The Brevity of Life

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“Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting You are God. You turn man back to the dust, and say, “Turn back, O children of men!” – Psalm 90:2-3

Moses likens our life span to a dream and to grass. The end of life is like the morning when we awake only to realize we were dreaming. Like grass, not a cedar or oak, we grow for a short season and die. Moses contrasts the frailty and brevity of human life with the timelessness of God. His prayer is a reminder of the way things are.

By divine decree God returns us to dust. “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all their host by the breath of His mouth.” God spoke and the worlds came into existence, and by His word “turn back” we become dust. “All our days pass away under thy wrath.” Sin guarantees the wrath of God; it is contrary to His nature to respond otherwise. Redemption requires death. How terrible if we were locked into a body prone to fatigue, sickness, and pain without any hope of escape. “All our days pass away; they are soon gone, and we fly away.” Moses, the author of Genesis, may have been thinking of the Patriarchs, many of whom lived almost a thousand years. The brevity of life is an expression of grace for those who hope in Jesus Christ.

In this we see His wrath and grace meeting perfectly. His wrath demands the justice of the cross, and His grace uses His wrath to shorten our days as He prepares us for heaven.

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