Psalm 89

I will sing of the LORD’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations. I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you established your faithfulness in heaven itself. You said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one, I have sworn to David my servant, ‘I will establish your line forever and make your throne firm through all generations.’ “

The heavens praise your wonders, O LORD, your faithfulness too, in the assembly of the holy ones. For who in the skies above can compare with the LORD? Who is like the LORD among the heavenly beings? In the council of the holy ones God is greatly feared; he is more awesome than all who surround him.

O LORD God Almighty, who is like you? You are mighty, O LORD, and your faithfulness surrounds you. You rule over the surging sea; when its waves mount up, you still them. You crushed Rahab (Egypt) like one of the slain; with your strong arm you scattered your enemies. The heavens are yours, and yours also the earth; you founded the world and all that is in it. You created the north and the south; Tabor and Hermon sing for joy at your name. Your arm is endued with power; your hand is strong, your right hand exalted.

Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you. Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O LORD. They rejoice in your name all day long; they exult in your righteousness. For you are their glory and strength, and by your favor you exalt our horn. Indeed, our shield belongs to the LORD, our king to the Holy One of Israel.

Once you spoke in a vision, to your faithful people you said: “I have bestowed strength on a warrior; I have exalted a young man from among the people. I have found David my servant; with my sacred oil I have anointed him. My hand will sustain him; surely my arm will strengthen him. No enemy will subject him to tribute; no wicked man will oppress him. I will crush his foes before him and strike down his adversaries. My faithful love will be with him, and through my name his horn will be exalted. I will set his hand over the sea, his right hand over the rivers. He will call out to me, ‘You are my Father, my God, the Rock my Savior.’ I will also appoint him my firstborn, the most exalted of the kings of the earth. I will maintain my love to him forever, and my covenant with him will never fail. I will establish his line forever, his throne as long as the heavens endure.

“If his sons forsake my law and do not follow my statutes, if they violate my decrees and fail to keep my commands, I will punish their sin with the rod, their iniquity with flogging; but I will not take my love from him, nor will I ever betray my faithfulness. I will not violate my covenant or alter what my lips have uttered. Once for all, I have sworn by my holiness— and I will not lie to David- that his line will continue forever and his throne endure before me like the sun; it will be established forever like the moon, the faithful witness in the sky.”

But you have rejected, you have spurned, you have been very angry with your anointed one. You have renounced the covenant with your servant and have defiled his crown in the dust. You have broken through all his walls and reduced his strongholds to ruins. All who pass by have plundered 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 turned back the edge of his sword and have not supported him in battle. You have put an end to his splendor and cast his throne to the ground. You have cut short the days of his youth; you have covered him with a mantle of shame.

How long, O LORD? Will you hide yourself forever? How long will your wrath burn like fire? Remember how fleeting is my life. For what futility you have created all men! What man can live and not see death, or save himself from the power of the grave?

O Lord, where is your former great love, which in your faithfulness you swore to David? Remember, Lord, how your servant has been mocked, how I bear in my heart the taunts of all the nations, the taunts with which your enemies have mocked, O LORD, with which they have mocked every step of your anointed one. Praise be to the LORD forever! Amen and Amen.

Some of us think that because we’re God’s people we shouldn’t have to suffer, and when we do we cry, “Where are you Lord? Why have you let this happen to me?” It’s an indication of the weakness of our faith and the deficiency in our understanding.

Psalm 89 was written around the time of the Babylon conquest, and actually accuses God of breaking His promise by allowing Israel to be defeated. Not a word is spoken of the 150 years of patient pleading by the Lord, trying to get them to reverse their plunge into idolatry. Not a single reference to the urgent warnings of at least four prophets in their midst, nor to the fact that as far back as Moses, they had been informed of the consequences of their current behavior. No. As a general rule, if trouble befalls man, he immediately thinks that God has lied to him and abandoned him through no fault of his own.

Of course, with 2600 years of hindsight we know that God didn’t lie to them and didn’t abandon them. Right up front He had Jeremiah tell them that they were going to be disciplined for a period of 70 years, and after that they’d be restored to their land. (Jere. 25:8-11 & 29:10-14) And that’s exactly what happened. Through Isaiah He had already told them that this would happen twice in their history, (Isa. 11:11) and through Amos that after the second one they would never be uprooted again. (Amos 9:14-15) The 70-year Babylonian captivity was their first, and the 2000-year Diaspora following the Roman conquest was the second.

Then He had Ezekiel tell them that because of their disobedience, the office of King was being vacated until the One to Whom it rightfully belonged came to claim it. (Ezek. 21:25-27) And that happened, too. (Luke 1:32-33) He has never broken a promise nor will He ever.

Yet when something happens to us, we still accuse Him. Even after 4000 years of unblemished performance in the Old Testament and the Lord’s personal promise in the New (And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age Matt 28:20) we always think to accuse Him first instead of asking, as the psalmist should have asked, “Where have I gone astray?”

It never occurs to us that some unconfessed sin of ours might have interrupted our fellowship with God, and temporarily stopped the flow of blessings. We’re still His, but maybe the relationship’s been strained by our headstrong insistence that our anger, or envy, or lust, or you name it, is justified and doesn’t require confession. He’s promised to forgive us and restore us to righteousness every time we confess (1 John 1:9), but if we’re too stubborn to do it, or too blind to see our own sin, then everything stops till we fix things. If we claim to be without sin, we’re liars (1 John 1:8) so the best thing to do is confess early and often, regardless of whether we think our behavior is justified or not. We’ll be happier and so will the Lord. It brings Him no pleasure to withhold blessings from us, but while we’re out of fellowship He has no choice.

In the relationship between God and man, God is the faithful One. You can always count on Him. Good thing, too. You’ve staked your eternal destiny on Him.

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