SHORT- OR LONG-SIGHTED
Lord, like the psalmist I will sing of Your mercies forever.
Read 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!
Amen and Amen.
a Psalm 89:1 In Hebrew texts 89:1-52 is numbered 89:2-53.
b Psalm 89:1 Title: Probably a literary or musical term
c Psalm 89:4 The Hebrew has Selah (a word of uncertain meaning) here and at the end of verses 37, 45 and 48.
d Psalm 89:17 Horn here symbolizes strong one.
e Psalm 89:18 Or sovereign
f Psalm 89:24 Horn here symbolizes strength.
g Psalm 89:50 Or your servants have
New International Version (NIV)
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“Let us bless God before we pray, and while we pray, and when we have done praying, for He always deserves it of us” (C Spurgeon, 1834–92).
Psalm 89 is one of the most poignant poems in the whole of Scripture, focusing on the demise of the line of Davidic kings (D Tucker and J Grant, The NIV Application Commentary, Psalms Vol 2, Zondervan, 2018, p 313). The psalm opens with a song of praise, a statement of God’s Word and His promise, continuing with praise for the grandeur of God and His incredible power. Such sovereignty surely enables God to uphold the covenant and protect His loved ones: after all, He is the Creator and the universe bows before Him. How often humanity cries out to God, questioning “how long?” or “why?” – or even in protest “but God?”, as the psalmist does in this psalm (38). Lord, how could you abandon the covenant you made to establish the Davidic throne forever? Why have you spurned and rejected us as your community? “Lord, where is your former great love … ?” (49).
Yet they knew, as we do, that God is love; He cannot change. The lamenting psalmist must summon up the will to bend in sacrificial praise, for God is worthy despite our situation. “Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you” (15). This is learned behavior, acquired by remembering how faithful and trustworthy our God is. In summary, the psalmist admonishes us to sing, acclaim, walk in the light, rejoice, and celebrate – for God is our strength and glory. Such action may take all we have, and here Christ is the perfect example. “Why have you forsaken me?”, He cried – and yet He still had enough confidence to say, “into your hands I commit My spirit”(Matt 27:46; Luke 23:46). We observe the psalmist lament that if God loved David so much, why did He let his line fail in disgrace and destruction? We, however, know of Christ’s reign and the establishment of His eternal Davidic line.
“He who promised is faithful” (Heb 10:23). If you feel agony today, dare to praise God. He can see the future you can’t. Read Isaiah 43:18 and 19.
Lord, help Your people to remember Your faithfulness in past times when we encounter trouble now.