2015 Verse of the Week #39: Psalm 90:1-2

My verses this week can be heard in the song, “God is Everlasting,” track 8 on the Seeds Family Worship album The Character of God. There are a couple of ideas in the passage that I think will be very helpful to me this week! So here it is:

Psalm 90:1-2

Lord, you have been our dwelling place
    in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth,
    or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
    from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

First of all I want to point out that Psalm 90 is attributed to Moses. Just if you wanted to know. 🙂 After thoroughly studying the story of Moses and the Exodus last year in Bible Study Fellowship it is helpful context for me to have as I read these words. Last year I learned a lot of things about Moses I hadn’t considered before. Most notable to me is the humility God displayed in his life. It was great timing for me to study Moses while realizing I was in need of humility in order to more closely follow the Lord.

Anyway, the first idea that stands out to me is in verse 1: “Lord, you have been our dwelling place….” The thought of God as my dwelling place is nice, but what does it actually mean? Lately I have received help from the Spirit in trusting God more actively. This looks like praying a whole lot more, specifically in the midst of going over and over a worry in my mind.

As a behavior analyst I know that when trying to eliminate an unwanted behavior it doesn’t work to simply stop it, because behavior doesn’t disappear into a vacuum– we are always doing something. No, it is much more beneficial to replace the unwanted behavior with a more desirable, appropriate, or beneficial one. Lately I have been working on replacing worry with prayer. When I read Psalm 90:1 my mind goes back to the feeling I get when I interrupt a worrying thought and begin to have prayerful thoughts. There is surrender, trust, and peace. That, to me, is the Lord being my dwelling place. I’m sure there is more to that idea of dwelling, but that’s what it means to me right now.

The second idea that sticks out to me is at the end of verse 2: “…from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” The song emphasizes this phrase, which makes it comforting to listen to. I know I have heard this phrase many times over the years, but I never really thought about it as anything more than flowery, Psalm-y language. Now I’m seeing that it is so much more. It tells us about God’s nature and character. God is not God from beginning to end, but from always-has-been to always-will-be. He was not created, for he always was. He made us similar to him (made in his image), but he is not like us; he had no beginning and he will not pass away. “From everlasting to everlasting” does sound poetic, but it is also informative. I’m glad I finally paid attention to this phrase.

If I believe the Bible to be true and that God reveals his character to us through its words, if I believe the other aspects of his character that I’ve focused on in previous weeks– creator, holy, love, light, Spirit, truth, wise, faithful– then it is foolishness not to trust in him. Why would I spin my wheels in the mud of worry when I can bring my concerns to the God who existed before the world began?

I mean, I still do spin my wheels that way sometimes; I’m pretty sure it’s human nature. But I hope in time I can replace that old, ineffective behavior with the more beneficial route of prayer. And when I say prayer I also mean trust and humility- acknowledging that I need God because I don’t know the future and worrying can’t change it anyway.

I need these words this week and beyond. Dear everlasting God, please be my dwelling place.

2015-09-27 14.41.42

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3 thoughts on “2015 Verse of the Week #39: Psalm 90:1-2

  1. I really like the idea of replacing an unwanted behaviour with a more beneficial one – it’s obvious, I guess, but not something that had been firmly articulated in my mind. Thanks!

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    • Many ideas in applied behavior analysis seem obvious once they are clearly explained. That’s why I love ABA so much. I hope this idea of replacement will help you as your little guy gets bigger! I feel like it’s a helpful idea for any teacher or parent: when you ask a child to stop doing something, you need to help them with what to do instead. Because- news flash- children don’t ever stop!

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