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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible

Psalms 90



Verses 1-17

Psalms 90 is entitled “A Prayer of Moses the man of God,” and it furnishes a suitable prayer for every man of God. Any men of God who have had experience as deep, and trying, and varied as that of Moses will be the better able to enter into the spirit of the Psalm.

Psalms 90:1. LORD thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations.

“This world in which we live is no home for our immortal spirits. Thou givest us habitations for our bodies, but they are no dwelling places for our spirits that are of a nobler order. We dwell in thee, O Lord; thou art our home. Beneath thy wide wings we find blessed shelter, and in communion with thee our hearts are kept in perfect peace. Lord, thou art the home of thy people in all generations; — not only in the generations that are past, when Noah, and Abraham and Moses, and David, and all thine ancient servants found a refuge in thee, but even to this day thou art still our strong castle and our high tower our refuge and place of defense, our dwelling place even in this generation.”

Psalms 90:2. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.

When compared with God, those hoary hills are but as infants of a day, and the whole round world itself is but as a new-born child. “From everlasting” has he existed, — when all created things slept in his infinite mind like unborn forests sleep in an acorn cup, and so on for ever, “to everlasting,” — when all created things shall have dissolved, when back to nothing this fair world shall have gone, — God shall still be the same. He is a rook that cannot be removed. There is no terra firma upon this earth; but while all things are whirling around us, we find a firm dwelling place beyond the stars in the ever-living and immutable Jehovah. No man’s home is safe unless it is built on something more stable than this poor trembling earth, but he who rests on God, and lives in God, has the best of all habitations wherein to dwell in safety for ever.

Psalms 90:3. Thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest, Return, ye children of men.

Man is mortal, conspicuously so. As we walk about our streets, how we miss our old companions one by one. They have returned to the bosom of mother earth whence they first sprang. The inhabitants of this world seem to pass in procession before our eyes; those who were here a few minutes ago are gone past, and another rank has come, and another, and another and they will soon all be gone, and we shall be gone too. He, then, who hopes to find a home amongst the sons of men will miss it, but he who makes the eternal God his habitation shall still be at home in the Lord even when wife, and child, and brother, and friend all sleep in the silence of the sepulcher.

Psalms 90:4. For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.

Our measurements of time are nothing to God. There is nothing past and nothing future with him, all things are present in the eternal Now of God. What a wonderful truth this is of the eternal existence of God, and what boundless comfort it brings to the man who feels that this God is his God, his Father, his Friend, and his All-in-all!

Psalms 90:5-6. Thou carriest them away as with a flood; they are as a sleep: in the morning they are like grass which groweth up. In the morning it flourisheth, and groweth up; in the evening it is cut down, and withereth.

Such is the best estate of man, a field bedecked with daisies, kingcups, and other frail flowers, but the mower’s scythe is near, you may hear him sharpening it; and, soon, along the sword all the sons of men shall fall, and thou who hast found thy hope, thy heaven, thy confidence here, how poor wilt thou be in the end thereof; but O thou who hast sent all thine hearts desires upwards to thy God, thou who art living in the future, living in the infinite, how secure art thou, for no rust shall fret thy gold, no moth consume thy garments! Thou art blessed indeed.

Psalms 90:7. For we are consumed by thine anger, and by thy wrath are we troubled.

Yes, if the Lord lets even a little of his wrath out for a while against his servants, how greatly do we suffer! Blessed be his name, it never is real anger against his own chosen people. He does but hide his love under the form of wrath, just as a father never really hates his child, and even though he is angry with him for his faults, and chastises him, yet there is more love than wrath in every blow of the rod. Still, it is a sad thing to lose the sense of God’s love in the heart, it consumes us and troubles us. We could bear sickness, we could bear slander or persecution, or almost anything out the absence of the light of God’s countenance; that is the worst of trials to his children.

Psalms 90:8-10. Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance. For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told. The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.

A long life or a short life, what a little difference it makes when the last hour comes! The patriarch as well as the child descendeth to the grave and all, as they sleep in their separate graves, seem only to have lived for a little moment, and then to have passed away.

Psalms 90:11. Who knoweth the power of thine anger? even according to they fear, so is thy wrath.

God grant that none of us may ever know experimentally the power of his anger; but may we know it, as a matter of faith, so as to tremble concerning it, and so as to flee to Christ to be delivered from it! But what must it be really to feel the power of God’s anger? I implore you never to believe any teaching that seems to make God’s anger less terrible than you thought it to be. It is not possible to exaggerate here, the power of God’s anger is immeasurable, and that is why the power of Christ’s atonement is infinite.

Psalms 90:12. So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.

That is the great matter, after all, to get the heart applied to wisdom, to learn what is the right way, and to walk in it in the practical actions of daily life. It is of little use for us to learn to number our days if it merely enables us to sit down in self-confidence and carnal security; but if our hearts be applied to true wisdom, the Lord’s teaching has been effectual.

Psalms 90:13-14. Return, O LORD, how long? and let it repent thee concerning thy servants. O satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.

Dear young people, here is a suitable prayer for you to present to God: “O satisfy us early with thy mercy.” Believe me, there is no joy for a lad like that of loving the Lord Jesus Christ while he is yet young; and O ye maidens, there is no fairer jewel that you can ever wear than that of love to Jesus Christ.

“’Twill save us from a thousand snares To mind religion young;

Grace will preserve our following years,

And make our virtues strong.”

And each one of us may pray this prayer. “Lord, now give us thy mercy! If we are unsaved, let us not remain so! If we have lost the comfort of thy presence for a while, restore it to us now! Leave us not long in darkness, but satisfy us early with thy mercy!”

Psalms 90:15. Make us glad according to the days wherein thou hast afflicted us, and the years wherein we have seen evil.

It is right, then, to pray for joy. Indeed, joy is so conspicuous a blessing to a Christian, it is so closely connected with the healthfulness of all his virtues that he should seek after it until he finds it.

Psalms 90:16. Let thy work appear unto thy servants, and thy glory unto their children.

“Lord, let us see thy work here! Oh, for thy name’s sake, take thy right hand out of thy bosom, and work mightily in our midst! Withdraw not the working of the Holy Ghost from us thy people! Let thy work of conversion, thy work of edification, thy work of the conquest of the world, appear unto thy servants!”

Psalms 90:17. And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.

“Let not what we do for thee fall to the ground like a badly-built wall! Let not our work be consumed in the great testing fire, ‘but the work of our hands establish thou it!’”

This exposition consisted of readings from Psalms 90.; and Acts 27:1-26.


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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Psalms 90:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". 2011.

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