Signposts: Daily Devotions

Written by Larry Pray

Monday, October 13

May your deeds be shown to your servants, your splendor to their children. May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us— yes, establish the work of our hands.
—Psalm 90:16-17

My wife and I raised four children. Like most parents we often had to repeat our expectations. The refrain, “If I've told you once, I've told you twice, I've told you a thousand times” became part of our family litany. We knew, of course, that “once should be enough.”  But when a message is important it often bears repeating. 

So it is in Psalm 90. Not just once, but twice, the Psalmist repeats the prayer of his congregation. “Establish the work of our hands for us…yes, establish the work of our hands!” 

Why does the prayer bear repeating? When we spoke to our children, they often had something else on their minds. And, if the truth be told, so did we. They were in a rush to get to their next activity, and we were thinking of calming one commotion or another before we too jumped to the next event. On all sides agendas were at work. And, on all sides, there was a need to slow down. 

The Psalmist speaks to all of us seeking to discern the difference between mere activity and genuine engagement. We would like the work of our hands to be God's work, but know our actions are often informed by our own opinions, our own beliefs, and our own agendas. And so the Psalmist first asks that we may be aware of God's work. And then he asks not once, but twice, that we may be part of that work. 

“Establish the work of our hands for us,” he writes. Then the deeper conversation can begin, and then we become part of God's continuing creation.

Loving God, we have been so busy we have failed to notice the splendor of your creation, and have been slow to ask you for guidance. Establish the work of our hands. Yes...establish the work of our hands. In the name of Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith we pray. Amen.