Psalm 90:2


There is something in the psalm that is wonderfully striking and solemn, acquainting us with the profoundest depths of the Divine nature (Ewald). In contrast with the ever-passing, ever-changing generations, God is the Abiding, Never-changing One. Independent of all things that exist, God is before all, and is the absolute Creator and Controller of all. The mountains have ever been man's best image of the stable and permanent, yet he is helped to conceive of God as before the mountains, more stable than the mountains, more enduring than the mountains. "From everlasting to everlasting" is, poetically, "from hidden time to hidden." There are time measures which we can use. There are eternity measures of which we can only think; they are now beyond our mental grasp. The eternity measures alone can be properly applied to God. Two things are the subjects of meditation in the first two verses of this psalm - the Divine independence, and the Divine relations. God is the Absolute Being - the "I am." God is in gracious, voluntary, relations - the "God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob." Beyond us as the subject suggested may be, it does us good to try our minds with it, and fill our souls with the wonder and the glory of it.

I. GOD WAS BEFORE ALL THINGS. Philosophers try to persuade themselves that matter is eternal; or they fix upon the atom, or upon water, as the essential primary thing. They are always driven back behind their conclusions, and urged to say whence comes the atom or the moisture. There is no consistent thinking that does not bring us to the conclusion that there was some self-existent, immaterial Being, who was the absolute originator of all material existence, and still exists in complete and conscious independence of everything he has made. He is beyond and above all the chances and changes of his own handiwork.

II. GOD IS IN ALL THINGS. Separable from them, but voluntarily interested in them. The life and light of all this wondrous world we see. The poetical faculty discerns his presence. Human experience attests his practical working. The religious sentiment opens the eyes, and makes the recognition of God easy. When we say all things, we mean absolutely all, not merely those which we are pleased to call religious.

III. GOD WILL BE AFTER ALL THINGS. This can but appeal to faith. To us the time is inconceivable when things will no longer exist. Conceive the time when material things exist no longer, you must think of God as still the One Being. In the One who never passes, never changes, we may put the perfect trust. - R.T.







Even from everlasting to everlasting Thou art God.
I. IN WHAT RESPECTS GOD IS ETERNAL.

1. Without beginning.

2. Without end.

3. Without succession or change.Of a creature it may be said, he was, or he is, or he shall be. As it may be said of the flame of a candle, it is flame, but it is not the same individual flame as was before, nor is it the same that will be presently after; there is a continual dissolution of it into air, and a continual supply for the generation of more; while it continues it may be said there is a flame, yet not entirely one, but in a succession of parts: so of a man it may be said, he is in a succession of parts; but he is not the same that he was, and will not be the same that he is. But God is the same without any succession of parts, and of time; of Him it may be said, He is; He is no more now than He was, and He shall be no more hereafter than He is.

II. GOD IS ETERNAL, AND MUST NEEDS BE SO.

1. This is evident by the name God gives Himself (Exodus 3:14). The eternity of God is opposed to the volubility of time, which is extended into past, present, and to come. Our time is but a small drop, as sand to all the atoms and small particles of which the world is made; but God is an unbounded sea of Being, — "I am that I am," i.e. an infinite life.

2. God hath life in Himself (John 5:26). He hath life by His essence, not by participation. He is a sun to give light and life to all creatures, but receives not light, or life from anything, and therefore He hath an unlimited life; not a drop of life, but a fountain; not a spark of a limited life, but a life transcending all bounds. He hath life in Himself; all creatures have their life in Him, and from Him. He that hath life in himself doth necessarily exist, and could never be made to exist, for then he had not life in himself, but in that which made him to exist, and gave him life. What doth necessarily exist, therefore, exists from eternity; what hath being of itself could never be produced in time, could not want being one moment, because it hath being from its essence, without influence of any efficient cause.

3. If God were not eternal, He were not —

(1)Immutable in His nature;

(2)An infinitely perfect being;

(3)Omnipotent;

(4)The first cause of all.

III. ETERNITY IS ONLY PROPER TO GOD, AND NOT COMMUNICABLE (1 Timothy 6:16). All other things receive their being from Him, and can be deprived of their being by Him. All things depend on Him, He of none. All other things are like clothes, which would consume if God preserved them not. Whatsoever is not God, is temporary; whatsoever is eternal, is God.

