Psalms 89

1 Your love, God, is my song, and I'll sing it! I'm forever telling everyone how faithful you are.
2 I'll never quit telling the story of your love - how you built the cosmos and guaranteed everything in it. Your love has always been our lives' foundation, your fidelity has been the roof over our world.
3 You once said, "I joined forces with my chosen leader, I pledged my word to my servant, David, saying,
4 'Everyone descending from you is guaranteed life; I'll make your rule as solid and lasting as rock.'"
5 God! Let the cosmos praise your wonderful ways, the choir of holy angels sing anthems to your faithful ways!
6 Search high and low, scan skies and land, you'll find nothing and no one quite like God.
7 The holy angels are in awe before him; he looms immense and august over everyone around him.
8 God of the Angel Armies, who is like you, powerful and faithful from every angle?
9 You put the arrogant ocean in its place and calm its waves when they turn unruly.
10 You gave that old hag Egypt the back of your hand, you brushed off your enemies with a flick of your wrist.
11 You own the cosmos - you made everything in it, everything from atom to archangel.
12 You positioned the North and South Poles; the mountains Tabor and Hermon sing duets to you.
13 With your well-muscled arm and your grip of steel - nobody trifles with you!
14 The Right and Justice are the roots of your rule; Love and Truth are its fruits.
15 Blessed are the people who know the passwords of praise, who shout on parade in the bright presence of God.
16 Delighted, they dance all day long; they know who you are, what you do - they can't keep it quiet!
17 Your vibrant beauty has gotten inside us - you've been so good to us! We're walking on air!
18 All we are and have we owe to God, Holy God of Israel, our King!
19 A long time ago you spoke in a vision, you spoke to your faithful beloved: "I've crowned a hero, I chose the best I could find;
20 I found David, my servant, poured holy oil on his head,
21 And I'll keep my hand steadily on him, yes, I'll stick with him through thick and thin.
22 No enemy will get the best of him, no scoundrel will do him in.
23 I'll weed out all who oppose him, I'll clean out all who hate him.
24 I'm with him for good and I'll love him forever; I've set him on high - he's riding high!
25 I've put Ocean in his one hand, River in the other;
26 he'll call out, 'Oh, my Father - my God, my Rock of Salvation!'
27 Yes, I'm setting him apart as the First of the royal line, High King over all of earth's kings.
28 I'll preserve him eternally in my love, I'll faithfully do all I so solemnly promised.
29 I'll guarantee his family tree and underwrite his rule.
30 If his children refuse to do what I tell them, if they refuse to walk in the way I show them,
31 If they spit on the directions I give them and tear up the rules I post for them
32 - I'll rub their faces in the dirt of their rebellion and make them face the music.
33 But I'll never throw them out, never abandon or disown them.
34 Do you think I'd withdraw my holy promise? or take back words I'd already spoken?
35 I've given my word, my whole and holy word; do you think I would lie to David?
36 His family tree is here for good, his sovereignty as sure as the sun,
37 Dependable as the phases of the moon, inescapable as weather."
38 But God, you did walk off and leave us, you lost your temper with the one you anointed.
39 You tore up the promise you made to your servant, you stomped his crown in the mud.
40 You blasted his home to kingdom come, reduced his city to a pile of rubble
41 Picked clean by wayfaring strangers, a joke to all the neighbors.
42 You declared a holiday for all his enemies, and they're celebrating for all they're worth.
43 Angry, you opposed him in battle, refused to fight on his side;
44 You robbed him of his splendor, humiliated this warrior, ground his kingly honor in the dirt.
45 You took the best years of his life and left him an impotent, ruined husk.
46 How long do we put up with this, God? Are you gone for good? Will you hold this grudge forever?
47 Remember my sorrow and how short life is. Did you create men and women for nothing but this?
48 We'll see death soon enough. Everyone does. And there's no back door out of hell.
49 So where is the love you're so famous for, Lord? What happened to your promise to David?
50 Take a good look at your servant, dear Lord; I'm the butt of the jokes of all nations,
51 The taunting jokes of your enemies, God, as they dog the steps of your dear anointed.
52 Blessed be God forever and always! Yes. Oh, yes.

