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ISSUE # 50


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  • djswafford




ISSUE # 50 - PSALM 90-97

"70 Years"

"The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away." Psalm 90:10

It may surprise some that David did not write all the Psalms. In fact, there were several writers. Moses is the writer of Psalm 90. He sings of the frailty of man, and the shortness of life.

In verse ten he makes an interesting statement, "The days of our years are threescore years and ten."

Moses himself lived longer than this, but his was the exception not the rule: in his day life had come to be very much the same in duration as it is with us. This is brevity itself compared with the men of the elder time; it is nothing when contrasted with eternity. Yet is life long enough for virtue and piety, and all too long for vice and blasphemy. Moses here in the original writes in a disconnected manner, as if he would set forth the utter insignificance of man's hurried existence. His words may be rendered, "The days of our years! In them seventy years"—as much as to say, "The days of our years? What about them? Are they worth mentioning? The account is utterly insignificant, their full tally is but seventy."

And if by reason of strength they be fourscore years—yet is their strength labor and sorrow.

The unusual strength which overleaps the bound of threescore and ten, only lands the aged man in a region where life is a weariness and a woe. The strength of old age, its very prime and pride, are but labor and sorrow; what must its weakness be? What panting for breath! What toiling to move! What a failing of the senses! What a crushing sense of weakness! The evil days are come and the years wherein a man cries, "I have no pleasure in them." The grasshopper has become a burden and desire fails. Such is old age.

Yet mellowed by hallowed experience, and solaced by immortal hopes, the latter days of aged Christians are not so much to be pitied as envied. The sun is setting and the heat of the day is over—but sweet is the calm and cool of the eventide: and the fair day melts away, not into a dark and dreary night—but into a glorious, unclouded, eternal day!

The mortal fades to make room for the immortal; the old man falls asleep to wake up in the region of perennial youth.

For it is soon cut off, and we fly away.

The cable is broken and the vessel sails upon the sea of eternity. The chain is snapped and the eagle mounts to its native air above the clouds. Moses mourned for men as he thus sung: and well he might, as all his comrades fell at his side. His words are more nearly rendered, "He drives us fast and we fly away;" as the quail were blown along by the strong west wind, so are men hurried before the tempests of death. To us, however, as believers, the winds are favorable; they bear us as the gales bear the swallows away from the wintry realms, to lands

"Where everlasting spring abides

And never withering flowers."

Who wishes it to be otherwise? Why should we linger here? What has this poor world to offer us that we should tarry on its shores? Away, away! This is not our rest. Heavenward, He! Let the Lord's winds drive fast if so he ordains, for they waft us the more swiftly to himself, and our own dear country.


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