March 16: Psalm 89

March 16: Psalm 89

Covenant promises seem lost

87.87 D                     Beecher (Love Divine, All Loves Excelling), p. 149
Nettleton (Come, Thou Fount), p. 179
Hyfrydol (Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus), p. 169
Beach Spring, p. 170

This is such a long psalm, that the tune could be changed at verse 38, where there is an abrupt change of tone in the psalm.

Of God’s love, I’ll sing forever, to each age Your faithfulness.

I’ll declare Your love’s forever, founded in the word from heav’n:

“With My Chosen I’ve made cov’nant, to My servant David sworn:

‘I’ll your line confirm forever, to each age build up your throne.’”

Lord, the heavens praise Your wonders, angels sing Your faithfulness.

For none matches God in heaven, who’s like God in heaven’s throng?

God is feared among the angels, He’s more awesome than they all.

Lord, O God of hosts, who’s like you? Full of might and faithfulness.

You rule over sea’s proud surging; when its waves rise, bid them still.

You broke Egypt, left her dying; your strong arm dispersed Your foes.

Yours the heavens, earth’s bounds also; you have founded all the world.

North and south You have created; Tabor, Hermon, praise Your name.

You’ve an arm that’s great in pow-er; Your strong hand is all supreme.

Your throne’s founded on true justice; cov’nant love and truth are Yours.

They are happy who acclaim You; in Your favor, Lord, they walk.

In Your name rejoicing ever; in Your righteousness raised high.

Lord, our boast is in Your power; You exalt us in Your love.

For our shield belongs to Yahweh our King, to the Holy One,

You revealed Your word in vision to Your faithful ones of old:

“I’ve giv’n pow-er to a warrior; from my people called a man.

“I have found My servant David; with My oil anointed him.

My hand will be ever with him, and My pow’r will make him strong.

None to tribute will subject him, nor will wicked ones oppress.

I will crush his foes before him; those who hate him I’ll strike down.

“My strong love and truth is with him; I will raise his head up high;

To the sea his rule extending, and to rivers in the east.

He will cry, ‘You are my Father; You’re my God, my savior, rock.’

I’ll appoint him as My firstborn, highest of the kings of earth.

“I’ll keep love for him forever, my oath to him will not fail.

I’ll his line establish always, and his throne for evermore.

If his sons forsake My teaching, break My laws, commands and rules,

I’ll their sins severely punish, but not take My love from him.

“I’ll maintain My faithful promise. I’ll not break My covenant,

Nor take back the words I’ve uttered. This I’ve pledged in holiness;

And I’ll not be false to David. Like the sun his line will last;

Like the moon his throne before Me; heaven’s faithful witness stands.”

Yet You have cut off, rejected; Your Anointed knows Your wrath.

You’ve defiled Your servant’s cov’nant, You have thrown his crown to earth.

You have broken down his fences, brought his strongholds to the ground.

All who pass by have him plundered. He’s the jest of nations near.

You his foes have raised in pow-er, made his enemies rejoice.

You have made his sword turn backwards, you’ve not strengthened him to fight.

You’ve deprived him of his glory, cast his throne down to the ground.

Old before his time You’ve made him, You have covered him with shame.

How long, Lord? Will You hide always? Your wrath ever burn like fire?

O recall how short my life is; You have made all men for naught!

Who alive is free from dying? Who the grave’s power will escape?

Lord, where is Your cov’nant promise You to David swore in truth?

Lord, remember all the insults which Your servants bear for You.

In my heart I bear the insults taunting nations cast on them.

Insults, Lord, for Your Anointed, mocking ev’ry step he takes.

Yet Lord, to You forever, so I say Amen! Amen!

Like Psalm 77, this psalm gives voice to how we deal with disappointment. “Disappointment with God” is not a new issue… the psalmist has already given voice to these feelings for thousands of years. The Psalms are our tutor for living, and they remind us that God’s covenant love is relational, and will never ultimately be forsaken.

“Psalm 89 is composed of three parts. The first has to do with God’s activity in the creation of the heavens and the earth; the second with His covenant and promise with respect to the house of David; and the third with certain crises of history that threaten that covenant and put its promise at peril. All three themes are organically connected. All the historical covenants are expressions of the one covenant. From the beginning of time, there has been only one God, one Lord, one faith. The mystery of Christ was already present, then, when the voice of God called out into the darkness at creation, “Let there be light.” And now, as Christians, we know that God’s solemn promise to David, with respect to the everlasting stability of his throne, is fulfilled in the kingship of Christ, for the Son of David now sits forever enthroned at God’s right hand. Only in Christ do we find the key to the mystery of this psalm. The regal, messianic covenant of sonship is related to the fixed structure of the very world, because both realities are rooted in Christ. (Reardon, p. 175-176)

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