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PSALM 89:1-29

A maskil of Ethan the Ezrahite.

I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever;
with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known
through all generations.
I will declare that your love stands firm forever,
that you have established your faithfulness in heaven itself.
You said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one,
I have sworn to David my servant,
‘I will establish your line forever
and make your throne firm through all generations.’”

The heavens praise your wonders, Lord,
your faithfulness too, in the assembly of the holy ones.
For who in the skies above can compare with the Lord?
Who is like the Lord among the heavenly beings?
In the council of the holy ones God is greatly feared;
he is more awesome than all who surround him.
Who is like you, Lord God Almighty?
You, Lord, are mighty, and your faithfulness surrounds you.

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.
18 Indeed, our shield 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 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.

“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 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!
Amen and Amen.

No one likes false advertising. We don’t like it when what’s promised is not what we actually get. Imagine if God himself was guilty of false advertising. It’s precisely this awful thought that Psalm 89 explores. Has God promised but not delivered?

Psalm 89 is the longest Psalm we’ve read in our Grow Daily journey, but it’s worth reading closely for understanding this weighty question lurking beneath all the Psalms. It’s a heartfelt exploration of a tension that lies at the heart of the whole book. This is the tension between what God promised David and what actually happened in David’s life. It’s a tension that keeps surfacing as we read through the Psalms. It’s a tension that keeps taking us to Jesus for resolution. It’s a tension only finally resolved in the resurrection of Jesus.

Psalm 89 is a meditation upon the prophecy of 2 Samuel 7:4-17. At the heart of that prophecy is the promise of a throne for David’s dynasty that will go on forever. It’s that word “forever” which the Psalmist is stuck on. The outcome for David seems to flatly contradict it. Forever? A condensed version of the Psalm might read, “You said, forever. Where is this king who rules forever?”

The declaration of the gospel is that Jesus is that promised descendant of David who lives forever. He is God’s promised king who rules forever. The first verse of Matthew’s gospel introduces Jesus as the “son of David”. Matthew’s final chapter announces Jesus’ resurrection – that he is indeed the son of David, God’s eternal king. The risen Jesus is the one with “all authority in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18). The genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1:1 reads like a roll call of death, a generation by generation amplification of the question of Psalm 89: Where is this king who rules forever?” Matthew 28 provides the answer: the risen Jesus is that king!


Head: What have you learnt about Jesus from Psalm 89? What have you learnt about yourself?

Heart: How does it make you feel that God honours his promises in Jesus? How does this fulfillment in Christ help you deal with the frustrations and deprivations of the current time of crisis?

Hands: The “Great Commission” of Matthew 28:19-20 comes after what we might call the “Great Fulfilment” of Matthew 28:18 – where all that was promised by God in 2 Samuel 7 has been handed to Jesus. How might it spur on your sharing of the gospel of Jesus when you consider God’s faithfulness to his promises fulfilled in Jesus?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you that all your promises are “yes” in Jesus.  Thank you that whatever struggles, losses, and boredom we face, we can know that Jesus reigns. Thanks, that Jesus has all authority in heaven and on earth – that he is your long promised king with complete and endless rule. Help me to live this day under his rule and to invite others to join me there. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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