“I will sing of the steadfast love of the Lord, forever.” The author of Psalm 89 was determined to compose a psalm through which his testimony of God’s faithfulness wound endure “to all generations.” He believed that God’s covenant love through the line of David was established in the heavens, and that His faithfulness to His own Word would be experienced all over the earth.
The psalmist, Ethan the Ezrahite, wrote of the glory of the Lord in the heavenly assembly of holy angels. In His place of perfect dominion, God was greatly feared and continuously worshiped. From that seat of honor, God ruled over the entire earth. “You rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise, you still them.” Creatures that would have moved the most courageous man with terror were easily mastered by the Almighty. The Lord’s enemies on earth were no match for His “mighty arm.”
Any great king among the Lord’s people, any gathering of faithful worshipers, any mighty men of valor, walked “in the light of Your face.” They could do nothing apart from the Lord. God alone was “the glory of their strength.” His authority extended far beyond the Promised Land. “The heavens are Yours; the earth also is Yours; the world and all that is in it, You have founded them.”
The psalmist wrote of God’s promise to David as something from “of old.” While some of the words contained in Psalm 89 could be about the reign of David himself, others demanded a bolder interpretation. Only the Messiah, the promised Son of David, could fulfill all that Ethan the Ezrahite wrote. It would be the reigning Messiah King who would have “His hand on the sea and His right hand on the rivers.” Only Jesus would be the “highest of the kings of the earth.”
Lesser descendants of David might not keep the commandments of God. Jesus would fulfill the Law perfectly. Lesser kings in the line of David would face discipline for their faults. Jesus would never suffer for his own sins. He had none. His death on the cross was for us. He is the one Son of David who shall reign as King forever.
Yet long before the coming of the Messiah, these eternal promises of God seemed to be in serious jeopardy of failing. The king who was serving in the days of the psalmist was “cast off and rejected.” The city where David had once reigned was in ruins.
The righteous cried out to God in a faithful lament: “How long, O Lord? Will you hide yourself forever? How long will your wrath burn like fire?” Ethan wrote of the brevity of life. He wondered about the future fulfillment of the Lord’s steadfast promises. How would the line of David even continue?
The words of the psalmist have fresh meaning today in light of the death and resurrection of Jesus. Ethan asked, “Who can deliver his soul from the power of Sheol?” We know now that Jesus can. The disgrace that the psalmist wrote about was carried by the Lord when He died for us. Jesus was “mocked” by Jews and Gentiles. He faced “the insults of … many nations,” not only the Romans on the day of His death, but all over the world as His servants have brought the good news of salvation throughout the earth.
Now we are called to follow in the “footsteps” of the Lord’s “Anointed.” This Christ is our Savior and our Lord. We will sing of His mercies forever, and we will make known His faithfulness to all the people groups that inhabit the world that He has made. Even when His promises seem to have failed, we know that Jesus is coming again with the fullness of His resurrection kingdom.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Lord God, Your love is steadfast forever. Help us to believe Your Word today. We feel alone in misery and trouble, but You are surely a mighty God. Father, the waves of grief and danger are too much for us. Come and save us. Come in all Your righteousness and love. Encourage us now with Your glorious Spirit. When we come to You in weakness and anxiety, let us be sent forth again in peace. Our life is in Him who is the perfect Son of David. He is the answer to the removal of all our fears. He is King of kings, and there has never been anything lacking in His obedience. You chastise us out of love, but we are safe in our great Messiah King. Lord, You know our secret tears and our many faults. Your people are in great trouble now, but Your wrath came upon Your Son for us. He has delivered our souls from hell. We are mocked by men, but You are surely faithful. Blessed be Your holy Name forever.