Psalm 90 (NRSV) Excerpted
Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God…For a thousand years in your sight are like yesterday when it is past, or like a watch in the night. You sweep them away; they are like a dream, like grass that is renewed in the morning; in the morning it flourishes and is renewed; in the evening it fades and withers… So teach us to count our days that we may gain a wise heart… Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, so that we may rejoice and be glad all our days… Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and prosper for us the work of our hands- O prosper the work of our hands!
I picture Moses up on Mount Nebo knowing he is about to die. He is resting on a rock ledge, back against an ancient, scrubby tree overlooking the valley below with the Jordan and the Dead Sea off in the distance. It is evening. He is watching the sun set. He is munching on a manna-cake made from that morning's scheduled delivery from heaven — as he has done every day for the last 40 years. God is there with him showing him the entire width and breadth of the Promised Land — a land Moses will never set foot in. I can feel the lament rising up in his heart.
Moses just spent his entire life pursuing a God-sized dream. For Moses, it had to be a life of constant frustration, disappointment, and frequent anger. He just led a million whining, complaining, kvetching Hebrew slaves across a desert and prepared them for the life to come. He handed the leadership flame to Joshua who would carry out the next step. But Moses, poor Moses, would not be there alongside Joshua to see the dream fulfilled.
So, I see him up on Mount Nebo humming a song to God. It is a song of lament, but is not the lament I would expect of a person who has pursued a dream his entire life only to have the curtain fall before the last act was complete. It is not a plea for forgiveness. It is not supplication crying for a change in God's heart to allow him to cross over the Jordan. It is instead a reflection on the awe of God (1-2), the frailty and limitations of human life (3-10), and a prayer for restoration of his people (13-17).
What wisdom would Moses lay on me if I was sitting there right next to him? I think the answer is right here in Psalm 90. As he pensively strokes his long white beard flowing into his lap, he says "Start your day with prayer, so that you begin your day satisfied, filled, with God's love. Rejoice that God is with you. Obey Him. Keep His commandments, so the favor of the Lord our God will be upon you. For then He will prosper the work of your hands all day long."
Rejoice that God is with me. Within me. His law is carved into my heart. And He will prosper the work of my hands.
As I sit here typing this, I am thinking of all of
you…creating, writing, managing, nursing, doctoring, volunteering, ministering and maybe even schlepping groceries and snotty-nosed, crabby kids with hands guided by Our Father. It gives me a whole
new perspective on "prosperity" and the goals we achieve
through the work of our hands. When God is at work through us, when
He is prospering us, there is no limit to the size of our dreams and the meaningfulness of our life's purpose.