The Prayer of Moses

The Book of Psalms 

Psalm 90 – The Prayer of Moses  

Mosaic Rockford – Dave Spooner – Feb. 24th, 2019


  • The book of psalms contains some of the most profound and beloved words that have ever been written.  God uses them to build our faith, bring us perspective, give us wisdom, comfort our soul, illuminate our path and gives us words to express our thoughts and emotions. They are rich with imagery and deep in theology.  Take time to read, consider, meditate and apply them.  Start with discipline and let that discipline create in you a desire. May your desire for the word turn into delight.  
  • As we have noted earlier, the book of psalms is put together with 5 smaller books, starting with promise and ending in praise.  Book one is the book of trust, book two is one of questioning, book three deals with crisis, book four is one of hope and book five has the theme of love. 
  • This morning we are turning to Psalm 90 which starts the fourth book of psalms. It is written by Moses.  Moses is mentioned 852 times in the bible: 772 in the OT and 80 times in the NT.  He is named more times in the New Testament then any other OT character – even more than Abraham and David.  We know a lot about Moses, from his birth, to his upbringing, to his actions, to his exile, to his calling, to his task and to his death. Moses is the one who wrote the first 5 books of the bible. Moses is the one who received the 10 commandments. Moses is the one who God worked great wonders. Moses is the one who led the people out of slavery. Moses is the one who gave us the law. Moses is the one who set up the tabernacle and Moses is the one who talked to God face to face.  
  • In all that Moses did and said, he only wrote one psalm: psalm 90.  Knowing who he was, it is important for us to pay extra special attention to what he wrote.  With all of his background and experience, what would this man say?  What would be his prayer?  This psalm is focused on God: His preeminence, His supremacy, His justice in contrast to our wandering, our weakness and our woundedness.  And in the knowledge of who God is and who we are, Moses makes 7 requests of God. You will be wise, right and well served by having his understanding and making these requests your own.
Psalm 90 (TNIV)
A prayer of Moses the man of God. 
  • This is the heading given from the compilers of the psalms.  This psalm was written by Moses “the man of God.”  The title “Man of God” in scripture was only given to prophets and preachers who spoke the word of God to the people.    

The preeminence of God

Psalm 90:1-2 (TNIV)
Lord, you have been our dwelling place 
throughout all generations.
2 Before the mountains were born,
or you brought forth the whole world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God. 
  • This is a profound statement.  Lord, my sovereign, my king, my leader, you have been our dwelling place, our refuge, our safe place throughout all generations.  This is the opening statement and reflection from the one who was charged to bring the people into the promise land to give them a “dwelling place.”  This is the one who led the people as nomads from place to place looking for their proper “dwelling place.”   Moses is saying, “Our dwelling place, our refuge, our safe place is not a place- it is a person who is with us in every place. No matter where we are located, we live in you. You are our dwelling place, throughout all generations past to all generations in the future.”
  • Before the oldest things we know of (the mountains) before you brought forth the whole world, from eternity past, to eternity future, you are God. There is no one like you, there is no one except you, and in you everything was created, everything is sustained, everything is under.  In you we live and move and have our being.  You are preeminence, you are before, you are above your are over all things. You, and you alone are God.  

The supremacy of God 

Psalm 90:3-6 (TNIV)
You turn people back to dust,
saying, "Return to dust, you mortals." 
4 A thousand years in your sight
are like a day that has just gone by,
or like a watch in the night. 
5 Yet you sweep people away in the sleep of death—
they are like the new grass of the morning:
6 In the morning it springs up new,
but by evening it is dry and withered. 
  • He now reflects upon the supremacy of God.  That He is superior to all others in authority, power, or status.  He formed us out of the dust and returns us back to the dust.  He is eternal and we are mortal. To Him, a thousand years is like a day, like a watch in the night. He sweeps us all way in the sleep of death.  We in comparison to Him are like the new grass that sprouts in the morning and at the end of the day is dried up and has withered.  In comparison to God, we are weak, fading, and momentary.  He is the one who is eternal. He is the one who is in charge. He is the one who is above, and beyond and before all.  

