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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | Psalm 90:12–17

So teach us to count our days
   that we may gain a wise heart.

Turn, O Lord! How long?
   Have compassion on your servants!
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,
   so that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
Make us glad as many days as you have afflicted us,
   and as many years as we have seen evil.
Let your work be manifest to your servants,
   and your glorious power to their children.

Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us,
   and prosper for us the work of our hands—
   O prosper the work of our hands! (NRSV)

This psalm is called “A Prayer of Moses, the man of God.” It is the only psalm attributed to Moses and is the beginning of Book IV of the Psalter. The first eleven verses lay out the crushing impact of God’s righteous anger at the nation of Israel for their treasonous behavior at the beginning of the exodus from Egypt.

I cannot say that I have messed up at the magnitude of those exiles; however, the prayer in today’s passage speaks directly to me.

Moses prays that we will comprehend our mortality so that we will show the wisdom of ones who recognize that time is, indeed, short. I hear Moses telling me to be clear in my purpose and be passionate in my mission. I am also reminded that all that I do manage to accomplish is “prospered” by God.

Despite all the ways I have fallen short and failed God, I concentrate on how God blesses me every morning so that I may rejoice and be glad each day of my life. Therefore, I pray that God’s work will manifest in my life and efforts and that God will “prosper the work of my hands.”

The end of this passage can be read as a plea, but I prefer to read “prosper the work of our hands” as a promise. I am completely overwhelmed when I look at how powerless I am. However, when I concentrate on what can be done when we all let God prosper the work of our hands, I know that great things can be done.

Eternal God, help us to seek that which is high, noble, and good. Help us to work with renewed vigor for a warless world, a better distribution of wealth, and a brother- and sisterhood that transcends all of our differences. Amen.

Written by Blake Anderson, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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