The Old Testament was written for the spiritual education of Christians (1 Corinthians 10:11). One of its important purposes is to reveal that God’s wrath is against all human ungodliness and unrighteousness (Romans 1:18). Every transgression of and disobedience to the Law given to Moses received a just recompense of reward (Hebrews 2:2).
Moses witnessed the wrath of God up close. Real close.
- He observed Jehovah’s devastation of Egypt because of Pharoah’s impenitent, stubborn heart.
- His ears heard God personally say to him on Mount Sinai: “Let Me alone that My wrath may burn hot against them, and I may consume them” (Exodus 32:10).
- His eyes saw the transformation of his sister Miriam into a leper because of the Lord’s anger toward her (Numbers 12:9-10).
- He was listening when God stated that He wanted to strike the Israelites with pestilence and disinherit them because of their refusal to enter and conquer the land of promise (Numbers 14:12).
- He was in the heat of battle with Korah, Dathan, Abiram, and others when the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up with their households and all their goods, and then fire came out from the Lord and consumed 250 men (Numbers 16).
- He heard the grumblers complain about God’s provisions in the wilderness and saw the fiery serpents that bit and killed many (Numbers 21).
He knew what it was to be exceedingly afraid and trembling (Hebrews 12:21). He knew the horrific accuracy of the statement that “it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31).
So, when Moses writes: “For we have been consumed by Your anger, and by Your wrath we are terrified. You have set our iniquities before You, our secret sins in the light of Your countenance. For all our days have passed away in Your wrath; we finish our years like a sigh. The days of our lives are seventy years; and if by reason of strength they are eighty years, yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. Who knows the power of Your anger? For as the fear of You, so is Your wrath” (Psalm 90:7-11), we should pay very close attention to the counsel he gives concerning how we ought then to live.
His counsel is “teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).