Psalm 89

Psalm 89

I Will Sing of the Steadfast Love of the Lord

A Maskil of Ethan the Ezrahite.

89   I will sing of the steadfast love of the LORD, forever;
    with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations.
  For I said, “Steadfast love will be built up forever;
    in the heavens you will establish your faithfulness.”
  You have said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one;
    I have sworn to David my servant:
  ‘I will establish your offspring forever,
    and build your throne for all generations.’” Selah
  Let the heavens praise your wonders, O LORD,
    your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones!
  For who in the skies can be compared to the LORD?
    Who among the heavenly beings is like the LORD,
  a God greatly to be feared in the council of the holy ones,
    and awesome above all who are around him?
  O LORD God of hosts,
    who is mighty as you are, O LORD,
    with your faithfulness all around you?
  You rule the raging of the sea;
    when its waves rise, you still them.
  You crushed Rahab like a carcass;
    you scattered your enemies with your mighty arm.
  The heavens are yours; the earth also is yours;
    the world and all that is in it, you have founded them.
  The north and the south, you have created them;
    Tabor and Hermon joyously praise your name.
  You have a mighty arm;
    strong is your hand, high your right hand.
  Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne;
    steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.
  Blessed are the people who know the festal shout,
    who walk, O LORD, in the light of your face,
  who exult in your name all the day
    and in your righteousness are exalted.
  For you are the glory of their strength;
    by your favor our horn is exalted.
  For our shield belongs to the LORD,
    our king to the Holy One of Israel.
  Of old you spoke in a vision to your godly one, and said:
    “I have granted help to one who is mighty;
    I have exalted one chosen from the people.
  I have found David, my servant;
    with my holy oil I have anointed him,
  so that my hand shall be established with him;
    my arm also shall strengthen him.
  The enemy shall not outwit him;
    the wicked shall not humble him.
  I will crush his foes before him
    and strike down those who hate him.
  My faithfulness and my steadfast love shall be with him,
    and in my name shall his horn be exalted.
  I will set his hand on the sea
    and his right hand on the rivers.
  He shall cry to me, ‘You are my Father,
    my God, and the Rock of my salvation.’
  And I will make him the firstborn,
    the highest of the kings of the earth.
  My steadfast love I will keep for him forever,
    and my covenant will stand firm for him.
  I will establish his offspring forever
    and his throne as the days of the heavens.
  If his children forsake my law
    and do not walk according to my rules,
  if they violate my statutes
    and do not keep my commandments,
  then I will punish their transgression with the rod
    and their iniquity with stripes,
  but I will not remove from him my steadfast love
    or be false to my faithfulness.
  I will not violate my covenant
    or alter the word that went forth from my lips.
  Once for all I have sworn by my holiness;
    I will not lie to David.
  His offspring shall endure forever,
    his throne as long as the sun before me.
  Like the moon it shall be established forever,
    a faithful witness in the skies.” Selah
  But now you have cast off and rejected;
    you are full of wrath against your anointed.
  You have renounced the covenant with your servant;
    you have defiled his crown in the dust.
  You have breached all his walls;
    you have laid his strongholds in ruins.
  All who pass by plunder him;
    he has become the scorn of his neighbors.
  You have exalted the right hand of his foes;
    you have made all his enemies rejoice.
  You have also turned back the edge of his sword,
    and you have not made him stand in battle.
  You have made his splendor to cease
    and cast his throne to the ground.
  You have cut short the days of his youth;
    you have covered him with shame. Selah
  How long, O LORD? Will you hide yourself forever?
    How long will your wrath burn like fire?
  Remember how short my time is!
    For what vanity you have created all the children of man!
  What man can live and never see death?
    Who can deliver his soul from the power of Sheol? Selah
  Lord, where is your steadfast love of old,
    which by your faithfulness you swore to David?
  Remember, O Lord, how your servants are mocked,
    and how I bear in my heart the insults of all the many nations,
  with which your enemies mock, O LORD,
    with which they mock the footsteps of your anointed.
  Blessed be the LORD forever!
      Amen and Amen.


Psalm 89 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

In similar fashion to Psalm 88, the writer here boldly introduces some deep theological questions. He records some of our deepest fears and most troubling mysteries about God.

But you are angry with your chosen king; you have deserted and rejected him. 39 You have broken your covenant with your servant and thrown his crown in the dirt.

Psalms 89:38-39 GNB

LORD, will you hide yourself forever? How long will your anger burn like fire? 47 Remember how short my life is; remember that you created all of us mortal! 48 Who can live and never die? How can we humans keep ourselves from the grave?

Psalms 89:46-48 GNB

Lord, where are the former proofs of your love? Where are the promises you made to David? 50 Don’t forget how I, your servant, am insulted, how I endure all the curses of the heathen. 51 Your enemies insult your chosen king, O LORD! They insult him wherever he goes.

Psalms 89:49-51 GNB

Wow. In my opinion, these are the three most severe questions directed at God thus far in the Psalms. 1) The psalmist is accusing God of breaking His covenant. 2) He questions God’s silence by reminding Him that our lives are finite. At the worst, this is an assault on God’s sovereignty. At best, it’s a struggle with His timing. 3) The psalmist questions God’s love and His followthrough with all of His promises to David. It is an elaboration of the first question and a reminder that God’s enemies have triumphed.

So, where do we begin? Let’s start by analyzing these questions. The first reality we must consider is that all of us have entertained these same thoughts at one point or another. Even if we didn’t verbalize them, God knows our heart. A glaring issue with many in ministry today is the inability to permit seekers to engage with these types of questions. We would typically tell people not to ponder such things because we know they aren’t really true. “Just have faith,” we would say.

But to me, this is not an issue of faith. The psalmist wholeheartedly believes that God has made these promises. He has vowed to rescue and deliver. He has promised to be faithful and just. He has promised to love. The psalmist, by faith, believes these promises, yet, cannot reconcile how they are true. His present reality demonstrates the opposite. So, in my opinion, the questions themselves actually demonstrate an active faith that wants to know God deeper.

A lack of faith would be someone not asking these questions. The psalmist’s faith is what compels him to dig and wrestle. “Show me how this is fulfilling Your covenant.” “Show me how You are just in this situation.” “Show me Your love when I cannot feel it.” We have all prayed these difficult prayers at some point! Maybe you are there now? I would encourage you to wrestle! Lament with genuine emotions and bring your concerns to His throne. He can handle them.

The attitude here is not one that questions God because He’s evil or wrong, but one that believes God is good and is wrestling with seeing His goodness unfold in the present situation. It is not a selfish plea for something outside of Scripture, but a request that appeals to what God has already promised will occur.

The beauty of Jesus’ sacrifice is that He became the tangible answer to all of these questions. He is the fulfillment of God’s covenant. He is the payment for sin which takes us beyond the grave and into eternity. He is the proof of God’s love. The joy of this reality is that we can look back and see how God was faithful to all the questions that were asked of this psalmist at the time of his writing. In the same way, the questions that we are asking Him today about His promises will one day be worked out according to His mercy and power. He will be faithful to answer us and bring about His glory just the way He has promised.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments