Psalm 90 Bible Commentary

John Darby’s Synopsis

(Read all of Psalm 90)
Introduction to Book 4 of Psalms:  The contents and connection of the first four books of the Psalms

The fourth Book is not so markedly separated from the third, as the preceding three from one another; and specially the third from the first two, because the third, while prophetically announcing the blessing, describes a state of things which leaves the expectation of divine interference to bring in the blessing in full play. The first had given the great principles of the position of the Jewish remnant in connection with the history of Christ; in the second, they are viewed as outside Jerusalem; the third turns to the condition of Israel as a nation restored to their land, but not yet in the full blessing of Jehovah; the fourth, as I have said, completes this by the coming of Messiah. This connects the nation and Christ, as well as the nation and Jehovah. Thus the book is introduced with the nation's connection with Jehovah, looking to His returning and finally blessing them, that His beauty may be upon them. The second psalm of the book shews Christ's connection with the nation as man in this world; the third psalm (92) gives, in prophetic celebration, the great result, into the whole establishment of which the Psalms 93 to 100 enter; then some deeply interesting details as to Christ (Psalms 101, 102); while the general result, as displaying Jehovah's ways, is treated in the praises of Psalms 103, 104, as to Israel and the earth; Jehovah's dealings from the beginning, and Israel's ways, on the contrary, with Him, in Psalms 105, 106, which close the book.

Commentary on Psalm 90

The nation's faith in Jehovah: desire for His return in deliverance and blessing

The first psalm (90) of the book places the people—that is, the godly believing part of it—on the ground of faith in Jehovah, and expresses the desire of deliverance and blessing from His hand. First, the godly Israelite owns Jehovah to have been the dwelling-place of Israel for all generations, their shelter and their home; next, He was the everlasting God before the world was, and turned and returned man in a moment, as seemed to Him good: time was no time to Him. Now Israel was consumed by His anger. But this was not all. Though His power was absolute, its use was not arbitrary. It was true and holy moral government; and unfeigned confession is made, not merely of open faults, but of that holy government of God which sets secret sins in the light of His countenance (for so, blessed be God, He does). Their days were passed in this wrath. They look that the pride of their heart may be so broken, their feeble mortality remembered, that the self-sufficiency, so natural to our heart, might be done away with, and that heart applied to wisdom the fear of God. This putting of man in his place and God in His, connected with faith, as Israel's in Jehovah, is full of instruction as to the moral position suited for the remnant in that day—in its principle ever true. Thus Jehovah is looked to to return for deliverance, with the word of faith—how long? and, as regards His servants, that His work might appear, as the affliction came from Him; and that the beauty of Jehovah their God might be upon them, and their work established by Him. It is the true faith of relationship, but of relationship with the supreme God in His holy government upon earth. But, if so, Jehovah is the God of Israel.