The justice of God 

Psalm 90:7-11 (TNIV)
We are consumed by your anger
and terrified by your indignation.
8 You have set our iniquities before you,
our secret sins in the light of your presence. 
9 All our days pass away under your wrath;
we finish our years with a moan. 
10 Our days may come to seventy years, 
or eighty, if our strength endures;
yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow, 
for they quickly pass, and we fly away. 
11 If only we knew the power of your anger!
Your wrath is as great as the fear that is your due. 
  • God sees everything, even our “secret sins.” All our iniquities are exposed in the light of His presence.  He does not take them lightly.  Because of His justice, His perfection, His character these things ignite His anger and indignation and they bring His wrath.
  • His wrath is with us all our days as seen in our hardships, in our relationships and the toil in our work (See Gen. 3). It is seen in how we end our days in weakness and brokenness, we finish our years with a moan.  It is seen in how He has limited us in the length of our lifespan and even in the best of times there is still trouble and sorrows, our time quickly passes and then we fly away.
  • The power of His anger is immense in response to the depth and weight of our sin.  His wrath is great, His wrath is justified and we would do right to greatly fear Him.
  • Now in light of all this, Moses makes his requests to God.  And pay attention to what he says.  

The requests to God

Psalm 90:12-17 (TNIV)
Teach us to number our days, 
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.  
  • Here is the first request: Teach us – to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. 
  • In knowing that we have a very limited time on earth and are given just a handful of days, we then see that each day has immense value. With this knowledge, we are to use wisdom as to the best way to spend each day.  Time is too short for complaining, for bickering, for squandering. Use this day in gratefulness, for good and for what matters.
13 Relent, Lord! How long will it be?
Have compassion on your servants. 
  • Next, he asks that God would: Pity us – have compassion on your servants.
  • Relent, have mercy, have compassion, have pity on our weak, temporary and pitiful condition. Turn from your anger and give to your people compassion, and mercy and help.  (We see Jesus responding this way in the gospels.)
14 Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, 
that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. 
  • Satisfy us – with your unfailing love that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
  • We are all looking to be satisfied and we can only find our satisfaction in His unfailing love.  This is the only place where we will find our satisfaction. He loves us and His love is unfailing.  Moses is asking for a renewal of this every day and that we would start our day in satisfaction instead of living our day trying to find it.  This is a profound request.   
  • And when we are satisfied in Him this gives us a song of joy in our hearts and brings us gladness in all of our days.    
15 Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,
for as many years as we have seen trouble.
  • Then he asks that we would be glad during our lifetime, even though each day has trouble and toil.  Make us – glad for as many days as you have afflicted us.  This is in recognition that all good things come from God and He is the one that can give us gladness in our hearts.  
16 May your deeds be shown to your servants,
your splendor to their children. 
  • He says, “God, let us see your deeds, may your splendor be seen by me and my family. Show us – your deeds and your splendor!” 
  • He wants to see the glory of God in the things that He does!  Show me your handy work, show me your power, show me your goodness, show me who you are and what you can do!  This is a great request and one that is not only for himself but extends to his family and those who he cares the most about.  He ends his requests and his prayers with this.
17 May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us;
establish the work of our hands for us—
yes, establish the work of our hands. 
  • God, grant us – your favor, let it rest upon us.  God, favor us with your hand, guide us, direct us, touch us with your presence. Grant us your favor and may it be with us in all things.   
  • Make the work of our hands be established, may it count for something, may it add up to something, and may we be seen for who we are by what we accomplish in the work of our hands.  



  • You would be wise and really well served to meditate on and understand who God is and who we are in comparison.  Make this psalm your own.  Place these requests in your bible, in your place of prayer and pray them, request them and turn to them to guide your prayers and enrich your life.   
  • Next week we focus on Psalm 97 – The Lord Reigns
  • Prayer