To continue with the share regarding The Knowledge of God and the frailty of Man.
God speaks directly to humans. Over 2,000 times in the Old Testament there are phrases such as, “And God spoke to Moses” or “The Word of The Lord came to Jonah” or “God said.” We see an example of this in Jeremiah 1:9.
- Exodus 33:17-23
So the LORD said to Moses, “I will also do this thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name.” And he said, “Please, show me Your glory.” Then He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” But He said, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.” And the LORD said, “Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock. So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.”
- Exodus 34:5-8
Now the LORD descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. And the LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.” So Moses made haste and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshiped.
- Exodus 24:9-11
Then Moses went up, also Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and they saw the God of Israel. And there was under His feet as it were a paved work of sapphire stone, and it was like the very heavens in its clarity. But on the nobles of the children of Israel He did not lay His hand. So they saw God, and they ate and drank.
- John 1:18
No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.
- Exodus 33:9-11
And it came to pass, when Moses entered the tabernacle, that the pillar of cloud descended and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the LORD talked with Moses. All the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the tabernacle door, and all the people rose and worshiped, each man in his tent door. So the LORD spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. And he would return to the camp, but his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle.
- Exodus 33:13-14
Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight. And consider that this nation is Your people.” And He said, ‘My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’
Psalm 90 is not a Psalm written by David; rather, it is a prayer that God inspired Moses to pray. The reflections in this Psalm are designed to lead our thoughts to God—the eternal God who never dies—and to think of man, the frail being that he is.
Human beings are cut down like grass, but God remains the same from age to age. Every generation finds Him the same as the generation before had found Him—unchanged, and still worthy of our confidence and hope.
There are three basic truths stated in the first 12 verses of the Psalm: the eternity of God (90:1-2), the frailty of man (90:3-8), and the brevity of life (90:9-12).
1. The Eternity of God (90:1-2)
Psalm 90 focuses on death as the judgment of a holy God upon sin, but it also points to the Lord as the One whose power extends beyond death.
Verses 1-2 exalt the glory of God: “Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.”
The term “dwelling place” refers to “the place where you live.” It is your home—the place to which you come after traveling on a long journey. Those who have traveled often know that the most delightful part of the whole trip is driving down that last road which leads home. Arriving at our home (our dwelling place) is something we eagerly look forward to.
But Moses never had a fixed dwelling place when he lived here on earth. When he was born, his mother refused to pay heed to the edict of Pharaoh—which demanded that every Israelite male child should be put to death. She made a little basket for the baby Moses, and put him into it. Then she placed the basket in the Nile River, praying that the life of her child would somehow be preserved.
Many of us remember the story of how Pharaoh’s daughter came down to the riverside, and the sister of baby Moses was close by. We remember that she suggested a nurse from among the Hebrew women. God arranged that the baby’s own mother would nurse him for a while, and then he was taken to Pharaoh’s palace and became the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.
But Moses had no abiding dwelling place even in the court of the Pharaohs—for he soon found himself on the backside of a desert, tending sheep. Later, Moses dwelt with the children of Israel in tents all during their Wilderness journeys.
The point is this: Moses (the writer of the 90th Psalm) had no fixed dwelling place here in this life. As a small child—he lay among the bulrushes in the Nile. As a little boy—he grew up in Pharaoh’s court. In young manhood—he was a shepherd on a Palestinian desert. In later life—he wandered for forty years in the wilderness, dwelling in tents.
The word translated “dwelling place” (in verse 1) can easily be translated “home.” The eternal God has always been our “home.” There are many pictures representing God in the Psalms: Father, Mother, Shepherd, and King. Here, God is pictured as home. Isaac Watts caught the sense of verse 1: “O God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come, our shelter from the stormy blast, and our eternal home.”
Even while Moses was a small child, floating in the cradle on the Nile River, his dwelling place was in God—in the sense that God was taking care of him. And the New Testament says that during each stage of life we have our dwelling place in God. “In Him, we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28).
All of us need to be thankful for every breath of air that we breathe, for it is only by the permission of this eternal God that we are sustained from day to day. The same God who protected the baby Moses stands ready today to display His power in each of our lives.
