Psalm 89:1-13 A Lament By Ethan The Ezrahite
Psalm 89:1-13 Houston, We Have A Problem, Part 1
Psalm 89 is a song meant to teach about the Davidic covenant. Technically, it is a royal psalm. One commentator, Anderson, breaks it into two parts, a hymn in verses 1-37 and a lament from verses 38-51. It raises the question, if the Davidic covenant is forever according to 2 Sam. 7:5-16, and a relative of David has been bumped off the throne, how is God true to promises?
Ethan, a Levite and wise man, was charged by God with the task of answering the question (1 Chron. 15:17-18; 1 Kings 4:31). The occasion could have been the defeat of the southern kingdom of Judah by the Egyptians (cf. 1 Kings 14:25; 1 Chron. 12) or the Babylonian exile. It will take three days to cover the entire psalm.
The psalmist begins by stating that he will always sing praises to God (vv. 1-2). “Lovingkindness” is a word we’ve seen before, hesed in Hebrew. It refers to God’s binding, covenantal love. It’s used in verses 1-2, 14, 24, 28, 33, 49. On the basis of this love promise Ethan pleads with God to keep His Davidic covenant.
Ethan mentions the Davidic covenant in verse 3 and that God will have Davidic descendant on the throne of Israel in perpetuity (v. 2) I hadn’t used that word, perpetuity, in a while and wanted to throw it in there. It means forever. David will have a relative on the throne forever. But the problem is that Jeremiah had said that no son of Jehoiachin’s sons would occupy the place of kingship (cf. Jer. 22:24–29).
God is all-powerful. Ethan knows this (vv. 5-10). He is also faithful (v. 8). So he knows that God can keep a descendant of David on the throne if He wants to. (As we’ve already seen in Psalm 87:4, Rahab refers to Egypt in v. 10).
God created the earth and sea, the north and south. Both larger mountains like Hermon and smaller mountains like Tabor reflect God’s glory (vv. 11-12). In other words, all creation shows God’s greatness and power.
God can do whatever He wants. He is strong and His strength is known to all (v. 13, when everyone sees the power of His “right hand,” most people are right-handed and the place of honor is usually at someone’s right, it is where the Messiah sits cf. Ps. 110:1).
More tomorrow . . .
Proverbs 13:15-16 Think Ahead!
When I went to college for radio I had to learn to “back-time” things. If I had to begin reading the news on the hour, straight-up, I had to figure when to start a song or commercial that it timed out to end right on the hour. I had to think ahead. Do you realize what problems would be solved in the world if people would just think ahead?
A wise man is generally appreciated (v. 15a, though check out Eccles. 9:15). People who reject advice make things hard for themselves (v. 15b).
Astute people think ahead (v. 16) but a dork is always still a dork and will let you know it!