‘A prayer of Moses…. Lord, You have been our dwelling-place, in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth or You did ever form the Earth…, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God! You turn man to destruction!… A thousand years in Your sight are but like yesterday when it is past…. You carry them (men) away…. They are as if asleep. In the morning, they are like grass which grows up…. In the evening, it is cut down, and withers. For we are consumed!’ Psalm 90:1-7.
Calvin comments: “Moses is about to treat…of the brevity and miseries of human life…. This Psalm was composed by Moses…. I have no doubt that he was its author…. God would now renew the grace which He had displayed in old times toward the holy Patriarchs….
“God remains unchangeably the same. God is here contrasted with created being, which…is subject to continual changes…. We mistake, if we measure God by our own understanding…. We must mount above the Earth — yes, even above Heaven itself — whenever we think of Him!…
“‘You shall turn man to destruction!’ Moses…mentions how frail and transitory is the life of men…. He considers what they are made of, and remembers that they are but dust…. Our life…is…a short revolution, in which we quickly complete our circle….
“God…may at length gather them together, into His everlasting inheritance…. Men, when they have completed their circle, are forthwith taken out of the world….
“We foolishly imagine that we shall nestle in this world for ever!… Nor does Moses simply contrast a thousand years with one day. But he contrasts them with ‘yesterday’ — which is already gone!…
“‘You carry them (men) away, like a flood’…. Men, as long as they are sojourners in this world, perform…a revolution which lasts only for a moment…. Death is simply compared…to a flood. For when we have stayed a little while in the world, we forthwith fall into the grave…. This death, which is common to all, is with propriety called an inundation (or ‘a flood’). While we are breathing the breath of life, the Lord overflows us by death — just as those who perish in a shipwreck are engulfed in the ocean….
“Men come forth in the morning, like grass…. They…pass away within a short time…. They wither and decay…. Nothing is more transitory, than our life…. Each of us is soon carried away…. We should not dream of a thousand lives instead of one which is but…a shadow that quickly vanishes away…. Men are by nature so transitory…. Our frail natures…speedily vanish away!”
Lord, we are consumed by Your anger; troubled by Your wrath! ‘You turn man to destruction!… You carry men away…. In the morning, they are like grass which grows up…. In the evening, it is cut down, and withers. For we are consumed!’ Therefore, repent — now!