Verse 2 says that Jehovah (the Lord God of Israel) has existed from eternity past, and will always be the sovereign God—on into the everlasting future. “From everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.”
The pagan gods of the Greeks and the Romans all had a beginning. Greek mythology speaks of gods which started somewhere. But Jehovah God never had a beginning. He is the timeless, endless One who is beyond and above all creation.
We human beings experience change and decay. Our God remains unchanged. Before the earth was created, and long after it is gone, God will always be the same. The true and living God always was. He never began to be. He never came into being. He always will be!
The eternal, immutable God controls every detail of the universe of which the earth is a small part. We cannot fully comprehend the greatness and glory of God—but we can bow before Him with a sense of awe and devotion.
Many in our day disregard God and become absorbed with the material things of this world. To even mention faith in God—and to lift up Jesus as God the Son, the only Savior—will cause some eyebrows to be raised. Yet, not a single one of us will escape a meeting with the eternal God some day, for it is appointed unto man once to die, and after that the judgment.
2. The Frailty of Man (90:3-8)
Verses 3 and 4 tell us how fragile human life is. “Thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest, Return, ye children of men. For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.”
Moses uses three symbols in verses 3-6 to show us how frail human life is. The word “destruction” (verse 3)—in Hebrew, literally means “dust.” In God’s plan, our bodies will eventually turn to dust. We are reminded of this every time we stand by a grave side. In verse 4, we are told that with God “a thousand years are but as a day.” In the early part of Genesis, humans lived almost one thousand years. Methuselah was 969 years old when he died. Before sin had spread through the earth, it is altogether possible that God intended man to live for one thousand years. But even one thousand years—even the longest possible life span, compared with the eternity of God—would be as “yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.”
In verses 5-6 we are told that God “carries them away as with a flood; they are as a sleep: In the morning they are like grass which groweth up . . . it flourisheth, and groweth up; in the evening it is cut down, and withereth.”
If you have marginal references in your Bible, you’ll find that the term “a sleep” (in the middle of verse 5) literally means “a dream.” This is the second symbol used by Moses to describe the frailty of man.
A dream is vividly present in the nighttime, but often it quickly disappears with the morning light. That’s how human life is. Again, Isaac Watts catches, in one of his hymns, the thought of verse 5. “Time, like an ever-rolling stream, soon bears us all away; we fly forgotten, as a dream dies at the opening (of the) day.”
Another symbol for the frailty of life is found in the use of the word “grass.” The Psalmist says “The grass grows, and soon it is cut down, and by evening-time it is dry and withered.” The grass—fresh and green in the morning—after it is cut, is soon dried up and gone. Our lives on earth are like that. The Bible says that our lives, which seem so well established and so important today, are really only like a fragile blade of grass. We are not like massive oaks and cedars, but only as a delicate blade of grass. We may boast of our good health, and exceptional strength, and long years of sound life—but our bodies which are active and energetic today, will one of these days lie cold and still. Our strength, our voices, and our senses—will be gone forever! Our physical frames will disintegrate and return to the dust of the earth. Each of us (barring the soon return of Christ) will have an inescapable appointment with death. If you have not already done so—I beg you, get right with God, so that when the moment of death comes, you’ll have nothing to do but to lie down and die.
Verses 7-8 are a reminder of the holiness of God. “For we are consumed by thine anger, and by thy wrath are we troubled. Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance.”
Moses speaks in these verses about our iniquities and our secret sins.
There is a dark side to life. A family grieves over a 10-year-old girl, kidnapped by some sex pervert. A friend is killed instantly in a motorcycle accident. A daughter learns that she has a rare brain tumor. Is God punishing us for our iniquities and secret sins?
It’s not that God storms around in the heavens, indulging in uncontrolled displays of temper whenever we human beings don’t do what we’re told to do. But God does have a fixed attitude of displeasure with sin—and the great tragedies of life are the result of man’s sin down through the years. The cause of God’s wrath is always human sin. The Scriptures never teach that a mere passing thought is a sin. A thought that comes to your mind unbidden, and tempts you to do something wrong—is only a normal exposure to temptation. But when we harbor wrong thoughts, and mull over them, and play with them, and take great pleasure in them—then indeed we are contributing to the tragic events of life.
