In the previous psalm, Heman the Ezrahite poured out his complaint with seemingly no argument at all. In this psalm, another Ezrahite, a man named Ethan, has a strong complaint as well, but he mounts it on top of an unshakeable foundation of covenant promises. He comes before God with expectations and arguments.
“I will sing of the mercies of the Lord for ever: With my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations. For I have said, Mercy shall be built up for ever: Thy faithfulness shalt thou establish in the very heavens. I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant, Thy seed will I establish for ever, And build up thy throne to all generations. Selah…” (Ps. 89:1–52).
SUMMARY OF THE TEXT:
Foundationally, we know that God will be absolutely faithful to His covenant with the house of David (vv. 1-4). Ethan then expands his vision, and spends some time praising the power, justice, and mercy of God (vv. 5-14). When a people have a God like this, then they are truly blessed (vv. 15-18). Covenants have terms, and Ethan delights to go over those terms in some detail (vv. 19-37). Having laid the groundwork for his petition, he then pours out his desire and petition (vv. 38-51). And with that, the psalm ends on a double amen.
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Psalm 89, 96, 100, 101, 105, 132
In these Psalms for today’s reading, there are a number of important recurring themes, namely that of praising God and His commitment to His covenant promises with His people. This commitment to covenant is outlined in the repeated use of the word faithfulness. Subsumed within that term is the reality that when God makes a covenant, He will follow through on the promises that are part of that covenantal structure.
Psalm 89 speaks a great deal about God anointing David. What is interesting is yet again God’s commitment to His covenant with His people despite the proclivity of our sinful nature. While punishment may ensue for transgressions, God will not break His covenant nor completely cast off His people.
As we have noted many times before when it comes to the Psalms, the basis for praising God is His everlasting faithfulness. God’s people should give the glory, honor, and praise due His holy name at all times. In fact, we should declare that the very heavens and earth rejoice at the sound of His name. Our constant praise and devotion is in response to God’s loving and unmerited favor on us. We should serve our God with gladness. I love Psalm 100:3 which declares God’s sovereignty (“It is He who made us, and not we ourselves).
We are also exhorted in Psalm 105 and throughout Psalm 132 to always remember what God has done on behalf of His people. I have said it before and I will say it again, what better method to remember what God has done in the history of His people than to celebrate the Feasts of the Lord. The very intent and purpose of those feasts is a point of remembrance and a time to look forward to what God will continue to do in His divine plan.
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