward your servants. Satisfy us in the morning with your mercy, so that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.” (Psalm 90:13–14 EHV). Satisfy us, Adonai, great I AM! Fill us up, faithful Savior God! Not with manna and quail. Fill us with your chesed. Oh, sorry—I forget that you don’t speak Hebrew. Chesed is a hard word for me to put into your language. The best word I can think of is “mercy.” That doesn’t even cover it. This one word holds the idea of God’s covenant love. God’s covenant love brought you and me into this world. Chesed provided us a beautiful place to live. It draws us into a relationship with him. In order to accomplish all that, God would have to send someone. No, not just someone. God’s love sent Jesus to be one of us, to live with us, so that we could have a relationship with him. Jesus is the WORD of God. He is the POWER of God. He is God’s chesed in action!

I didn’t get to meet Jesus before I left this earth. I know him. I stand in his presence every day. I watched him as he prepared for his earthly work. I had the privilege, along with Elijah, of encouraging Jesus on top of a mountain shortly before he went to the cross. I knew that only Jesus could satisfy us in the morning with his mercy, and I thank God that he did! How else could I say, “Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, for as many years as we have seen trouble” (Psalm 90:15 EHV). Be glad for affliction and trouble? For all the rebellion I had to deal with? Glad about plague and disease that affected my people when they turned against God? Glad when people took out their frustrations against my leadership and tried to take over from me? Glad that my wife and children and a whole generation of Hebrews perished in the wilderness? Glad that I am stuck here on this mountaintop and not able to set foot on the land I desperately wanted to enter?

It’s all right here: “Let your deeds be seen by your servants and your majesty by their children. May the kindness of the Lord our God rest upon us. Establish the work of our hands for us. Yes, establish the work of our hands” (Psalm 90:16–17 EHV). I didn’t make it into the Promised Land, but God made sure his people did. My grandchildren and great-grandchildren made it. LORD, my life was always yours. I led your people, imperfectly, but with your blessing I led them. I wrote down the stories of your chesed so they could hear it and abandon themselves to your love, the love they could only find in your WORD. I wanted them to hear the stories of your POWER so they knew you were always with them. LORD, make that work of my hands stand strong and solid for the generations to come! The LORD did—and you get to hear about it.

What about you? What work of your hands do you want to be a rock-solid foundation for your family? Your church family? Your neighbors? Your friends? Your enemies? It starts by saying your name, followed by the man / woman of God. When we are able to see ourselves as we really are—sinful and guilty—and see God as he really is—the judge who has rescued us from sin and death in Jesus, we are the man / woman of God. Everyone around us will see it, and hear it, and experience it, because that’s who we are. That’s how we live. Lord, establish the work of our hands. Yes, establish the work of our hands! Amen!