At every stage of our lives, the work of our hands significantly impacts both this earthly realm we now occupy and the eternal one to come. Psalm 90 encourages us to continue with our efforts — large and small.
Several years ago, I retired from occupational employment and re-positioned myself into the full-time ministry of writing, artistry, and raising up faith-filled believers in God. The value of the work of our hands does not equate to the size of our paycheck at the end of each month. What we do carries eternal impact in the lives of many others. Only eternity will reveal the true merit of our efforts.
In reading Psalm 90, I find perspective to the ups and downs, and the successes and failures of life.
“Teach us to realize the brevity of life so that we may grow in wisdom.”
Another version says, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Of course, only God knows how many days we have been granted. Sadly, I have heard people say at the end of their life, “I thought I would have more time.” More time? For what? To do the things we knew to do earlier but didn’t do? For another chance to live better?
May we learn to appreciate and make the best of our days. May we have godly wisdom to realize this moment only comes once. We aren’t promised this opportunity tomorrow. Life is short — very short. Eternity is long — very long. With wisdom, may we live fully and love wholly, without regret and with eternity in focus.
Often, how we begin our day sets the trajectory for the rest of it.
“Satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love, so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives.”
If we awake each morning with a sense of gratitude, thankfulness forms the climate of the day. The psalmist had already learned that a thankful attitude comes not from circumstances but the “unfailing love” of God. When we are grounded and rooted in His love, the decision to choose joy comes much more easily.
The psalmist considers the shortness of his life on earth. He wants to finish well — settled and secure in God’s love.
Under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Moses wrote the words of Psalm 90. We gain a further glimpse into his heart in the next couple verses as he prays.
“Give us gladness in proportion to our former misery! Replace the evil years with good. Let us, your servants, see you work again; let our children see your glory.”
When we remember Moses, we often think of his great exploits in facing pharaoh and leading Israel out of Egypt. Or we remember him speaking face-to-face with God until God’s glory had settled on him.
But how quickly we forget about the Moses who was ripped from his family as a toddler and taught to worship every god but God. We forget about the Moses who fled for his life and spent forty years in the backside of a desert. Did Moses know misery? Absolutely! Had he experienced many evil years? Most certainly! But all those years of misery drew Moses into an unshakeable relationship with God which grounded him for whatever may come.
So as Moses considers the shortness of his life on earth, he asks God for one thing — that he might finish well.
The Work of our Hands
“May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us — yes, establish the work of our hands.”
Psalm 90:17 NIV
Jesus taught his disciples that without Him they could do nothing (John 15:5). Neither could Moses. And neither can we. But when the favor of God — His grace and delight — rests on us, everything changes. Then, He establishes the work of our hands.
Wisdom displays itself through “the work of our hands.” Wisdom determines how we spend our time and where we focus our energy. The New Living Translation says, “make our efforts successful. Yes, make our efforts successful.”
I don’t know about you, but I can be full of good intentions. But God never promises to bless our good intentions. He never promises to make our good intentions successful. It is only the work of our hands — that collaboration between wisdom, prayer, and effort — that He blesses, establishes, and makes successful.
Father, by Your grace, may all our good intentions transfer into the purposeful work of our hands — a work that focuses on You and others. Whether we are stay-at-home mothers or airplane pilots, may we number our days with wisdom. Whether we are young with our lives ahead of us or grey hair and wrinkles mark the end of our days, may we live with eternity in mind. Give us the single-hearted assurance of Your unfailing love and the deep-seated joy to live each day to the fullest. Though our efforts may feel weak and insignificant, breathe life upon them. May the work of our hands create a long-lasting impact in the lives of others. Lord Jesus, it is only through You and by You that we can and will make a difference in our world and for eternity. So today, we commit to You the work of our hands.