Psalm 89:3

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 3. I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant. This was the ground of the Psalmist's confidence in God's mercy and truth, for he knew that the Lord had made a covenant of grace with David and his seed, and confirmed it by an oath. Here he quotes the very words of God, which were revealed to him by the Holy Spirit, and are a condensation of the original covenant in 2 Samuel 7:1-29 . Well might he write in the former verse, "I have said", when he knew that Jehovah had said, "I have sworn." David was the Lord's elect, and with him a covenant was made, which ran along in the line of his seed until it received a final and never ending fulfilment in "the Son of David." David's house must be royal: as long as there was a sceptre in Judah, David's seed must be the only rightful dynasty; the great "King of the Jews" died with that title above his head in the three current languages of the then known world, and at this day he is owned as king by men of every tongue. The oath sworn to David has not been broken, though the temporal crown is no longer worn, for in the covenant itself his kingdom was spoken of as enduring for ever. In Christ Jesus there is a covenant established with all the Lord's chosen, and they are by grace led to be the Lord's servants, and then are ordained kings and priests by Christ Jesus. How sweet it is to see the Lord, not only making a covenant, but owning to it in after days, and bearing witness to his own oath; this ought to be solid ground for faith, and Ethan, the Ezrahite, evidently thought it so. Let the reader and writer both pause over such glorious lines, and sing of the mercies of the Lord, who thus avows the bonds of the covenant, and, in so doing, gives a renewed pledge of his faithfulness to it. "I have", says the Lord, and yet again "I have", as though he himself was nothing loath to dwell upon the theme. We also would lovingly linger over the ipsissima verba of the covenant made with David, reading them carefully and with joy. There are thus recorded in 2 Samuel 7:12-16 : "And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shall sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee. And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever." After reading this, let us remember that the Lord has said to us by his servant Isaiah, "I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David."

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 3. I have made a covenant with my chosen. We must ponder here with pious wonder how God has deigned to enter into a covenant with man, the immortal with the mortal, the most powerful with the weakest, the most just with the most unjust, the richest with the poorest, the most blessed with the most wretched. The prophet wonders that God is mindful of man, and visits the son of man. Of how much greater admiration, I say is it worthy, that they are also joined together, and that not after a simple fashion, but by the ties of a covenant? If man had affirmed this of himself, that God was united and bound to him by a covenant, who is there that would not have condemned him of temerity? Now God himself is introduced affirming this very thing of himself, that he had made a covenant with man. What saint does not see in this thing, how great the filanqrwpia of God is! --Musculus.

Verse 3. I have made a covenant with my chosen. On heaven's side is God himself, the party proposer. Though he was the party offended, yet the motion for a covenant comes from him ... The Father of mercies saith, "The lost creatures cannot contract for themselves; and if another undertake not for them, they must perish; they cannot choose an undertaker for themselves. I will choose one for them, and I will make a covenant with my chosen." On man's side is God's chosen, or chosen One, for the word of God is singular; the Son, the last Adam. Who else as fit to be undertaker on man's side? Who else could have been the Father's choice for this vast undertaking? No angel nor man was capable of it, but the Mighty One ( Psalms 89:19 ) whom the Father points out to us as his chosen, Isaiah 13:1 . --Thomas Boston.

Verse 3-4. I made a covenant with my chosen, etc. Do you suppose that this was spoken to David, in his own person only? No, indeed; but to David as the antitype, figure, and forerunner of Jesus Christ. Hence, the Septuagint version renders it, I have covenanted tois eklektois mou with my elect people, or with my chosen ones: i.e. with them in Christ, and with Christ in their name. I have sworn unto David my servant, unto the Messiah, who was typified by David; unto my coeternal Son, who stipulated to take on himself "the form of a servant"; thy seed, i.e. all those whom I have given to thee in the decree of election, all those whom thou shalt live and die to redeem, these will I establish for ever, so as to render their salvation irreversible and inadmissible: and build up thy throne, thy mediatorial throne, as King of saints and covenant Head of the elect, to all generations: there shall always be a succession of favoured sinners to be called and sanctified, in consequence of thy federal obedience unto death; and every period of time shall recompense thy covenant sufferings with an increasing revenue of converted souls, until as many as are ordained to eternal life are gathered in.

Observe, here, that when Christ received the promise from the Father concerning the establishment of his (i.e. of Christ's) throne to all generations, the plain meaning is, that his people shall be thus established; for, consider Christ in his divine capacity as the Son of God, and his throne was already established, and had been from everlasting, and would have continued to be established without end, even if he had never been incarnate at all. Therefore, the promise imports that Christ shall reign, not simply as a person in the Godhead (which he ever did, ever will, and ever must); but relatively, mediatorially, and in his office character, as the deliverer and king of Zion. Hence it follows, that his people cannot be lost: for he would be a poor sort of a king who had or might have no subjects to reign over. Consequently, that "throne" of glory on which Christ sits is already encircled in part, and will at last be completely surrounded and made still more glorious, by that innumerable company, that general assembly and church of the firstborn who are written in heaven. --Augustus Montague Toplady.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 3-4.

  1. The Covenant made.

    1. With whom? -- with David and in him with David's Lord and Son. The true David -- the chosen one -- the servant of the Father in redemption.
  2. For what? --

    1. for his seed. He should have a seed and that seed should be established.
    2. for himself, "his throne", etc.
  3. The Covenant confirmed.

    1. By decree. "I have made", etc.
    2. By promise. "I will establish."
    3. By oath. "I have sworn."