Psalms 89 Commentary

Chapter 89

God's mercy and truth, and his covenant. (1-4) The glory and perfection of God. (5-14) The happiness of those in communion with him. (15-18) God's covenant with David, as a type of Christ. (19-37) A calamitous state lamented, Prayer for redress. (38-52)

Verses 1-4 Though our expectations may be disappointed, yet God's promises are established in the heavens, in his eternal counsels; they are out of the reach of opposers in hell and earth. And faith in the boundless mercy and everlasting truth of God, may bring comfort even in the deepest trials.

Verses 5-14 The more God's works are known, the more they are admired. And to praise the Lord, is to acknowledge him to be such a one that there is none like him. Surely then we should feel and express reverence when we worship God. But how little of this appears in our congregations, and how much cause have we to humble ourselves on this account! That almighty power which smote Egypt, will scatter the enemies of the church, while all who trust in God's mercy will rejoice in his name; for mercy and truth direct all he does. His counsels from eternity, and their consequences to eternity, are all justice and judgment.

Verses 15-18 Happy are those who so know the joyful sound of the gospel as to obey it; who experience its power upon their hearts, and bring forth the fruit of it in their lives. Though believers are nothing in themselves, yet having all in Christ Jesus, they may rejoice in his name. May the Lord enable us to do so. The joy of the Lord is the strength of his people; whereas unbelief dispirits ourselves and discourages others. Though it steals upon us under a semblance of humility, yet it is the very essence of pride. Christ is the Holy One of Israel; and in him was that peculiar people more blessed than in any other blessing.

Verses 19-37 The Lord anointed David with the holy oil, not only as an emblem of the graces and gifts he received, but as a type of Christ, the King Priest, and Prophet, anointed with the Holy Ghost without measure. David after his anointing, was persecuted, but none could gain advantage against him. Yet all this was a faint shadow of the Redeemer's sufferings, deliverance, glory, and authority, in whom alone these predictions and promises are fully brought to pass. He is the mighty God. This is the Redeemer appointed for us, who alone is able to complete the work of our salvation. Let us seek an interest in these blessings, by the witness of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. As the Lord corrected the posterity of David for their transgressions, so his people shall be corrected for their sins. Yet it is but a rod, not a sword; it is to correct, not to destroy. It is a rod in the hand of God, who is wise, and knows what he does; gracious, and will do what is best. It is a rod which they shall never feel, but when there is need. As the sun and moon remain in heaven, whatever changes there seem to be in them, and again appear in due season; so the covenant of grace made in Christ, whatever alteration seems to come to it, should not be questioned.

Verses 38-52 Sometimes it is not easy to reconcile God's providences with his promises, yet we are sure that God's works fulfil his word. When the great Anointed One, Christ himself, was upon the cross, God seemed to have cast him off, yet did not make void his covenant, for that was established for ever. The honour of the house of David was lost. Thrones and crowns are often laid in the dust; but there is a crown of glory reserved for Christ's spiritual seed, which fadeth not away. From all this complaint learn what work sin makes with families, noble families, with families in which religion has appeared. They plead with God for mercy. God's unchangeableness and faithfulness assure us that He will not cast off those whom he has chosen and covenanted with. They were reproached for serving him. The scoffers of the latter days, in like manner, reproach the footsteps of the Messiah when ( 2 Peter. 3:3 2 Peter. 3:4 ) records of the Lord's dealings with the family of David, show us his dealings with his church, and with believers. Their afflictions and distresses may be grievous, but he will not finally cast them off. Self-deceivers abuse this doctrine, and others by a careless walk bring themselves into darkness and distress; yet let the true believer rely on it for encouragement in the path of duty, and in bearing the cross. The psalm ends with praise, even after this sad complaint. Those who give God thanks for what he has done, may give him thanks for what he will do. God will follow those with his mercies, who follow him with praises.

Chapter Summary

Psalms 89 Commentaries