Psalm 89

Though we may find it hard to reconcile some dark providences with the goodness and truth of God,
yet we should hold firmly to His promises,
knowing that His truth is inviolable, and pleading them in prayer before Him.
No matter how serious the situation, there is ever matter for praise and thanksgiving.

1 I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations.

2 For I have said, Mercy shall be built up for ever: thy faithfulness shalt thou establish in the very heavens.

3 I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant,

4 Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations. Selah.

5 And the heavens shall praise thy wonders, O LORD: thy faithfulness also in the congregation of the saints.

6 For who in the heaven can be compared unto the LORD? who among the sons of the mighty can be likened unto the LORD?

7 God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him.

8 O LORD God of hosts, who is a strong LORD like unto thee? or to thy faithfulness round about thee?

9 Thou rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them.

10 Thou hast broken Rahab in pieces, as one that is slain; thou hast scattered thine enemies with thy strong arm.

11 The heavens are thine, the earth also is thine: as for the world and the fulness thereof, thou hast founded them.

12 The north and the south thou hast created them: Tabor and Hermon shall rejoice in thy name.

13 Thou hast a mighty arm: strong is thy hand, and high is thy right hand.

14 Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face.

15 Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance.

16 In thy name shall they rejoice all the day: and in thy righteousness shall they be exalted.

17 For thou art the glory of their strength: and in thy favour our horn shall be exalted.

18 For the LORD is our defence; and the Holy One of Israel is our king.

19 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.

20 I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him:

21 With whom my hand shall be established: mine arm also shall strengthen him.

22 The enemy shall not exact upon him; nor the son of wickedness afflict him.

23 And I will beat down his foes before his face, and plague them that hate him.

24 But my faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him: and in my name shall his horn be exalted.

25 I will set his hand also in the sea, and his right hand in the rivers.

26 He shall cry unto me, Thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation.

27 Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth.

28 My mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him.

29 His seed also will I make to endure for ever, and his throne as the days of heaven.

30 If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments;

31 If they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments;

32 Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes.

33 Nevertheless my lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail.

34 My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.

35 Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David.

36 His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me.

37 It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven. Selah.

38 But thou hast cast off and abhorred, thou hast been wroth with thine anointed.

39 Thou hast made void the covenant of thy servant: thou hast profaned his crown by casting it to the ground.

40 Thou hast broken down all his hedges; thou hast brought his strong holds to ruin.

41 All that pass by the way spoil him: he is a reproach to his neighbours.

42 Thou hast set up the right hand of his adversaries; thou hast made all his enemies to rejoice.

43 Thou hast also turned the edge of his sword, and hast not made him to stand in the battle.

44 Thou hast made his glory to cease, and cast his throne down to the ground.

45 The days of his youth hast thou shortened: thou hast covered him with shame. Selah.

46 How long, LORD? wilt thou hide thyself for ever? shall thy wrath burn like fire?

47 Remember how short my time is: wherefore hast thou made all men in vain?

48 What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave? Selah.

49 Lord, where are thy former lovingkindnesses, which thou swarest unto David in thy truth?

50 Remember, Lord, the reproach of thy servants; how I do bear in my bosom the reproach of all the mighty people;

51 Wherewith thine enemies have reproached, O LORD; wherewith they have reproached the footsteps of thine anointed.

52 Blessed be the LORD for evermore. Amen, and Amen.

Psalm 89:1-18 – ​No God like Our God

   To understand this psalm we must turn to II Samuel 7, where God guaranteed that David’s kingdom should be continued to his descendants. Nathan’s words are quoted in Psalm 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 Psalm 89:1-2, 5, 8, 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, Psalm 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. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Psalm 89:19-37 – ​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, Psalm 89:19-27; and second, in those relating to his descendants, Psalm 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, Psalm 89:24. The relationship between the soul and God is very intimate; on the one hand you have Psalm 89:26; and on the other Psalm 89:27.
   What a precious promise is Psalm 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 Psalm 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. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Psalm 89:32-33—Nevertheless my lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him.

​   I was asked the other day if I believed, as an increasing number were said to do, that each man bears his own sin, and that there is no such thing as the vicarious imputation of the sins of the world to the Lamb of God. I said at once that this idea, so growingly prevalent, would not avail to help men and women like many of those with whom I come in contact, and are deeply dyed. Tell them that they must bear their own sin, and they turn from you in despair. This is what conscience has been reading to them hourly from the stony book of the law. The soul dreads to have to bear its sin, and cries out for propitiation and covering. A dying man said recently, “I have been into the valley of death, and where is my covering?” Men need a covering. It is requisite that help should be laid upon One that is mighty (Psalm 89:19).
   We need to distinguish between guilt and secondary consequences of sin. For guilt we must have the transference of the black load of sin to our Savior. But it is also perfectly true that the nervous or physical system of the drunkard will never be what it might have been. The consequences of wrongdoing must be reaped. God will forgive you, and his loving-kindness will not depart; but He will visit your transgression with the rod, and your iniquity with stripes. But even here his mercy will avail to transform the curse into a blessing, and make myrtles bloom where thistles had flourished. God’s love can so transmute these results of sin, that where sin reigned unto death, grace shall reign unto eternal life. But never forget that, when once God has entered into covenant with a soul, He will stand to it, till the heavens be no more. —Our Daily Homily

Psalm 89:38-52 – ​“Burn Like 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, I Kings 14:25-26, or when the youthful prince Jehoiachin was deposed by Nebuchadnezzar, II Kings 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 (Psalm 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. —Through the Bible Day by Day


The controllers of the liquor traffic understand their business. They know that they are sending an army of drunkards each year to an untimely grave and to take the place of these fallen victims, they must gain recruits from the hosts of youth. But the Rum haunts are too hideous to beguile one of tender years. There must be less offensive sins offered to bridge that long leap from innocence to iniquity, from the home hearth to the dram shop. Therefore, the rum-seller goes in league with the vendor of cigarettes, and base literature, and evil pictures, and questionable games and entertainments. At last the youthful victims of these plotters find themselves on the threshold of ruin. Every avenue through crime and vice leads at last to the open saloon.

Psalm 89:45