Weds 8th February - Psalm 89
A maskil[b] of Ethan the Ezrahite.
1 I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever;
with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known
through all generations.
2 I will declare that your love stands firm forever,
that you have established your faithfulness in heaven itself.
3 You said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one,
I have sworn to David my servant,
4 ‘I will establish your line forever
and make your throne firm through all generations.’”[c]
5 The heavens praise your wonders, Lord,
your faithfulness too, in the assembly of the holy ones.
6 For who in the skies above can compare with the Lord?
Who is like the Lord among the heavenly beings?
7 In the council of the holy ones God is greatly feared;
he is more awesome than all who surround him.
8 Who is like you, Lord God Almighty?
You, Lord, are mighty, and your faithfulness surrounds you.
9 You rule over the surging sea;
when its waves mount up, you still them.
10 You crushed Rahab like one of the slain;
with your strong arm you scattered your enemies.
11 The heavens are yours, and yours also the earth;
you founded the world and all that is in it.
12 You created the north and the south;
Tabor and Hermon sing for joy at your name.
13 Your arm is endowed with power;
your hand is strong, your right hand exalted.
14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne;
love and faithfulness go before you.
15 Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you,
who walk in the light of your presence, Lord.
16 They rejoice in your name all day long;
they celebrate your righteousness.
17 For you are their glory and strength,
and by your favor you exalt our horn.[d]
18 Indeed, our shield[e] belongs to the Lord,
our king to the Holy One of Israel.
19 Once you spoke in a vision,
to your faithful people you said:
“I have bestowed strength on a warrior;
I have raised up a young man from among the people.
20 I have found David my servant;
with my sacred oil I have anointed him.
21 My hand will sustain him;
surely my arm will strengthen him.
22 The enemy will not get the better of him;
the wicked will not oppress him.
23 I will crush his foes before him
and strike down his adversaries.
24 My faithful love will be with him,
and through my name his horn[f] will be exalted.
25 I will set his hand over the sea,
his right hand over the rivers.
26 He will call out to me, ‘You are my Father,
my God, the Rock my Savior.’
27 And I will appoint him to be my firstborn,
the most exalted of the kings of the earth.
28 I will maintain my love to him forever,
and my covenant with him will never fail.
29 I will establish his line forever,
his throne as long as the heavens endure.
30 “If his sons forsake my law
and do not follow my statutes,
31 if they violate my decrees
and fail to keep my commands,
32 I will punish their sin with the rod,
their iniquity with flogging;
33 but I will not take my love from him,
nor will I ever betray my faithfulness.
34 I will not violate my covenant
or alter what my lips have uttered.
35 Once for all, I have sworn by my holiness—
and I will not lie to David—
36 that his line will continue forever
and his throne endure before me like the sun;
37 it will be established forever like the moon,
the faithful witness in the sky.”
38 But you have rejected, you have spurned,
you have been very angry with your anointed one.
39 You have renounced the covenant with your servant
and have defiled his crown in the dust.
40 You have broken through all his walls
and reduced his strongholds to ruins.
41 All who pass by have plundered him;
he has become the scorn of his neighbors.
42 You have exalted the right hand of his foes;
you have made all his enemies rejoice.
43 Indeed, you have turned back the edge of his sword
and have not supported him in battle.
44 You have put an end to his splendor
and cast his throne to the ground.
45 You have cut short the days of his youth;
you have covered him with a mantle of shame.
46 How long, Lord? Will you hide yourself forever?
How long will your wrath burn like fire?
47 Remember how fleeting is my life.
For what futility you have created all humanity!
48 Who can live and not see death,
or who can escape the power of the grave?
49 Lord, where is your former great love,
which in your faithfulness you swore to David?
50 Remember, Lord, how your servant has[g] been mocked,
how I bear in my heart the taunts of all the nations,
51 the taunts with which your enemies, Lord, have mocked,
with which they have mocked every step of your anointed one.
52 Praise be to the Lord forever!
Meditation on Psalm 89
Wow! What a psalm. It’s the final psalm in Book 3 of the psalms and it has so much to share with us.
It is a psalm of praise and of prayer. It is a psalm that speaks of God’s love and faithfulness. It speaks of the supremacy and sovereignty of God. It is a psalm of contrasts – verses 1-37 point us towards God while verses 38-45 speaks of Solomon’s rise and fall of his kingship. The psalm comes to an end – verses 46-51 points us to the covenant-making and keeping God. The final verse 52 brings the psalm and Book 3 of the psalms to a final cry of praise to the LORD.
Ethan is the author of this psalm, also known as Jeduthun, a Levite.
The theme running through the psalm is that of the love and faithfulness of God.
