“Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations.” (Psalm 90:1-17 )
I have referenced the entire chapter of Psalm 90 because I feel it is important to understand the context of this verse. It is said to be a prayer of Moses the man of God, and reading it I can believe that. I encourage you to read the whole Psalm.
Verse one and two speaks of God’s power and presence in the world. Verses three through six sets the human world against the vastness and authority of God’s presence. Verses seven through ten states where humanity’s place is,how we compare to God, and how we feel before God. Verses eleven through fourteen are petitions for God’s wisdom and teachings. And verses fifteen through seventeen are requests for blessings upon God’s people.
These verses illustrate quite well that God is larger and eternal against the frailness, fallibility, and fleetingness of humanity. It should be no surprise than that our ideas and concepts of peace are small against God’s. And in the same way, our concept of when and how peace will come is very different from God’s. The way God envisions peace is that the whole world and all creation will be at peace. And we, who are like dust (verse three), toil away at small pools and ponds of peace that are rippled and splashed away by the violence and evil that consumes the world.
But it is unthinkable to give up. And Moses (if he is the author of this Psalm, which I am not disputing) states clearly that humanity should continue to work and toil for good in the world, and doing so is not a hopeless and impossible task. Verse twelve says, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom“ and verse fourteen says, “Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.” And verse seventeen concludes by saying, “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.” And should not the work of our hands be working towards shalom for all people?
If we would dwell in the Lord, we dwell in the hope that God’s shalom will be a reality to us; and that we may show others a glimpse of Gods’ shalom that can only be known in part in this world. In our daily world, within the limits of our humanity, we talk about peace, hope for peace, and work towards peace. But we need to be reminded every once in a while that God’s peace, which is shalom, is bigger than we can fathom. Let that thought gives us hope that we toil not in vain, but as a part of the grander vision that God holds for us in the world to come. Selah!