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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Psalms 90:16

 

 

Let Your work appear to Your servants And Your majesty to their children.

Adam Clarke Commentary

Let thy work appear unto thy servants - That thou art working for us we know; but O, let thy work appear! Let us now see, in our deliverance, that thy thoughts towards us were mercy and love.

And thy Glory - Thy pure worship be established among our children for ever.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Psalms 90:16". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/psalms-90.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Let thy work appear unto thy servants - That is, thy gracious work of interposition. Let us see thy power displayed in removing these calamities, and in restoring to us the days of health and prosperity.

And thy glory unto their children - The manifestation of thy character; the display of thy goodness, of thy power, and thy grace. Let this spreading and wasting evil be checked and removed, so that our children may live, and may have occasion to celebrate thy goodness, and to record the wonders of thy love.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Psalms 90:16". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/psalms-90.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Psalms 90:16

Let Thy work appear unto Thy servants, and Thy glory unto their children.

The religious consecration of our households

I. Truths suggested in this prayer.

1. That real religion, wherever it exists, is a Divine production in the human mind. “Thy works,” etc. It is a work, and a work of God. God begins it.

2. That they who have experienced its power and preciousness themselves are anxious for its prevalence among those most dear to them. “Their children.”

3. That the preservation of religion in families is a leading object of God’s dispensations.

4. That it becomes the young, as they rise to years of consciousness and maturity, to unite their prayers with the prayers that are offered on their behalf. O satisfy us with Thy mercy.

II. Encouragements to present this prayer.

1. It is a point in which God’s glory, and man’s good, are found to meet and centre. You do not run counter to the tide of Divine designs, but in unison. It is God’s work, and God’s glory.

2. It is a subject to which the richest promises are made.

3. It has been amply answered in every age.

III. Practical hints for our own conduct.

1. Aim to be the instrument of fulfilling your own prayer. Show them God’s glory.

2. Take heed there is nothing in your conduct to counteract your instruction.

3. Ascribe to God all the glory of success. (Evangelist.)

Desire that God would let His work appear

I. The “work” of God, as mentioned here, denotes, primarily, the establishment of Israel in the promised land of Canaan; ultimately, the preparation of the way for the Messiah and His Church.

II. When this “work” may be said to “appear.” It may be described as appearing anew in different periods; as a work, delayed at times, yet “revived in the midst of the years.” Often, after seeming to have let alone His work, has the Divine Being awoke, laid bare His arm, and set His hand a second time to His unfinished work. The degree of piety prevailing at any time is the gauge by which we may measure that progress of this work in the prosperity of Israel.

III. Why it is so desirable that this prayer should be accomplished. The first concern of a Christian is, that his own life may be given to him as a prey; that He who has begun may perform the good work of His grace in his own soul: the second is, that the same good work may extend to others; that they also may be sharers with ourselves of the same salvation.

1. This desire is the dictate of piety,--of a regard to the glory of God.

2. It is equally the dictate of benevolence,--of a regard for the happiness of others. (R. Hall, M.A.)

Work and glory

This psalm has the threefold interest of subject, of authorship, and of association. Of subject, because it contrasts and combines God and man in the most thrilling and yet most natural way. All the greatness of God and all the weakness of man, and this so as to draw man to God in the longing cry, “ Let Thy work appear to us, let the beauty,” etc. And this interest is enhanced by the bare possibility that we read in this psalm, “a prayer of Moses, the man of God.” How wonderful was his history, second only in interest to that of our Lord. And then the associations of this psalm--read as it is over the grave of our beloved departed ones. Therefore our attention is aroused when we come to consider the teachings of such a psalm.

I. “Show thy servants thy work” God worketh everywhere and always. Above all in Christ, in the Holy Ghost, and in all the operations of His grace. But man sees it not. Many things hide it. God must show it to him. And here Moses prays that his people may be made to see God’s work. Let us, as we need to, make the prayer our own.

