I was meditating on Psalm 90 recently. It is the psalm where we get the fairly well known verse “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” What caught my eye this time was the final verse (verse 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!
I have been praying (and ask you to pray) that in light of my new self-employment, that I would wholly trust not in my skills or my smarts or my contacts but in the Lord Almighty who loves me and has promised to take care of me. For my personality and temptation patterns, this idea of self-sufficiency is a huge current struggle with sin. It is interesting to me that Moses – a guy who had led two million people out of Egypt and defeated nations – would be asking the Lord to establish the works of their hands rather than rely on themselves. He was much more “qualified” to rely on his resume than I am.
Perhaps you have never faced that temptation of self sufficiency. As I’ve shared my prayer request with others, the vast majority tell me they are much more likely to be tempted toward either anxiety or inferiority, believing that God would not do anything through them. If this is your life, I have two reminders for you.
Remember that God Himself has promised that you will do things for Him. Ephesians 2:10 says “For you are His workmanship (literally His poems), created in Christ Jesus for good works He has prepared in advance for you.” The same God who promised to begin the work He began in you, promised that He has prepared work for you to do. What an encouragement! The sovereign god of the universe who could simply accomplish every goal with one word from His mouth has invited you and I to do good works, and more than that has prepared them especially for us! WOW.
The second thought is that all this happens inside the context of God’s majesty being shown to us. Verse 16 makes that clear:
Let your work be shown to your servants, and your glorious power to their children.
God does want us to do good works but the goal of them is neither simply our prosperity nor our popularity. God’s special purpose in inviting our work is to show Himself as a majestic God able to work even through such weak and fallen vessels as us. If anything, this makes it even more amazing – we have the chance to be used by God as He establishes the work of our hands in work He has prepared in advance for us. He has promised to succeed in completing the work He began in us. He wants men to see our good works and glorify Him. We can have confidence in that promise because that same God raised Jesus from the dead to show the world that nothing – not even death – can get in the way of his mission.
As humble servants we can echo with Job, “I know that you can do all things, no plan of yours can be thwarted.” (Even his plan to work through us to establish His kingdom both now and forevermore.)