Today I preached on Psalm 90
At first sight this seems like a very depressing Psalm:
- Yes, we are consumed by your anger,
and by your wrath we are terrified.
Not very encouraging. Let's see how it continues...
- You have set our iniquities before you,
our secret sins in the light of your presence.
...But it gets worse:
- All our days pass away under your wrath,
we finish our years with a moan.
- The length of our days is seventy years
or if we have strength, eighty;
yet their best is but trouble and oppression;
for they quickly pass and we fly away.
The Psalm seems to be all about our sin, God's anger and how life is just a short span of suffering. It would be easy to dismiss it as being "Old Testament", and of course Moses was all about law anyway, so what would you expect from a Psalm that he had written? Nothing could be farther from the truth.
After carefully studying it, I believe that Psalm 90 falls into an inverted parallel structure as you can see demonstrated in my analysis
The body of the Psalm falls into two parts, hinging on verse 12.
After that point, every negative statement made earlier is countered by a positive statement that is a result of God's decision to have compassion on his people.
Law becomes grace and a focus on our own sin is turned into a focus on the wonderful things God has done for us.
I found this such an encouraging Psalm, once I had figured it out. Verses 14 and 17 must be some of the most beautiful words in the whole of the Psalms.