Sunday Recap for 12/31 Big Picture Question: How should a Christian plan for the future?

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On Sunday, December 31, Evident Grace Fellowship looked at Psalm 90:

1 Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. 2 Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. 3 You return man to dust and say, “Return, O children of man!” 4 For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night. 5 You sweep them away as with a flood; they are like a dream, like grass that is renewed in the morning: 6 in the morning it flourishes and is renewed; in the evening it fades and withers. 7 For we are brought to an end by your anger; by your wrath we are dismayed. 8 You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.

9 For all our days pass away under your wrath; we bring our years to an end like a sigh. 10 The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away. 11 Who considers the power of your anger, and your wrath according to the fear of you? 12 So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.

13 Return, O Lord! How long? Have pity on your servants! 14 Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. 15 Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, and for as many years as we have seen evil. 16 Let your work be shown to your servants, and your glorious power to their children.  17 Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!

To set the stage for the Christian’s guidance in planning, we read these two verses:

James 4:13-15,“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring.  What is your life?  For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.  Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’” 

James encourages us toward humility in offering our plants for His will.

Proverbs 6:6 Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise.7 Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, 8 she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest.

Proverbs 6 encourages us to plan and prepare.

With that, we looked at this Big Picture Question:

How does a Christian plan for a new year?

And we found these 3 answers to our Big Picture Question:

  • Purposefully Praise God
  • Repent Over the Sins of the Past Year
  • Make Plans and Offer Them to God

The context of Psalm 90 is Moses’ and the people’s sin as they approached the Promised Land.  The people grumbled, and Moses sinned in His anger, and God makes this declaration:

Numbers 14: 33 And your children shall be shepherds in the wilderness forty years and shall suffer for your faithlessness, until the last of your dead bodies lies in the wilderness. 34 according to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, forty days, a year for each day, you shall bear your iniquity forty years, and you shall know my displeasure.’ 35 I, the Lord, have spoken. Surely this will I do to all this wicked congregation who are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall come to a full end, and there they shall die.”

In light of that, Moses writes this Psalm:

Purposefully Praise God

Psalm 90:1 Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. 2 Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. 3 You return man to dust and say, “Return, O children of man!” 4 For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night. 5 You sweep them away as with a flood; they are like a dream, like grass that is renewed in the morning: 6 in the morning it flourishes and is renewed; in the evening it fades and withers.

God took away the Promised Land from Moses, and He declares that the Lord is His dwelling place.  For Moses, He knows that God is a better land.  God is better than any good thing that He might want.  Losing the land will be okay as long as He never loses God.  For us, as we plan for next year, we must make sure that we place God as the highest desire and satisfaction of our heart so that we will be content at whatever God gives us from His hand.

Repent Over the Sins of the Past Year

Psalm 90:7 For we are brought to an end by your anger; by your wrath we are dismayed. 8 You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence. 9 For all our days pass away under your wrath; we bring our years to an end like a sigh. 10 The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away. 11 Who considers the power of your anger, and your wrath according to the fear of you? 12 So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.

Moses and the people had plenty to repent over.  What helps Moses to do so is a right picture of His sin before God.  In the light of God’s presence, we should all shrink before God’s wrath.  Rightfully seeing our sin that way enables us to number our days with a heart of wisdom.

Make Plans and Offer Them to God

Psalm 90:13 Return, O Lord! How long? Have pity on your servants! 14 Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. 15 Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, and for as many years as we have seen evil. 16 Let your work be shown to your servants, and your glorious power to their children.  17 Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!

Moses faced an uncertain future – 40 years of wandering.  He had planned on enjoying the rest of the Promised Land, but now he will wander.  And as God fed the people will manna in the morning, what Moses truly wants is to enjoy the steadfast love of God each morning.  For us in our planning, we must desire God’s steadfast love as we consider anything we want.  That way, whatever God gives us, we know we will have all we need.

Big Picture Question:  How does a Christian plan for a new year?

Truth:  Planning for a Year begins best with praise, moves towards repentance, and then culminates in a prayerful offering of your desires to God.

Application:  Plan for next year knowing that God graciously forgives your sins and will bless you with grace as you plan for 2018.

Action:  Pray for God’s favor and the establishing of the work of your hands in 2018.  

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