Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations.
2 Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.
3 Thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest, Return, ye children of men.
4 For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.
5 Thou carriest them away as with a flood; they are as a sleep: in the morning they are like grass which groweth up.
6 In the morning it flourisheth, and groweth up; in the evening it is cut down, and withereth.
7 For we are consumed by thine anger, and by thy wrath are we troubled.
8 Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance.
9 For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told.
10 The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
11 Who knoweth the power of thine anger? even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath.
12 So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.
13 Return, O Lord, how long? and let it repent thee concerning thy servants.
14 O satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
15 Make us glad according to the days wherein thou hast afflicted us, and the years wherein we have seen evil.
16 Let thy work appear unto thy servants, and thy glory unto their children.
17 And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.
This prayer of Moses begins by acknowledging that God Himself, through all human time, has been “our dwelling place.” “For in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). “From everlasting (without beginning) to everlasting (without ending), Thou art God.”
Moses speaks of God’s work in creating our world—turning in the final lines to our work and our hands, praying that God will “establish” it, or “direct” or “prosper” it or “give us success” or “make the work of our hands stand strong” (various versions).
But what stirs me most deeply, working as I do in art, is the prayer: “Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us”!
Scripture speaks of “the beauty of holiness” (I Chronicles 20:21), of David’s longing “to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord” (Psalm 27:4). That beauty is not only the light of His glory, but is seen in His character—why He does what He does and how He goes about doing it.
We can be part of His story! His beauty can be not only on us, but in our hearts and characters! Then the work of our hands will reflect His glory!
"The atonement of Christ is not a mere skillful way to have our sins pardoned; it is a divine remedy for the cure of transgression and the restoration of spiritual health. It is the Heaven-ordained means by which the righteousness of Christ may be not only upon us, but in our hearts and characters." --Ellen White, 6BC1074.
Artist—designing and building stained glass windows
Spokane Valley Seventh-day Adventist Church, Washington, USA.