Through the Bible Day by Day
Maschil of Ethan the Ezrahite. I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations.
NO GOD LIKE OUR GOD
To understand this psalm we must turn to 2Sa_7:1-29, where God guaranteed that David’s kingdom should be continued to his descendants. Nathan’s words are quoted in Psa_89:3-4. But in contrast with these promises, which were conditional upon the faithful obedience of David’s descendants, the psalmist sorrowfully recites the disobedience of the Chosen People. There could be no doubt as to the divine faithfulness to Covenant engagements. See Psa_89:1-2; Psa_89:5; Psa_89:8; Psa_89:14. And the object of this psalm is to inquire whether that faithfulness does not include the recall and restoration of a sinful nation, as it most certainly does include the continued blessing of an obedient one.
In the first division, Psa_89:1-18, the singer enumerates the divine attributes. God’s mercy is conceived as a stately mansion, which is being reared, story by story, throughout the centuries. The enduring heavens, the mightiest natural forces, such as the tides, the glorious mountains, are emblems of qualities in God’s nature. He is described as going forth in a triumphal procession, preceded by Mercy and Truth; and we are invited to accompany Him, and to walk in the light of His countenance.
Then thou spakest in vision to thy holy one, and saidst, I have laid help upon one that is mighty; I have exalted one chosen out of the people.
THE COVENANT WITH DAVID
In this section the psalmist draws put, in detail, the fundamental prophecy by Nathan already mentioned; first, in the promises given to David, Psa_89:19-27; and second, in those relating to his descendants, Psa_89:28-37.
David’s origin was very humble. His dignity and power were all of God. But our Father never sets a man in any position and fails to supply the gifts needed for it. When He chooses, He anoints, strengthens, and protects. Victory also is granted over the man’s enemies, because God’s faithfulness and mercy are beside him, Psa_89:24. The relationship between the soul and God is very intimate; on the one hand you have Psa_89:26; and on the other Psa_89:27.
What a precious promise is Psa_89:28! From this point the psalmist turns to expand the promises to David’s line. They may be chastened, but not permanently rejected. In Psa_89:33 the twin attributes of mercy and faithfulness are again blended as the ground of hope of sinful and unworthy men. God’s word, once spoken, is inviolable. He is bound by His oath. Sin cannot alter His promise or the obligations under which He has laid Himself. His unchangeableness is a bed-rock upon which we may build with certitude.
But thou hast cast off and abhorred, thou hast been wroth with thine anointed.
“A CONSUMING FIRE”
Here the psalmist falls into expostulation and lament. Whether he alludes to the time when Jerusalem was taken by Shishak in the days of Rehoboam, 1Ki_14:25-26, or when the youthful prince Jehoiachin was deposed by Nebuchadnezzar, 2Ki_24:10-16, it is impossible to say; but it seemed as if God’s faithfulness had failed. The psalmist dwells sorrowfully upon the contrast between God’s ancient Covenant and the sad reality. The family that had been promised perpetual duration and dominion had lost its luster and had become like a dying lamp.
Then the psalmist betakes himself to prayer, and bases his argument upon the brevity of the age. There is but a little while during which God has the opportunity of manifesting His love and truth. Literally the words are, “Remember-what a transitoriness!” Psa_89:47. In the last three verses another plea is presented-that dishonor will accrue to God if He does not arrest the continuance of disaster. The insults and reproaches that are hurled against the servants are really directed against their God; therefore He is entreated, in vindicating them, to vindicate Himself.
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