“Was today a good day?” I crawled into bed and prepared to sleep, my mind anxiously evaluating the previous 24 hours. Using a haphazard set of metrics, I interrogated myself, “Was today a success? Did I accomplish my goals and get what I wanted?”
I never fall asleep quickly when my thoughts spiral like this. And any sleep that I get is not particularly restful. My problem is that I tend to overanalyze my day once it has ended.
Instead of this end-of-the-day anxious spiral, the psalmist provides believers with a confident prayer that flips worry on its head. Psalm 90:14 says, “Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.” It is easy to read these nineteen words quickly, but this verse contains glorious truths that enable us to evaluate our day before it even begins.
“God’s love helps us receive and interpret our circumstances instead of having our hearts controlled by them.”
That first word, satisfy, might be the most important word in this verse. At the start, the psalmist asks God to satisfy him, giving us both an example and permission to ask God to make us happy.
While our long lists of dissatisfactions often cause sleepless nights, our neediness and dependence unmistakably reveal the truth that we are not meant to achieve satisfaction on our own. In every circumstance, this psalm calls us to turn to the Lord and ask him to satisfy us.
What might a prayer for satisfaction in God look like in different circumstances? If we are disinterested or lethargic, we should ask God to fascinate and animate us. If we are bored or distracted, we should ask God to delight and captivate us. When we are lonely or miserable, we can ask God to accompany and comfort us.
While the others spend the entire day searching for satisfaction, God satisfies his children at the start of their day. Having received satisfaction from God in the morning, believers are liberated each day to glorify God.
This satisfaction of God sets us free to navigate our lives in faith. The world uses work to chase satisfaction through personal accomplishments. We are freed by God’s satisfaction, liberated to glorify God with our work and provide for our families.
The world uses recreation to chase satisfaction through the pursuit of pleasure. We are freed by God’s satisfaction, liberated to find joy whatever the circumstances. The world uses people to chase satisfaction through approval. We are freed by God’s satisfaction, liberated to glorify God by loving people — genuinely interacting and caring for them.
God’s love helps us receive and interpret our circumstances instead of having our hearts controlled by them. Rather than looking at our schedules and hoping for a good day, or creating a plan to make a good day, we look to the satisfying love of God that he generously offers each morning.
And we don’t need to wonder whether God’s love for us is going to fade or fail; God’s love is just as steadfast as he is. As Jeremiah wrote, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end.” God’s love and mercy, the prophet tells us, are “new every morning.”
We describe God’s love as both “steadfast” and “new” — a confusing pair of adjectives. But because God’s eternal nature never changes, his love toward his children is steadfast. And because God upholds the universe through new, creative energies that he inexhaustibly sustains (his gloriously plural, “mercies”), his love for his children is new every morning.
“The Lord is my portion,” the prophet concludes, so we can “hope in him.” (Lamentations 3:22–24). God gives us his merciful love each day; this is our daily baseline for hope.
Normally, Hebrew poetry uses parallelism. That means that the Psalms make their point by using two (or more) closely corresponding lines. A strictly parallel reading leads us to expect the verse to say something like, “Satisfy us in the morning, that we may be glad till the evening.” If God satisfies us at the start of the day, we expect to remain happy until the day’s end.
Here, however, the psalmist surprises us. In a twist of gospel math, a daily (“in the morning”) prayer for satisfaction is answered by a lifetime (“all our days”) of joy and gladness.
How can one morning’s worth of satisfaction provide a lifetime of joy? Certainly some of the answer rests directly in the verse — God’s steadfast love will last our entire lives.