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Psalm 90:1-6 1
1 Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. 2 Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. 3 You turn men back to dust, saying, “Return to dust, O sons of men.” 4 For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night. 5 You sweep men away in the sleep of death; they are like the new grass of the morning—6 though in the morning it springs up new, by evening it is dry and withered.

clip_image091Background 2

Psalm was probably written as early as the deliverance of the Israelites out of Egypt. This psalm was penned by Moses (as appears by the title), the most ancient penman of sacred writings. We have other examples from Moses on record as praising songs and even an instructing song. This psalm is entitled a prayer of Moses. Where, and in what volume, it was preserved from Moses’ time till the collection of psalms was published, is uncertain; but, being divinely inspired, it was under a special protection: perhaps it was written in the book of Jasher, or the book of the wars of the Lord.

Moses taught the people of Israel to pray, and put words into their mouths which they might make use of in turning to the Lord. Moses is here called the man of God, because he was a prophet, the father of prophets, and an eminent type of the great prophet. But this Psalm is of a different nature from others written by Moses because it is called a prayer. It is believed that this Psalm was written on the occasion of the sentence passed upon Israel in the wilderness for their unbelief, murmuring, and rebellion, that their carcasses should fall in the wilderness, that they should be wasted away by a series of miseries for thirty-eight years together, and that none of them that were then of age should enter Canaan.

We find the story to which this psalm seems to refer in Numbers 14:1-45. Probably Moses wrote this prayer to be used daily, either by the people in their tents, or, at least, by the priests in the tabernacle-service, during their tedious fatigue in the wilderness. In the Psalm:

  1. Moses comforts himself and his people with the eternity of God and their interest in him, verses 1, 2.
  2. He humbles himself and his people with the consideration of the frailty of man, verses 3-6.
  3. He submits himself and his people to the righteous sentence of God passed upon them, verses 7-11.
  4. He commits himself and his people to God by prayer for divine mercy and grace, and the return of God’s favor, verses 12-17.

Though it was written for this particular occasion, it is very applicable to the frailty of human life in general, and, in singing it, we may easily apply it to the years of our passage through the wilderness of this world, and it furnishes us with meditations and prayers very suitable to the solemnity of a funeral.

Biblical Truths

Verse 1: Now that they have fallen under God’s displeasure, and He threatened to abandon them, they plead his former kindnesses to their ancestors. Canaan was a land of pilgrimage to their fathers the patriarchs, who dwelt there in tabernacles; but then God was their habitation, and, wherever they went, they were at home, at rest, in him. Egypt had been a land of bondage to them for many years, but even then God was their refuge; and in him that poor oppressed people lived and were kept in being. Note, True believers are at home in God, and that is their comfort in reference to all the toils and tribulations they meet with in this world. In him we may repose and shelter ourselves as in our dwelling-place.

Verse 2: God, whose existence has neither its commencement nor its period with time, is not measured by the successions and revolutions of it, but who is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever, without beginning of days, or end of life, or change of time. Note, against all the grievances that arise from our own mortality, and the mortality of our friends, we may take comfort from God’s immortality. We are dying creatures, and all our comforts in the world are dying comforts, but God is an ever living God, and those shall find him so who have him for theirs.

Verse 3: When God is, by sickness or other afflictions, turning men to destruction, he does thereby call men to return to him, that is, to repent of their sins and live a new life. When God is threatening to turn men to destruction, to bring them to death, and they have received a sentence of death within themselves, sometimes he wonderfully restores them. When God turns men to destruction, it is according to the general sentence passed upon all, which is this, “Return, you children of men, one, as well as another, return to your first principles; let the body return to the earth as it was (dust to dust, Genesis 3:19) and let the soul return to God who gave it,” (Ecclesiastes 12:7).

Verse 4: Some of the patriarchs lived nearly a thousand years; Moses knew this very well, and had recorded it: but what is their long life to God’s eternal life? “A thousand years, to us, are a long period, which we cannot expect to survive. A thousand years are nothing to God’s eternity; they are less than a day, than an hour, to a thousand years.

Verse 5: To see the frailty of man, and his vanity even at his best just look upon all the children of men and we see:

  1. That their life is a dying life:
  2. That it is a dreaming life.
  3. That it is a short and transient life.

Items for Discussion

  • What are the barriers to accepting the inevitability of death?
  • Must a Christian accept that death is inevitable to be a Christian?
  • What is the fallacy of the notion that our next generation will not age, disease will be conquered and no one will ever die?
  • What is the impact of movies, video games, etc. on our children’s view of death?
  • Can games actually help a child understand the mortality?
  • How does one’s mortality (knows one is mortal) help them live a better life?Galatians 6:2

 

Galatians 6:2
1 Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, 5 for each one should carry his own load.