3. The Brevity of Life (90:9-12)
Verses 9-10 state an obvious truth. “For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told. The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.”
One of the oldest men in the world (during the last century) was well over 100 years old; he grew up in the mountains of Columbia, South America. Yet, only a few years before his death, he said that it seemed but yesterday that he was a mere boy.
Just so, it seems but yesterday that I was a child, walking barefooted through the fields of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, with the carefree abandon of childhood. Then came youth with its mingled joys, and then suddenly I crossed the bridge into adulthood—and the time seems to have gone so fast that I still have trouble getting myself to believe that I’ve grown up and become an adult. Now I’m an older man—and the years seem to move with increasing speed as I plunge toward old age.
Year after year, life smoothly runs its course. We read of thousands dying from starvation in North Korea, and others dying from disease in much of Africa. But these places are far away, and the people are unknown to us. Then a neighbor down the street dies. That causes us to stop and think, but still it does not affect us directly. We develop a kind of immunity to tragedy and death. Then one day the bottom drops out of our world. A close friend, a precious child, or a marriage partner is taken from this life. We hear the shocking news. We’ve watched the face of the one who was dying. We listened helplessly to their gasping for breath. We spoke the last good-bye—and in a moment, our loved one passed out into the great beyond. The body, which only yesterday was full of life, now lies before us—cold and still.
The Bible is the only book in the world that has solid answers to the questions that perplex us at moments such as those we’ve just described. Life, in the Bible, is described as a mist, as a shadow, as a dream, as a fading flower, and as a tale that is told.
It’s Christmas; then it’s New Year; then it’s Easter, and Thanksgiving—and then it’s Christmas all over again! And so it continues year after year; and in just a few short years, every one of us will be wearing shrouds and sleeping in coffins.
Our bodies will turn back to dust and another generation will take our place. And our souls will either be enjoying the bliss of the Redeemed, or suffering the untold miseries of Hell. Our eternal destiny will be determined by what we have done with Jesus, the Savior—the only Name under heaven given among men whereby we can be saved.
None of us knows when the moment of death is coming—but when God calls your number you’re going to go! There will be no turning back. You will have finished your test and handed in the answers. The corrections you will want to make and the paragraphs you would like to rewrite will be of no concern to death. There will be no second chances. Your report card will be ready. The grades will be final. The answers you have given will stand for eternity.
No wonder verse 12 (of the 90th Psalm) says, “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” That is—teach us to make each day count; to reflect on the fact that we must die—so that we might deal wisely with the issues of life. The words of verse 12 should be underlined, highlighted, or perhaps marked in red in our Bibles.
Do you stop occasionally and take time to number your days? If you live the full number of years allotted to man, you will have (from the day of your birth) 25,567 days to live.
We are not told to number our years. We are to count the days. If you are 30 years old, and you live the full life-span, you have a little more than 14,000 days to live. And all of us know how quickly a day flies by.
The primary lesson is this: since we have only one life to live, and that life is short, we should use it to gain the wisdom which comes from God. It is the part of wisdom to hear the message of the Gospel—and to receive the forgiveness of sins through faith in the work completed by our Lord Jesus Christ when He came to earth to die in our place.
If you’ve never done it—be wise; repent of your sins, and your rebellious self-centered pride—and make a commitment to follow the Lord Jesus Christ as the Master of your life, and to walk in His commandments.
We conclude with a reminder that there is great joy in following the Lord Jesus down through the years.
I am aware that we have focused mainly on Moses. There is a lesson here; despite the relationship of God with Man, as we shared there are frailties in the nature of Man.
The Bible has a “cast” of thousands, but some of them play more important roles than others. Here are eleven of the prime players in the Bible, from the first humans to Bible prophets to Apostles to Jesus himself. Of course, the most important character in the Bible is God, but because God isn’t a “people,” he doesn’t appear in this collection.
Adam and Eve
Okay, Adam and Eve are two people. But Adam and Eve really are inseparable. Even the Bible refers to them as “one flesh” in recognition of their coming from the same flesh (Adam’s) and being joined together again in marital/sexual union.