II. “and their children thy glory.” The glory spoken of is the self-manifestation of God. There might, in conception at least, have been God and no glory. But it pleased Him not thus to be. He came forth to communicate, to recreate, to redeem. That forthcoming was outshining. And Moses prayed not only for the generation then living, but for their children. What better prayer can parents offer for their children than this? What better defence against the anxiety on their behalf which they feel so often and so keenly? And God has, in large degree, answered for us this prayer. Let us be grateful for the blessing, and let us hand it on. Never consent that your children should receive a Godless education. The prayer of the patriot, like that of the saint, must be, “Show the children Thy glory.” (Dean Vaughan.)


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Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Psalms 90:16". The Biblical Illustrator. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/psalms-90.html. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Let thy work appear unto thy servants,.... Either the work of Providence, in conducting the people of Israel through the wilderness, and bringing them into the land of Canaan; which God had promised to do for them, especially for their posterity, and therefore their "children" are particularly mentioned in the next clause; or the work of salvation, as Kimchi; even the great work of redemption by the Messiah, which is the work of God, which he determined should be done, appointed his Son to do, and gave it him for that purpose now this was spoken of, and promised, as what should be done; but as yet it did not appear; wherefore it is prayed for, that it might; that the Redeemer might be sent, and the work be done: or else the work of grace upon the heart, which is God's work, and an internal one, and not so obvious to view; and hence it is entreated, that, being wrought by him, he would shine upon it, bear witness to it, and make it manifest that it was really wrought, and a genuine and true work; and moreover this may reach to and include the great work of God, to be brought about in the latter day, respecting the conversion of the Jews, the bringing in the fulness of the Gentiles, the destruction of antichrist, and the establishment and glory of the kingdom of Christ:

and thy glory unto their children; the glory of God, displayed in the above works of providence and grace, particularly in the work of redemption, in which all the divine perfections are glorified; or Christ himself, who is the brightness of his Father's glory, that he would appear to them in human nature, and dwell among them; and they behold his glory, as they afterwards did, John 1:14, or else the sense is, that the glorious grace of God might appear unto them, and upon them, by which they would be made all glorious within, and be changed into the image of Christ, from glory to glory; or that the Shechinah, the glorious majesty and presence of God, might be among them, and be seen by them in his sanctuary, Psalm 63:2.


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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Psalms 90:16". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/psalms-90.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

n Let thy work appear unto thy servants, and thy glory unto their o children.

(n) Even your mercy, which is the chiefest work.

(o) As God's promises belong well to their poverty, as to them, so Moses prays for the posterity.


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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Psalms 90:16". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/psalms-90.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

thy work — or, providential acts.

thy glory — (Psalm 8:5; Psalm 45:3), the honor accruing from Thy work of mercy to us.


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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 90:16". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/psalms-90.html. 1871-8.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

16Let thy work appear towards thy servants. As God, when he forsakes his Church, puts on as it were a character different from his own, Moses, with much propriety, calls the blessing of protection which had been divinely promised to the children of Abraham God’s proper work. Although, therefore, God’s work was manifest in all the instances in which he had punished the perfidiousness, ingratitude, obstinacy, unruly lusts, and unhallowed desires of his people, yet Moses, by way of eminence, prefers before all other proofs of God’s power, that care which he exercised in maintaining the welfare of the people, by which it was his will that he should be principally known. This is the reason why Paul, in Romans 9:23, especially applies to the Divine goodness the honorable title of “glory.” God indeed maintains his glory by judging the world; but as nothing is more natural to him than to show himself gracious, his glory on that account is said to shine forth chiefly in his benefits. With respect to the present passage, God had then only begun to deliver his people; for they had still to be put in possession of the land of Canaan. Accordingly, had they gone no farther than the wilderness, the lustre of their deliverance would have been obscured. Besides, Moses estimates the work of God according to the Divine promise; and doing this he affirms that it will be imperfect and incomplete, unless he continue his grace even to the end. This is expressed still more plainly in the second clause of the verse, in which he prays not only for the welfare of his own age, but also for the welfare of the generation yet unborn. His exercise thus corresponds with the form of the covenant,

“And I will establish my covenant between me and thee, and thy seed after thee, in their generations, for an everlasting covenants to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee,”
(
Genesis 17:7.)

