Six Ways We Can Ask God to Act from Psalm 90
Asking God to Act in 2019 (Psalm 90)
By Aaron Camp
In Psalm 90:12, Moses lays out a long list of petitions, asking God to act. What does he request of God?
I suggest that each of you read these and pick out one or two of them to focus on this week. They can serve as a starting point to recalibrate 2019 in light of who God is and who we are.
- Teach us to number our days.
Why? That we may get a heart of wisdom. This is so hard in our culture, where death is hidden. Taking account of our days—the brevity of our lives—causes us to prioritize the eternal things.
One of the more helpful tips that I’ve ever heard about how to do this well was from Kevin DeYoung at a small gathering that I got to attend a few years back. He asked us all to picture how we’d like our lives to end and to work backward from there. What do you want on your tombstone? What do you want said at your funeral? What do you want to say on your deathbed? What about retirement? What about when our kids went to college? Where do you want to be in your walk with the Lord in 15 years? Would you like to see disciples made in the next 10? Are there things you can prioritize now to see changes 5 years from now?
In a culture that shuns aging and makes it a shameful thing, let’s commit to pray about numbering our days, and ask the Lord to teach us how to do this well.
- Return, O LORD!
Moses’s cry for the presence of God would be realized in the deepest way possible when God came to earth taking on human form to deal the death blow to sin on the cross! Jesus, by his death and resurrection, has made eternal life in God’s presence possible!
On this side of the cross, we’re not too dissimilar from Moses because we wait for his second coming. We know the battle is won, but we long for the day that he will come and abolish sin forever!
1 John 3:2 reminds us of our future hope: “Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.” And so we pray, Lord Jesus come!
- Satisfy us, that we may rejoice and have joy all of our days!
Christians aren’t immune to feeling down. Many of the great men and women of the faith have battled hard against depression, illness, and persecution. This fallen world and our fallen bodies can cause aches—both physical and emotional. Let’s turn to him for satisfaction, that we can praise him!
- Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us.
Admittedly, this is an awkward way of putting it, but I think what’s going on at the heart of this verse is a petition that gladness will be at least as much of our experience in a fallen world as sorrow had been when we were children of wrath.
We see that, at the cross, Jesus made it possible that God would do far more than Moses or you and I can imagine. He has made it possible to have joy in this life, and eternal joy in the life to come! Revelation 21:4 says, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
For the Christian, our best life is not now—if heaven and eternity is with him, it’s in our future!
- Show your work to your servants, and your power to their children.
We need to see him at work in our lives! And the prayer of every parent, and every person caring for children alongside parents, should be that they will see God’s power. I think this happens well at Hope, but we can always grow. Pray for the children of Hope, and pray to the Lord asking how you can be used to show the power of God to the children here!
- Establish the work of our hands.
Moses repeats this last phrase which I find interesting. The focus on God’s power being apparent to our children and the desire for our work to have a lasting impression beyond our short lives is a prayer that only God can grant.
God’s plan for human work was never a consequence of sin. It was woven into who we are. From the beginning, God gave man work, and pleasure can be found in it. At the fall, toil became mixed with the work of our hands. But the actions of God’s people can be redeemed.
How can we have confidence that these prayers will be answered? How can we know that our work can be established?
After a lengthy passage talking about man’s sinfulness, and God’s plan to redeem those who trust in Christ, Eph 2:10 says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” God is on your side in this endeavor. So, we lean on him in dependence that he will fulfill what he started.
Psalm 90 shows us that the Creator God, eternal and holy, has made a way for frail and sinful people to find refuge in Jesus Christ. Let’s live with the hope that he will establish the work of our hands and show us the power of his steadfast love.