This is another one of the heavy hitter Psalms found between number 90 and number 110. This Psalm is the basis for the familiar hymn, "O God our help in ages past", which is sometimes sung at remembrance Day services and funerals.
I remember the time that I got out my calculator and figured out how many days there were in our lifetime, and how many of them I had left. There is an incident in Genesis 6:8 where people were living a very long time and becoming very good at being rascals for this reason, the author comments that God decided to cut us back to 120 years old, so we wouldn’t trash the place before we had time to smarten up. The psalmist here comments that we may have been given 120 years, but most of us don’t make it past about 70, so most of us have fallen into thinking that’s all there is in life. The Jews have two major toasts – “to life”, and “to the 120”.
Somebody said once that wisdom is the residual effect of all the stupid things we do and survive, because wisdom is built right into the fabric of life. As we engage with life, on a day-to-day basis, we encounter incredible wisdom in how the world is constructed.
There is a fascinating passage in the introductory section of the book of Proverbs (a type of literature called wisdom literature) in which the author speaks of this phenomenon of wisdom being integrated with every aspect of life (Proverbs 8:22-31). The way he expressed it was that God made wisdom first, and made everything else through wisdom, thereby accounting for the fact that wisdom is now found in everything that’s made – an interesting concept.