By this example we are taught, that in our prayers we ought to extend our care to those who are to come after us. As God has promised that the Church will be perpetuated even to the end of the world, — a subject which was brought under our notice in the preceding psalm, — this ought, in a special manner, to lead us in all the prayers by which we commend the welfare of the Church to him, to include, at the same time, our posterity who are yet unborn. Farther, the words glory and beauty are to be particularly noticed: from which we learn that the love which God bears towards us is unparalleled. Although, in enriching us with his gifts he gains nothing for himself; yet he would have the splendor and beauty of his character manifested in dealing bountifully with us, as if his beauty were obscured when he ceases to do us good. In the clause immediately succeeding, Direct the work of our hands upon us, Moses intimates that we cannot undertake or attempt anything with the prospect of success, unless God become our guide and counsellor, and govern us by his Spirit. Whence it follows, that the reason why the enterprises and efforts of worldly men have a disastrous issue is, because, in not following God, they pervert all order and throw everything into confusion. Nor is the word עלינו, alenu, upon us, superfluous; for although God converts to good in the end whatever Satan and the reprobate plot and practice against him or his people; yet the Church, in which God rules with undisturbed sway, has in this respect a special privilege. By his providence, which to us is incomprehensible, he directs his work in regard to the reprobate externally; but he governs his believing people internally by his Holy Spirit; and therefore he is properly said to order or direct the work of their hands. The repetition shows that a continual course of perseverance in the grace of God is required. It would not be enough for us to be brought to the midst of our journey. He must enable us to complete the whole course. Some translate, confirm or establish; and this sense may be admitted. I have, however, followed that translation which was more agreeable to the context, conceiving the prayer to be that God would direct to a prosperous issue all the actions and undertakings of his people.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Psalms 90:16". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/psalms-90.html. 1840-57.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

A MESSAGE OF UNDYING HOPE

‘Shew Thy servants Thy work: and their children Thy glory.’

Psalms 90:16 (Prayer Book Version)

The Psalmist here is looking out over a scene of great disappointment and failure. He sees in his mind’s eye human life in its beginning, and in its end. And as he looks out over so much apparent failure his heart fails him. As he looks out and draws near to the end of his reflection on life, he utters the words which prevent despair, for as he looks out upon the failures he looks also beyond, and he knows that the work of God can never fail. He knows that though the work may seem to fail, though one man lives and dies and has apparently wrought but little, there are other hands to take up the work, other voices to deliver the message.

I. No work for God fails.—That is the secret of the saints’ hope. They have done their work in fear and yet in faith, and they have laid themselves down, conscious that their work cannot fail. We, who reap the fruits of their labours, know, at any rate, that their toil has not been in vain. In our hand we hold the martyr’s robes, red with the blood of the faithful, and stained with the tears of the penitent. We understand as the inspiration of their lives falls upon us that their work is eternal And so, as we see the glory, as we gather where they have sown, we understand why it is that in the Kingdom of God there is no such thing as failure.

II. The call to duty.—That is the message of the past; it is not a sentimental reflection on the days which are gone, nor is it a tearful meditation upon things which are gone—but it is rather the call to duty. For if the past is our inspiration we are the fulfilment of its hopes and desires. The elders in every age are able to resign their tasks because they know that they will not appeal to the younger generation in vain. What answer shall we give them? Shall we not tell those whose days are being numbered that their faith is not misplaced, and that their confidence is sure? Shall we not tell them that we will take their creeds and cry them with passionate conviction and undying faith? Shall we not tell them that we, too, wish to continue to build the Church of the Living God upon earth, and that we will carry on the work they laid down in fear and yet in faith?