Adam and Eve are important because, according to the Bible, they’re the first two people in the world, and from them comes everyone who has ever lived.
The human drama begins when God forms Adam from the ground and breathes life into him. God then performs the first surgery, creating Eve from Adam’s side (a more literal translation than “rib”). Adam and Eve live together in Paradise (or what the Bible calls the Garden of Eden) until they disobey God by eating fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. This act of defiance, called “The Fall” by many theologians, is a real bummer because from it comes painful childbirth, weeds in your garden, and, ultimately, death. Moreover, Adam and Eve’s disobedience introduce fear and alienation into humankind’s formerly perfect relationships with God and one another. As evidence of this alienation, Adam and Eve’s son, Cain, murders his brother, Abel.
Noah is most famous for building an ark — a giant three-decked wooden box in which he, his family, and a whole bunch of animals ride out a massive flood that God sends to destroy humankind for its disobedience. God chooses Noah and his family to survive the deluge because Noah is “the most righteous in his generation.” Noah is important not only because his ark decorates most nurseries in North America but also because, according to the Bible, if Noah hadn’t been righteous, none of us would be here right now.
The Bible is filled with stories about people disobeying God. One notable exception is Abraham, a man who, though not perfect, obeys God’s command to leave his homeland in Mesopotamia and venture to an unknown Promised Land (ancient Canaan; later Israel). God promises Abraham that his descendants will become a great nation, through which all the people of the earth will be blessed.
The tales of Abraham and his wife Sarah are a roller coaster of dramatic events that repeatedly jeopardize God’s promise. Ironically, the biggest threat to God’s promise is when God Himself commands Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. Abraham sets out to do just as God orders, but right before Abraham delivers the fatal blow to his own child, God stops the sacrifice. As a reward for Abraham’s faith, God fulfills His promise to make Abraham’s descendants a great nation, as Isaac’s son Jacob eventually has 12 sons, whose descendants become the nation of Israel.
Today, three of the world’s major religions — Judaism, Christianity, and Islam — trace their roots to Abraham.
David is Israel’s second and greatest king. As a boy, David courageously defeats a mighty enemy warrior named Goliath with only a sling and a stone. As a man, David conquers all Israel’s enemies and begins a dynasty that would rule Jerusalem for nearly 500 years. But not all the news surrounding David is good. David perpetrates one of the Bible’s most heinous crimes: He commits adultery with a woman named Bathsheba, who’s the wife of one of David’s most loyal soldiers, Uriah. Then, to cover up the crime, David has Uriah killed. In David’s favor, when the prophet Samuel confronts David with his sin, David repents. Moreover, in God’s favor, God forgives David for his sin, but not without punishing David for his crime.
Beyond David’s royal exploits (and indiscretions), he’s credited with writing many of ancient Israel’s worship songs, which you can read in the Book of Psalms.
Elijah is one of Israel’s greatest prophets, as well as God’s heavyweight champ in an epic bout against a deity named Baal (the Canaanite storm god). In order to prove to the Israelites that God is the only true God, Elijah gathers the prophets of Baal at Mount Carmel, where for the main event each deity is given a pile of wood with a bull on it. The god who can produce fire and consume the sacrifice wins. Baal goes first, and for half the day his prophets dance, shout, sing, and even cut themselves in order to convince their god to answer Elijah’s challenge. When their efforts fail, Elijah prays to God, who immediately sends fire down from the sky and consumes the sacrifice. The Israelites rededicate themselves to God, and they kill the prophets who deceived them into worshiping Baal.
Later, near the Jordan River, a fiery horse-drawn chariot descends from the sky and takes Elijah to heaven, but not before he appoints a successor named Elisha. Elijah’s atypical departure influenced later biblical prophets, who predicted that Elijah would return as a precursor to the coming of the Messiah. Because of these prophecies, Jews invite Elijah every Passover to usher in the age of the Messiah, and the New Testament writers associate John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus’ ministry, with Elijah.
Isaiah is one of the most influential prophets in the Hebrew Bible. During his career, Isaiah advises several kings of Judah, helping them to avoid being destroyed by the mighty Assyrian Empire (around 700 B.C.E.).
