“Let Thy work appear unto Thy servants, and Thy glory unto their children.”
This text is taken from the only Psalm Moses ever wrote.
And, it is a beautiful psalm.
It is a prayer of Moses, the man of God.
Four thousand years have not worn away its beauty; rather, they have enhanced its attractiveness.
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, but there are some parts which speak to us more than others. Some passages stay with us throughout all our lives: they are to us unforgettable.
Psalm 90 is one of them.
Moses beholds God, the Lord!
Well, that is fundamental if you are going to pray. Innumerable prayers are counterfeit, since we behold either men or ourselves. We can pray while our thoughts are far away from God.
If you are going to pray, be sure you see God at the very start, and never lose sight of Him.
Yes, Moses saw God.
And he beheld Him as the dwelling place of all the generations of God’s people.
Those generations brought him away back to the days of Adam and Eve. And even then he went back, back to the creation. . . . and there he has to come to a halt. Even with his thoughts. We cannot conceive of the things before the moment when eternity became time. (Of course, that’s nonsense. What do you expect?)
But even there he beheld God.
And all Moses could say was: “from everlasting to everlasting Thou art God!”
I love that sentence! It expresses the beautiful life of our Father to perfection. It stresses His everlasting Covenant faithfulness.
But we must go on.
Moses returned from that mountain top where he saw the everlasting God.
And his weary eye saw the generations of. God’s people again. But now from the point of view of their sin. From verse 3 to 11 he describes the generations of God’s people in their natural habitat: “our iniquities and our secret sins.”
And because of these sins and iniquities there is a revelation of God’s anger, wrath.
And when God’s anger and wrath go to work on these generations, they return.
Return? To what? To dust.
We are cut down and wither; we are consumed and we are troubled. All our days pass away in God’s wrath; our best days are labor and sorrow. We are all cut off and we fly away. They bury us and a few flowers bloom on our grave. On Decoration Day they may come and look down on the grave; whisper a few words about our “days”; they may weep a tear or two, but finally they get into the car and drive home. Who can live in a graveyard? Anyhow, we flew away.
Moses knew all this, even better than you.
And therefore he utters that poignant cry: “Return, O Lord, how long?”
Ask yourselves how many burials Moses attended. There were two million people who came through the Red Sea. And with most of them God was not well pleased, and they were cast down in the wilderness. And they were buried.
And so Moses asks the Lord to return “and let it repent Thee concerning Thy servants.”
What does Moses want for Israel; what do you want for 1963?
Well, Moses wants for Israel early satisfaction with the mercy of God.
I wonder how many millions there are who understand nothing of the preceding sentence.
How can God’s mercy satisfy anyone?
A two inch steak, fried potatoes, fresh peas, and a cup of coffee. They are satisfying to a healthy appetite.
But satisfaction from such a shadowy thing as mercy of God?
And yet, it is a most wondrous delicacy. And brings the most wonderful satisfaction. When God thinks of you in your distress; when God yearns for you in your weeping: when God is afflicted with your affliction; when God takes your hell and suffers it Himself; when Jesus goes to hell for you on the cross of Golgotha. . . . O, dear reader, then heaven opens for you.
Oh yes, Moses knew what he was praying.
Second, he prays for God to make Israel glad according to the days wherein God afflicted them, according to the days wherein they had seen evil.
That’s better than a thick bankroll.
Gladness in Jehovah is heaven itself.
And then comes the text which I had in mind above all: “Let Thy work appear unto Thy servants, and Thy glory unto their children.”
You know, in some other languages it sounds a little plainer. There it says: Let thy servants see Thy work!
Beloved! I wish this for my children and their seed unto the end of time. It is my constant prayer for them.
If you see the work of the Lord, you have everything.
But let us ask first of all: what is that work of the Lord?
Well, that work has two sides, two aspects, but here we have to be cautious. For it is really one work and not two.
Number one: God had set Israel apart, but in the midst of an hostile world. You see, you can hardly speak of the one without touching upon the other. Yes, God chose Abraham and told him to depart from Ur of the Chaldees, but he ran counter to the heathen, both in Canaan and Egypt. Sometimes he had to fight against them.
And so Israel was chosen as a people peculiar to God, but around about them were the Edomites, the Moabites, the Philistines, the Assyrians, the Chaldeans, the Medes and Persians, and later, the Romans. They were always surrounded by them that hated them.
Number two: God led this peculiar people out of Egypt, but here again: He destroyed Egypt’s flower. Do you notice that God’s work is always twofold? His miraculous Hand led Israel dryshod through the Red Sea, and they sang. But Egypt also went through the Red Sea but drowned. In this connection, there is a terrible verse in the Bible. I will write it down for you. It is found in Exodus 1424. There we read: “And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the Lord looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians.”
O, that look of Jehovah in His anger and His wrath!
It spelled death and destruction for Egypt.
Besides, this look of God that was so destructive was the culmination of a series of looks which had had the same effect. Let us see just one of them. I refer to the look of God at every firstborn of man and of cattle.
That night of the Passover every Egyptian family sat around the hearth and communed. But suddenly the grandfather, the father and the oldest boy grabbed their throats: the angel of God was choking the life out of them.
This happened in every Egyptian family. There were many funerals, and much weeping in Egypt.
But in Goshen the Jews sang for joy.
We are talking of the work of the Lord, are we not?
Number three: God led His people through the wilderness for forty years.
And innumerable are the miracles He wrought for that people: daily manna, daily water from the Rock that followed them; protection against the enemy that would swallow them up: in this connection remember Amalek! Their clothes did not wear out, and their shoes needed no repair work.
But the greatest boon was the law of God that was given of Mount Horeb.
O, but this work of God is beautiful!
Yes, they were often disobedient, forgetful, wicked. And as I said before: with many God was not well pleased and they were overthrown in the wilderness. Yes, I told you before that you cannot speak of the shining brightness of God’s elective grace, without speaking of His wrath and rejecting hatred. Election and reprobation also march through the Church of God. They are not all Israel that are of Israel.
Number four: and finally God leads Israel safely into the promised land of Canaan. Yes, but wait a minute! How could this people inherit Canaan while this country is inhabited by many tribes, such as the Hittite, the Jebusite, the Amorite, the Hivite, etc.?
You will kindly remember how I pointed out at the very beginning that the work of God is twofold. You cannot speak of the one, but the other also appears. Yes, God destroyed the heathen that lived in Canaan, and gave it to His people Israel.
The time arrived that Joshua (and that is Jesus) led them victoriously into the holy land.
And that land was flowing with milk and honey. It was a type of Heaven.
Now Moses prays to God and asks that God’s servants may see that work. He knows that only if they see it, will they be “satisfied” “rejoice and be glad all their days”; and the same thing is true today.
I would ask: did they not know? Did they not see? Did they not write history books in those days?
Of course they did. All Israel knew these works of God. They had heard about it from their earliest infancy.
But here is the point, with application to Israel of Moses’ day and with application to you who read this: to know this work, means to know it with the knowledge of the love of God.
Everybody knows that there is such a thing as election and also that there is reprobation.
But the question is: do you love this work of God! Amen.