III. A message of undying hope.—And therefore, if the thought of the Psalmist becomes for us our warning and our hope, we of the younger generation do grow impatient as we wait for the Day of the Lord. We want to see Him King. We would take Him by force, if need be, as men tried to take Him of old; we want to see Him King in street, in lane, in home, in workshop; we want to see Him King wherever the evil passions of men are rending them as the devil rent them of old; we long with a great longing to-day for the crowning of Christ. I would ask of those who are young: ‘Does your heart fail you sometimes?’ Is life after all not quite what you had expected it to be? have your dreams been not all you thought they would have been? Have your hopes as yet been unrealised, and are you tempted to say sometimes: ‘It is of no consequence, I will lay it aside; I have no task, I have no duty,’ in the loneliness and solitude of your existence? If so, remember that you are the link between the past and the future, that to you it is given to do just what nobody else can do, to complete the unfinished task of those who went before you, and to lay the foundations of the work for those who come after you. Do not lose heart; every one has his task, and it is vitally important in the eyes of Him who sets us our duties. If there is a message to youth, is there not a message also to the aged? Ah, my heart goes out to you on whom the sun of life is setting! Will you be afraid to intrust to us of the younger generation the tasks of your lives? It is God’s work; trust it to us who are younger, and who are speeding up the hill of life, struggling to get a foothold and to do our duty; trust your tasks to us and you will not be disappointed, for the work is eternal and Divine.

Rev. J. A. V. Magee.

Illustration

‘The pitiable thing is that the time is so short; we can do so little in the short span of our life. That was indeed a pathetic picture which some years ago took the world by storm. It was the picture of an artist who sat before his unfinished canvas with his brush slipping from his nerveless and dying fingers, conscious that he must pass away before his work was finished. The tragedy and pathos of it was that the time was short, that he would have given his right hand for another year of life, and it was not given to him. That is our feeling, and therefore the message of the Psalmist rings out to-day its cry of eternal and undying hope, because it tells us that our unfinished work shall be finished. It tells us that there is no task which He has set us that God will not complete hereafter; no message that He has bidden us deliver which shall not be uttered in time.’


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Bibliography
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Psalms 90:16". Church Pulpit Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/psalms-90.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

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

Ver. 16. Let thy work appear] Thy proper work, which is to show mercy; for to do justice is thy work, thy strange work, Isaiah 28:21.

And thy glory unto their children] That they at least may enter into the land of Canaan, according to Numbers 14:31.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 90:16". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/psalms-90.html. 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

Psalms 90:16

This Psalm has a threefold interest: of subject, of authorship, and of association. It touches the most solemn, most momentous, most affecting point in the life of man. Its author is "Moses the man of God." It has been heard by us when standing in the presence of death.

I. The words of the text are in substance the prayer of Moses in Exodus, "I beseech Thee, show me Thy glory." They find their echo in Philip's prayer on the night of the Passion, "Lord, show us the Father." They are the cry of a soul feeling its want of Him in whom, known or unknown, averse or loving, it must live, and move, and have its being.

II. "Let Thy work appear unto Thy servants." "The Father worketh hitherto, and I work." Ill were it for the universe if the working hand were to rest one moment. God works everywhere and in all things, but man sees it not; it needs a separate work of God, as the text implies, to show His work. And therefore Moses prays this prayer for his people.

III. "And their children Thy glory." The glory spoken of is the self-manifestation of God. The far-reaching eye, the self-forgetting love, of the man who saw, but must not enter, the land of rest and of inheritance, looked onward into Israel's future, and while he prayed for the generation that was, thought also of the children that were yet unborn. "Show their children Thy glory," is a petition after the very heart of God, who takes it into the deepest and safest treasure-house of His own promises, and brings it forth thence in boundless blessing, when the lips which framed it have been silent for ages in death.

C. J. Vaughan, Christian World Pulpit, vol. ii., p. 46.


Reference: Psalms 90:16.—J. M. Neale, Sermons on Passages of the Psalms, p. 208.



