LIFESPAN by Dr. Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson, NC
Introduction: Ever since Rebecca was born, Nicole has been making scrapbooks. Sometimes, she focusses on a child; other times, she focusses on our whole family. Sometimes, she focusses on a year in our lives; other times, she focusses on an event like a vacation or a graduation. With online photo printing services like Shutterfly, Picaboo, and Snapfish, it has become somewhat easier. Nonetheless, when the book arrives, she wants me to sit with her and flip through the pages. She does this for more than just complements for her creativity and hard work; she does it for us to stop and take a moment to gaze at our lives, to ask ourselves – “Where have we been, where are we now, and where are we headed;” to evaluate ourselves – “have we faced life the best way possible, are we carrying any unnecessary baggage, and will we fulfill God’s purpose for our lives.” In our series titled “Parenting IQ,” we introduced you to the Lifespan Development, but we focused only on the Childhood and the Adolescent years. Many of you asked me if I would consider speaking on the rest of the stages, so, here is the message titled “LIFESPAN.” Main point: God has gifted us life for more than just to survive or thrive. He wants us to face all the stages with the ups and downs, the good and the bad, in a way that brings the most glory to him. Ultimately, it’s not how we started or what we went through, but how we finished for Christ that matters.
Psalm 90:10 “The days of our lives are seventy years; And if by reason of strength they areeighty years, yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; For it is soon cut off, and we fly away…12 So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
Context: Psalm 90 is a psalm about life. It has more references to time, days, and years than any other passage in the Bible. In fact, it has been designated by the Church of England’s Book of Common Prayer to be read at funeral services (John Goldingay). What is very interesting is that this psalm was written by someone very qualified to write about life – Psalm 90 “A Prayer of Moses the man of God.” Some scholars have claimed that these headings are not accurate, but many scholars have argued that they are true. If Moses did write this psalm, think about the life behind this psalm! He was raised by godly parents who trusted God enough to protect him and place him in a little basket in the Nile River to be found by Pharaoh’s daughter. He was groomed as a young man to be the next Pharaoh until, as Hebrews 11 says, he chose to 25 “suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, 26 esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.” Then, he spent 40 years in the back side of the desert waiting on God’s timing. He was 80 when he returned to Egypt, and Aaron was 83 (Exodus 7:7). Hollywood has it wrong! By the way, repeatedly (Exodus 33:11;Deuteronomy 34:10) it says that God spoke to Moses “face to face as a man speaks to his friend.” Sometimes, we are quick to adopt what someone says about life. Let’s make sure that they have the proper qualifications to tell us how to view life. Let’s walk through Moses’ prayer and see what he said about life:
1. Moses begins by acknowledging that life is not an accident. In fact, life belongs to God, and he is perfectly in control – 1 “Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. 2 Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, you are God.” What a wonderful assurance on those days when life doesn’t make sense! What a great promise on those days when we find ourselves fearful, discouraged, and hopeless!
2. Moses goes on to acknowledge that time is nothing to God. In fact, he is timeless, and sees everything at once. 3 You turn man to destruction, and say, “Return, O children of men.” 4 For a thousand years in Your sight Are like yesterday when it is past, And like a watch in the night. 5 You carry them away like a flood; They are like a sleep. In the morning they are like grass which grows up: 6 In the morning it flourishes and grows up; In the evening it is cut down and withers. What a warning to those powers and nations that spring up and shake their fists towards heaven!
3. Moses acknowledges that God is holy, and his wrath is upon sin. In fact, he is very aware of our secret sins. 7 For we have been consumed by Your anger, And by Your wrath we are terrified. 8 You have set our iniquities before You, Our secret sins in the light of Your countenance. The word for “secret sins” is “alumena,” hidden deeds coming from our younger days – lust, pride, lies, bitterness, selfishness! 9 For all our days have passed away in Your wrath; We finish our years like a sigh. The Hebrew word is “hegel,” which can mean “sigh,” “moan,” or “growl.” 10 The days of our lives are seventy years; And if by reason of strength they are eighty years, yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; For it is soon cut off, and we fly away. 11 Who knows the power of Your anger? For as the fear of You, so is Your wrath. What a reminder of the problem of life – Sin! Even more so – secret sins and their impact!
4. Moses’s prayer is that we would take an account of our lives. 12 “So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” How are you living life at this stage on the Lifespan Development? What unnecessary baggage have you picked up through life?The baggage comes through—
- Nature (Genetics/Physiology is our Body, our Brain Chemistry, our Neurotransmitters, and our Chemical Levels),
- Nurture (Environment is our Family Upbringing, our Social Situation, and our Past Experiences),
- Self (Mind/Soul/Spirit, what makes us unique but fallen with original sin and then further damaged by sinful choices),
- Supernatural (God, Church, Word, but also Satan, World – the anti-God system at the Tower of Babel, in Sodom and Gomorrah, in Egypt, in Babylon, what Satan showed Jesus, and everywhere today)
In each stage, we collect baggage:
- Infancy (2nd month – 2 years),
- Childhood (2 – 12 years),
- Adolescence (13 – Adulthood),
- Early Adulthood (adolescence – mid-30s; Emerging Adulthood and Young Adulthood),
- Middle Adulthood (mid-30s – mid 50s),
- Late Adulthood (sixties until).
What baggage have you been carrying?
5. Moses’ prayer is that early on we will be filled with the mercy of God. 13 Return, O LORD! How long? And have compassion on Your servants. 14 Oh, satisfy us early with Your mercy, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days! The word for early is “bokher,” which means morning. Why morning/early? Because sin comes early to rob us of joy and gladness. Also, we need to find his mercy early each day. Unless we make an exchange, we will continue to be burdened by sin. Matthew 11. 28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Have you made this exchange? Have you repented of those secret sins, sins of the youth? Have you picked up the yoke of Christ?
6. Moses’s prayer is that we will leave a legacy for the Kingdom of God. 15 Make us glad according to the days in which You have afflicted us, the years in which we have seen evil. 16 Let your work appear to Your servants, and your glory to their children. 17 And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands for us; Yes, establish the work of our hands. This does not mean that we will necessarily see the work of our hands established. Peter Drucker told Bob Buford (Half Time) – “Your fruit grows on other people’s trees.”
Well…someone might say – “it’s a little too late for me.”
Joel 2 25 “So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, The crawling locust, The consuming locust, And the chewing locust, My great army which I sent among you. 26 You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, And praise the name of the LORD your God, Who has dealt wondrously with you; And My people shall never be put to shame.”
Deuteronomy 34:7 Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died. His eyes were not dim nor his natural vigor diminished.
Invitation: Have you made the exchange? Are you saved? Have you dealt with your secret sins? Do you seek his mercy early/morning? Are you leading your children and grandchildren to seek his mercy early? Will your work be established?