Beyond Isaiah’s political influence, he is a masterful poet, with many of his prophecies inspiring hope for eventual peace and righteousness on earth. Several of these prophecies were later understood by Christians to be predictions of Jesus, including the birth of Immanuel; the coming of the Prince of Peace, as quoted in Handel’s Messiah; and the suffering of God’s “Servant” for the sins of His people.
Jesus affectionately gives his closest friend, Simon, the nickname “Rocky,” though the Greek form of the name is “Peter.” Peter is a fisherman until Jesus calls him to be a disciple or “a fisher of men.” Peter soon becomes the “rock” on which Jesus would build his church, even giving him the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, according to Catholic doctrine, Peter is the first Pope, the vicar (or substitute) of Christ. But even Jesus’ closest confidant betrays him, as on the eve of the crucifixion, Peter denies knowing Jesus three times. Following Jesus’ death, Peter spreads Christianity abroad, and while in Rome, tradition holds that in 64 C.E., Nero has Peter crucified upside-down — a request Peter makes so as not to denigrate Jesus’ death. His tomb is now encased within St. Peter’s Basilica.
Paul (or Saul, as he is first called) is arguably the person most responsible for spreading Christianity throughout the Mediterranean region, on its way to becoming the religion of the Roman Empire. Paul’s efforts to convert people to Christianity are all the more remarkable since, when we first meet Paul, he is vigorously attempting to stamp out this movement because he believes that its message contradicts the teachings of the Hebrew Bible. Then, one day, while Paul is traveling to Damascus to arrest Christians, Jesus appears to him in a blinding flash of light and tells Paul his efforts against Christianity are what contradict the teachings of the Hebrew Bible, because Jesus is God’s promised Messiah.
Paul spends the rest of his life spreading the “good news” about Jesus’ life and teachings throughout the Roman world, suffering intensely for a movement he was once bent on destroying.
And we take a pause… where is your relationship with The Creator? We are all created for and with a cause. Have you prayed yours?
Our purpose in life is the very meaning of our existence and without knowing this we often suffer ignorant of our own significance. We fall prey to the illusion that our lives don’t matter and we have no connection or impact on the world around us. The Bible offers many insights into man’s purpose on Earth and living within a meaningful mission. Read the full list of Scripture quotes below relating to this idea.
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9
This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. Acts 2:23
“Now when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his ancestors and his body decayed. Acts 13:36
For in Him all things were created: things in Heaven and on Earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him. Colossians 1:16
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the Heavens. Ecclesiastes 3:1
Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is The LORD’s purpose that prevails. Proverbs 9:21
I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’ From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that I will bring about; what I have planned, that I will do. Isaiah 46:10-11
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
God is God and He works all things, including your life, according to His purposes.
“I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills His purpose for me.” This is key in understanding God’s purpose for your life. God has numbered your days and will fulfill every purpose He has for you. Psalm 57:2
7 Steps to Find Your God Given Purpose in Life
- Turn To The Bible.
- Pray For Direction.
- Follow The Will Of God.
- Promises Of God.
- Living A Purpose Driven Life.
- How To Apply God’s Purpose In Your Life.
- A Personal Challenge.
A way to know that you are following God’s plan for your life is by being in prayer. Take time each day to devote yourself to the Lord and the plans He has for your life. If you are giving each area of your life to God, then He will bless it and be able to work through it abundantly.
Spend 5 to 10 minutes everyday to understand the life of Jesus and the Love of Jesus in our everyday living. Meditate on the word of God. Our God lives in us. We should only discover Him in us through Jesus Christ, not by wishing and just by ideas but by His perfect principles.
The consequences of not finding your life purpose include chronic, lingering dissatisfaction; an absence of inner peace and a sense of not being fully in sync with your inner self.
And we pray:
“The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; your steadfast Love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of Your hands.” – Psalm 138:8
Lord, thank You for helping me find clarity about my purpose. Help me remember that I ultimately can find satisfying purpose when I seek after You. Lord, as I work to understand my purpose more fully, I pray that Your joy would be present. I pray for grace and wisdom. Help me long to serve You above myself, even above others. Help me walk daily in dependence of You. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.