IV. USES —

1. Of information.(1) If God be of an eternal duration, then Christ is God (Colossians 1:16, 17; Hebrews 13:8; Revelation 1:8; John 16:28; John 17:5). As the eternity of God is the ground of all religion, so the eternity of Christ is the ground of the Christian religion. Could our sins be perfectly expiated had He not an eternal divinity to answer for the offences committed against an eternal God? Temporary sufferings had been of little validity, without an infiniteness and eternity in His person to add weight to His passion.(2) If God be eternal, He knows all things as present.(3) How bold and foolish is it for a mortal creature to censure the counsels and actions of an eternal God, or be too curious in his inquisitions!(4) What a folly and boldness is there in sin, since an eternal God is offended thereby!(5) How dreadful is it to lie under the stroke of an eternal God!

2. Of comfort.(1) If God be eternal, His covenant will be so.(2) If God be eternal, He being our God in covenant is an eternal good and possession.(3) The enjoyment of God will be as fresh and glorious after many ages as it was at first.(4) If God be eternal, here is a strong ground of comfort against all the distresses of the Church, and the threats of the Church's enemies. God's abiding for ever is the plea Jeremiah makes for his return to his forsaken Church (Lamentations 5:19).(5) Since God is eternal, He hath as much power as will to be as good as His word. His promises are established upon His eternity, and this perfection is a main ground of trust (Isaiah 26:4).

3. For exhortation.(1) Let us be deeply affected with our sins long since committed. Though they are past with us, they are in regard of God's eternity present with Him; there is no succession in eternity as there is in time.(2) Let the consideration of God's eternity abate our pride.(3) Let the consideration of God's eternity take off our love and confidence from the world, and the things thereof. The eternity of God reproaches a pursuit of the world, as preferring a momentary pleasure before an everlasting God; as though a temporal world could be a better supply than a God whose years never fail.

(S. Charnock.)

I. EXPLICATION. Eternity is a duration without bounds or limits; now there are two limits of duration, beginning and ending; that which hath always been, is without beginning; that which always shall be, is without ending. But eternity, absolutely taken, comprehends both these, and signifies an infinite duration, which had no beginning, nor shall have any end: so that when we say God is eternal, we mean that He always was, and shall be for ever; that He had no beginning of life, nor shall have any end of days; but that He is "from everlasting to everlasting."

II. PROOF.

1. From the dictates of natural reason. This attribute of God is of all others least disputed among the philosophers; all agree that God is eternal, and are agreed what eternity is; viz. a boundless duration; and however they did attribute a beginning to their heroes and demons, whence come the genealogies of their gods, yet the Supreme God they looked upon as without beginning; and it is a good evidence that this perfection doth clearly belong to God, that Epicurus, who had the lowest and meanest conceptions of God, yet is forced to attribute this to Him: Tully (do Nat. Deor. lib. I) saith to the Epicureans, "Where, then, is your happy and eternal Being, by which two epithets you express God?" And Lucretius gives this account of the Divine nature, "It is absolutely necessary to the nature of the gods to pass an eternity in profound peace and quiet."

2. From Scripture and Divine revelation. St. Peter's conversion of the words, "One day is as a thousand years," etc., only signifies this, that the longest duration of time is so inconsiderable to God, that it is as the shortest; that is, bears no proportion to the eternity of God. But directly, the Scripture frequently mentions this attribute (Genesis 21:33; Deuteronomy 33:27; Isaiah 57:15); and this, as it is attributed to Him in respect of His being, so in respect of all His other perfections (Psalm 103:17; Romans 1:20; 1 Timothy 1:17; Galatians 1:5).

III. DOCTRINAL COROLLARIES.

1. From the eternity of God, we may infer, that He is of Himself. That which always is can have nothing before it to be a cause of its being.

2. We may infer the necessity of His being. It is necessary everything should be, when it is; now, that which is always is absolutely necessary, because always so.

3. The immutability of the Divine nature; for being always, He is necessarily; and being necessarily, He cannot but be what He is; a change of His being is as impossible as a cessation.

IV. PRACTICAL INFERENCES. The consideration of God's eternity may serve —

1. For the support of our faith. There are two attributes which are the proper objects of our faith and confidence — God's goodness, and His power; both these are eternal.

2. For the encouragement of our obedience. We serve the God who can give us an everlasting reward.

3. For the terror of wicked men.

(J. Tillotson.)

"Time and space are not God; but creations of God: with Him it is universal here; so it is an everlasting how."

(T. Carlyle.)

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