Background

Chapter 6 of Galatians chiefly consists of two parts. In the former the Apostle Paul gives us several plain and practical directions, which more especially tend to instruct Christians in their duty to one another, and to promote the communion of saints in love, verses 1-10. In the latter he revives the main design of the epistle, which was to fortify the Galatians against the arts of their humanizing teachers, and confirm them in the truth and liberty of the gospel, for which purpose Paul:

  1. Gives them the true character of these teachers, and shows them from what motives, and with what views, they acted, verses 11-14. And,
  2. On the other hand he acquaints them with his own temper and behavior. From both these they might easily see how little reason they had to slight him, and to fall in with them. And then he concludes the epistle with a solemn benediction.

Biblical Truths

Verse 1: We are here taught to deal tenderly with those who are overtaken in a fault. The duty we are directed to–to restore and bring them to repentance. The original word, katartizete, signifies to set in joint, as a dislocated bone; accordingly we should endeavor to set the dislocation again, to bring them to back by convincing them of their sin and error, persuading them to return to their duty, comforting them in a sense of pardoning mercy. This is to be done: With the spirit of meekness; not in wrath and passion, as those who triumph in a brother’s falls, but with meekness, as those who rather mourn for them. A very good reason why this should be done with meekness is because none of us know but it may some time or other be our turn for such compassion.

Verse 2: We are here directed to bear one another’s burdens. This verse ties nicely with verse 1 referring to exercise forbearance and compassion towards one another. It directs us to sympathize with one another under the various trials and troubles that we may meet with, and to be ready to afford each other the comfort and counsel, the help and assistance, which our circumstances may require. The Apostle Paul adds, by way of motive, that so we shall fulfill the law of Christ.

Note, though as Christians we are freed from the Law of Moses, yet we are under the law of Christ; and therefore, instead of laying unnecessary burdens upon others (as those who urged the observance of Moses’ law did), it much more becomes us to fulfill the law of Christ by bearing one another’s burdens. The Apostle Paul being aware how great a hindrance pride would be to the mutual condescension and sympathy which he had been recommending, and that a conceit of ourselves would dispose us to censure our brethren instead of bearing with their infirmities. Our goal therefore is to endeavor to restore them when overtaken with a fault.

Verse 3: Cautions against a man to think himself to be something–to entertain a fond opinion of his own sufficiency, to look upon himself as wiser and better than other men, and as fit to dictate and prescribe to them–when in truth he is nothing, has nothing of substance or solidity in him, or that can be a ground of the confidence and superiority which he assumes. To dissuade us from giving way to this temper Paul tells us that such a person only deceives himself. While he imposes upon others, by pretending to what he has not, he puts the greatest deception upon himself, and sooner or later will feel the effects of it. This attitude never gains him that esteem, either with God or good men, which he is ready to expect; he is neither the freer from mistakes nor will he be the more secure against temptations for the good opinion he has of his own sufficiency, but rather the more liable to fall into them, and to be overcome by them.

Verse 4: We are advised to prove our own work. By our own work is chiefly meant our own actions or behavior. Paul directs us to prove, that is seriously and impartially to examine them by the rule of God’s word, to see whether or not they are agreeable to it, and therefore such as God and conscience do approve. This Paul represents as the duty of every man; instead of being forward to judge and censure others, it would much more become us to search and try our own ways; our business lies more at home than abroad, with ourselves than with other men.

Items for Discussion

  • How can you identify the works that God has designed for you?
  • How would you define the word “burden?” What would a “heavy burden” be?
  • What do you do if you see a fellow believer struggling under one of these heavy burdens?
  • In the restoration process, there must be discipline and repentance, but those who are spiritual should aim to restore that person with gentleness. What do you do when a brother or sister fails because of sin? Do you go to them and try to restore them? Do you bear one another’s burdens?

Discussion Challenge

  • Describe the people, their relationships, there attitudes, their lifestyles, of a church that can live up to the Apostle Paul’s challenge to the Galatians. Where can we do better?

Notes:

  1. NIV New International Version Translations
  2. Matthew Henry’s Commentary
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