Tuesday, January 10
The universe is big. REALLY big. You know it and I know it, but I don’t usually stop and think about just how big it all is. I am not a whiz when it comes to science, but some scientists estimate that there is roughly 440 sextillion kilometers of space. I can’t even get my head around that number. When have we ever had to use sextillion to describe anything else? And this is all part of our observable universe, because we can’t see past a certain point for a variety of reasons. Therefore it is possible that the universe is INFINITE. Whoa. And if you really want to have your mind blown, in mathematics, we can learn that there are different sets or levels of infinity, meaning that some infinities are bigger than other infinities.
Now, if you are like me, you may need to take a moment to clear your head of all that big-ness. It is a lot to take in.
In the Ancient World of the Psalms, people thought of the world differently. The idea of an infinite universe would have been completely unthinkable. I won’t digress into their actual way of thinking about the world, but they thought space was limited to Earth. However, they had no such notion about TIME. Time, for the authors of the Psalms, was something that goes back forever and goes forward forever. Time is what the Earth will always experience and go through, and since Earth will experience it, so will people.
Psalm 90 is a big reminder that people are mortal, or that people are born, they live and they die. We all go through that process. Nobody that is can skip any portion. People “return to dust”, recalling the opening chapters of Genesis. The author uses a number of images to express what people are like; grass (90:5-6), a sigh or tale that is told (9). We are all a mist or a shadow, to use other metaphors in scripture. And the author even gives a longer estimate of life, because he says that we receive 70 or 80 years! But that is nothing in comparison to the world, to the sun, the moon and the stars.
And least of all to God. God is eternal; God does not suffer from the passage of time, God does not experience time as humans do, and some Christian thinkers even say that God is outside of time. The eternality of God is in beautiful contrast to the mortality of humanity. YHWH is God before the mountains were born or he gave birth to the world, from “eternity to eternity”.(90:1-2) A thousand years are like a day to the Almighty. (90:4) Just as your days pass by quickly, so do thousands of years for God, because he literally has all the time in the world.
Because of this we should rejoice! Not because we only have to endure a few decades of doldrums, but because we are connected to the God who reigns forever. Psalm 93 says “Your throne has been established from the beginning; You are from eternity.” God is praised for being the King, and the King forever. God’s holiness and beauty will be established for all the days to come (93:5). With all this in mind, it is understandable why the authors of the psalms would cry out “Come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. 7 For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, the sheep under His care.” How amazing is it that the eternal, all-powerful, King of the Universe would want to be our shepherd. Let that truth sink in, and when it will, it will blow. your. mind.
-Pastor Jake Ballard
(Photo credit: http://hiswordinpictures.blogspot.com/2014/10/psalm-904.html)