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Read Psalm 89

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.

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 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.

Go Deeper

Today we wrap up the third book of the Psalms, which may come as a welcome relief to some. Some of these psalms that have been quite dark (especially yesterday’s reading). You may see that this psalm was written by someone named “Ethan the Ezrahite.” He was a wise Levite musician (see 1 King 4:31; 1 Chr. 15:17-18) and this is the only psalm written by him.

The two major themes that stand out in this passage are the steadfast love of the Lord and His faithfulness. Those are two truths that we can hold fast to in dark times. Even when we don’t see it, He’s working (go listen to “Way Maker” if you need a reminder). This serves as a comfort to us when we are in seasons where God feels far. These two attributes are foundational to our faith. 

We see Ethan build his psalm on those attributes of God as he focuses on God’s character (v. 5-18), His promises (v. 19-37), and then he appeals to God (v. 38-52). It is not unbiblical to appeal to God when you feel the dark clouds roll in. Don’t miss that! Because God desires a relationship with us, we can bring our burdens to Him and find rest (Matthew 11:28-30). However, we must not lose sight of who holds the universe in His mighty hand. Ethan demonstrates a posture that rightly recognizes God’s faithfulness, yet can still bring his questions to the Lord and even call Him to His promises. It is important to remember in those moments “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness,” (2 Peter 3:9a).

Another point to note is that Ethan was interceding on behalf of King David. Ethan saw the darkness that David was experiencing and he came to God in order to appeal to Him. We too can and should intercede for others when we see the dark clouds rolling in. This is just another reason why it is so important for believers to live in community with other believers. We are able to intercede on behalf of our brothers and sisters and come alongside them.

Questions

  1. What are some other attributes of God that stand out in this passage?
  2. What promises do you see in verses 19-37?
  3. Who is someone you can intercede for this morning?

By the Way

To get more context of the covenant that Ethan references, go read 2 Samuel 7:1-17 for the passage where the Lord makes this covenant with David.

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1 thought on “Psalm 89”

  1. Ella Snodgrass

    It is vital that we know the attributes of God when darkness rolls in. It’s been rightly said that we are in one of 3 places: Entering a hardship, in the midst of one, or coming out of one. When “all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope & stay, on Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.” When perplexed, we can ground ourselves on who our God is: Faithful love, covenant-keeper, incomparable, awe-inspiring, strong, ruler of heaven & earth, powerful, creator, mighty, righteous, just, true, strength, shield, holy, & help. I’ve found it helpful to keep a journal of his attributes to prompt my heart to praise him and also to remind me when darkness closes in and I tend to forget. It’s a powerful tool to begin prayer. Today, I’m interceding for Shelly Maxey in New Mexico who is fighting for her life.

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