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Bibliography
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Psalms 90:16". "Sermon Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/psalms-90.html.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Let that great and glorious work of giving thy people a complete deliverance, which thou hast long since designed and promised, be at last accomplished and manifested unto us, and in the sight of the world.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Psalms 90:16". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/psalms-90.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

16. Let thy work appear unto thy servants—By causing them to see the reasons of thy judgments, which seem to contradict the purpose and plan of salvation as promised to Abraham, and also by witnessing thy returning mercy. “The work of Jehovah is his realized salvation.”Delitzsch.

And thy glory—Thy works, whether of judgment or mercy, which, when understood, are the glory of thy character. “Glory,” here, is parallel to “work” in the previous member.

Unto their children—The coming generation, who are to inherit Canaan after their fathers shall have died in the wilderness. See Numbers 14:29; Numbers 14:31. The children should become acquainted with the glorious acts of God toward his covenant people; and they did, during the last days of Moses and the lives of Joshua and the Elders. But alas! for want of childhood culture the following generation “knew not the Lord,” and served Baalim. Judges 2:7-12


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Psalms 90:16". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/psalms-90.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Days. Eternity alone can satisfy the heart. --- Salvation. Or Jesus, who promised to manifest himself, John xiv. 21, 25. (Berthier) --- Abraham saw him afar off; Simeon at hand, John viii. 56., and Luke ii. 30. God insures the just a long life in this world, and an eternal one in the next. (Calmet) --- That life is long enough which ends in happiness. (Haydock)


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Psalms 90:16". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/psalms-90.html. 1859.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Let thy work appear unto thy servants, and thy glory unto their children.
Let
44:1; Numbers 14:15-24; Habakkuk 3:2
and
Numbers 14:30,31; Deuteronomy 1:39; Joshua 4:22-24; 23:14

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Psalms 90:16". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/psalms-90.html.

Commentary by J.C.Philpot on select texts of the Bible

Psalm 90:16

"Let your work appear unto your servants, and your glory unto their children." Psalm 90:16

"Let your work appear unto your servants." Creature works we here read nothing of. They had been long ago cut to the very ground. And what had been their deathblow? What had driven the dagger into their very heart? "Days of affliction, and years of evil." These had been their destruction; creature righteousness they had stabbed to the very heart, and let out the life-blood of human merit. There is no petition, then, "Let our works appear!" No. These were buried in the grave of corruption; these were swallowed up and lost in "days of affliction, and years of evil." But, "Let your work," the finished work of the Son of God; the obedience of Jesus to the law; the atoning blood which he shed upon Calvary"s tree; the work which he undertook, went through, and completed—"Oh," breathes forth the man of God in earnest cry (and our hearts if they have been taught by the same Spirit will unite in the same strain), "let your work appear unto your servants!"

What! can we not see that work in the word of God? is not that sufficient? Can we not hear that work set forth by good men? is not that sufficient? Can we not read it as opened up by the pen of ready writers? is not that sufficient? Yes; for those who have never seen "days of affliction, and years of evil," amply sufficient; but not for God"s exercised children; they have other thoughts and other feelings upon these matters. They know what darkness of mind Isaiah , the power of unbelief, and creature helplessness; and they know that nothing short of the light of God"s countenance, the manifestation of God"s mercy, and the teaching and witness of God the Spirit, can make the work of Jesus appear in all its beauty, suitability, and glory; and therefore they can say,

"Let your work appear unto your servants. Give me, Lord, a sight by living faith of the atonement of Jesus. Show me" (the soul would cry in the language of Moses), "show me your glory; reveal in my heart the finished work of Jesus; sprinkle my conscience with his atoning blood; discover him to me, and thus give me a sweet manifestation of his Person, love, blood, and complete salvation. Let it, Lord, appear before my eyes, and in my heart, and seal it with divine power upon my conscience."


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Bibliography
Philpot, Joseph Charles. "Commentary on Psalms 90:16". Commentary by J.C.Philpot on select texts of the Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jcp/psalms-90.html.

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