- CELEBRATION Verses 1-4
I am going to sing. The themes of my song are:
- the LORD’s great and eternal love
- the LORD’s unchanging faithfulness
- the LORD’s covenant with His servant
- the LORD’s King who is to come – “I will establish your line forever and make your throne firm through all generations.” This was fulfilled in Jesus who is now on throne at the right hand of the Father.
Kings, Queens and Presidents will come and go but Jesus is the ever-living King of kings.
We have much to celebrate.
- THE LORD IS SUPREME IN THE HEAVENLY PLACES Verses 5-8
The question is asked in different ways – ‘Who is like you, LORD?’
This question is asked by others in the Old Testament.
Psalm 35:10; 71:19; 86:8
The LORD we celebrate is unique. Notice that His faithfulness is celebrated in the heavenly places.
- THE LORD IS SUPREME IN CREATION Verses 9-12
Not only is He the Creator but He is the sustainer of His creation.
- THE LORD IS SUPREME IN POWER Verses 13-18
He rules in absolute truth, righteousness, justice and love.
His people are blessed. They are…
- an educated people
- a following people
- a focused people
- a protected people
- THE LORD HAS A PLAN FOR AND THROUGH DAVID Verses 19-37
THE LORD CHOOSES Verses 19-20
- the LORD speaks
- the LORD raises up His choice
THE LORD CARES Verses 21-24
Notice the personal “I” and “my”.
- sustain him
- strengthen him
- save him from his enemies
- love him
- honour him
As the LORD calls for our faithfulness, so He sets us an example – “my faithful love will be with him.”
THE LORD RULES Verse 25
But notice that it is the LORD who will set him as king.
The LORD is in control of all nations. See Daniel 4:34-35
THE LORD IS IN RELATIONSHIP WITH HIS PEOPLE Verse 26
The LORD is God but He enters into a personal relationship with His people.
‘the Rock my Saviour’
This is so true today for the people of God. We are brought into this relationship through the work of Jesus on the cross.
THE LORD MAKES AND KEEPS HIS PROMISES Verses 27-29
With reference to David, God makes clear that He is committed to David as His king.
This is a privileged position.
David can be assured of God’s eternal maintenance and this will be carried on through the generations to Jesus.
Again notice that it is God who makes the first move – “. I will… I will”...I will
THE LORD IS HOLY Verses 30-37
Notice the little word “If” as God speaks about the next generation. His is referring to Solomon, who made such a promising start but then went awry.
‘if your sons…
- forsake my law
- don’t follow my statutes
- violate my decrees
- fail to keep my commands’
Then there must be punishment.
God is holy and cannot let sin go. He is committed to deal with sin.
Then notice another little word – ‘but’.
God’s character and response are rooted in His promises and He has promised that David’s line will continue forever.
His character reflects…
- His love
- His faithfulness
- His covenant
- His truth and integrity
- His holiness
- His promises
Now we come to the BIG ‘BUT…’
THE LORD REJECTS SOLOMON Verses 38-45
The psalmist is challenging God as to His relationship with Solomon and the effect this is having on others.
For Solomon everything went so well for the first year of his reign. Read 1 Kings 2-10, especially 1 Kings 10:23-29.
BUT – now read 1 Kings 11 – the downward spiral.
- wrong relationships
- not fully devoted to God
- didn’t follow the LORD completely
And the result?
- the LORD was angry
- the LORD spoke to Solomon
- the kingdom was going to be divided
BUT… there was still God’s covenant with David.
Back to our psalm, we read of…
- God’s rejection
- God’s anger
- God’s pain
We read of God’s consequences, we read of…
- Solomon’s security is gone
- Solomon’s enemies are gloating
- Solomon is defeated
- Solomon’s fame is gone
- Solomon is covered in shame
What a sad situation.
What a challenge to our own lifestyle.
- THE PSALMIST APPEALS TO GOD Verses 46-51
”How long, LORD? Will you hide yourself forever?”
One commentator says this: ‘Such language of impatience and complaint is found frequently in the prayers of the psalmists. It expresses the anguish of relief not yet granted and exhibits the boldness with which the psalmists wrestled with God on the basis of their relationship with Him and the conviction concerning His righteousness.’
The psalmist here appeals on the grounds of…
- the brevity of life
- the futility of life
- the inevitability of death
- the love of God which the psalmist sees as ‘former’
- the faithfulness of God
- the mockery your servant has endured
- the taunts your servant has heard
- THE DOXOLOOGY Verse 52
And at the end of it all, the psalmist can sum it all up by praising the LORD.
So, too, we praise the LORD.
Amen and Amen.