Death is certain, but does that mean we have to live our lives in dread of the bitter end? Can life, regardless of its length, be meaningful and rewarding?
THE READING (PSALM 90)
This is Moses’ only psalm, probably written during the wilderness wanderings of Israel. It serves as a good preface to the history recorded in the book of Numbers, since it summarizes Israel’s experiences during that time.
Discuss these questions to get a better understanding of the text.
- The psalm begins with a contrast between God’s eternal nature and our short, fragile life on earth (vv. 1-4). Why do you think Moses began this way? What does this contrast do to our perspective on life?
- Study the imagery in verses 5-9. What does it say about life on earth?
- Why do we have to die? Does Moses give an explanation? (see vv. 8-9).
- What is the lifespan given in verse 10? How accurate is it? What effect might the historical background of this passage have upon your interpretation of this verse?
- What does it mean to “number our days”? (v. 12). How can this exercise make us wiser?
- What is Moses’ overall message in this psalm?
Discuss these questions to envision what it would be like to practically live out this passage.
- Give some examples of how you have been unaware of life’s fragility. Why do you think we try to avoid the subject of death?
- What if life on earth was all there is? What if there were no afterlife? Would life be worth living?
- Moses prays that Israel might be “glad” during their short lives on earth. Is this possible?
- Jesus told the thief on the cross that his last day on earth would be his first day in paradise (Luke 23:43). How does the gospel help us cope with the brevity of this life?
- Is life different for those who believe there is more beyond this world?
- What is the wisdom we gain from the perspective of Psalm 90?