August 29 2023
Today, Tuesday August 29
Our God is Faithful
A Contemplation of Ethan the Ezrahite
“I will sing of the mercies of the LORD forever; With my mouth will I make known Your faithfulness to all generations. For I have said, "Mercy shall be built up forever; Your faithfulness You shall establish in the very heavens." "I have made a covenant with My chosen, I have sworn to My servant David: 'Your seed I will establish forever, And build up your throne to all generations.' " Selah
And the heavens will praise Your wonders, O LORD; Your faithfulness also in the assembly of the saints. For who in the heavens can be compared to the LORD? Who among the sons of the mighty can be likened to the LORD? God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, And to be held in reverence by all those around Him. O LORD God of hosts, Who is mighty like You, O LORD? Your faithfulness also surrounds You.”
The theme of Psalm 89 is the faithfulness of God! This is the last Psalm in the Third Book of Psalms as you will see in a note at the end of this chapter in your Bible. This Psalm is entitled "A (Maschil) Contemplation of Ethan the Ezrahite." It is the twelfth of thirteen Maschil or Psalms especially written for instruction. Ethan the Ezrahite was one of the wise men of the east, so renowned for wisdom that Solomon's sagacity is compared with his (1 Kings 4:31).
Most commentators seem to feel, however, that the psalm relates to the exile when the Davidic covenant seemed to be torn to shreds by a God whose patience was exhausted by the wickedness of the later kings of David's line. If this is so, some unknown author might have picked up a previous hymn by Ethan, adapted it to the times, perhaps added to it, and republished it under Ethan's name.
The tone of the psalm suggests that the final breakup of the monarchy was fresh in the mind of the author. So probably, with an early manuscript in front of him, this unknown author or editor elaborated on a previous poem by Ethan, adapting it to the uncertainties of the hour. Some have suggested that the psalm during the time that David’s seed, King Jehoiachin was in exile in Babylon. For thirty-six years he languished in prison, but after the death of Nebuchadnezzar he was released and kindly treated by Evil-Merodach, the next Babylonian king.
It was of this godless man, Jehoiachin, that the prophet Jeremiah wrote: "Write ye this man childless"; that is, childless as far as the throne was concerned. The royal dynasty of David through Solomon came to an abrupt end in this man. No further son of David's line through Solomon and through Jehoiachin would be allowed to sit upon the throne of David.
What, then, becomes of God's covenant that promised David a throne forever (vv. 3, 28, 34, 39, and see 2 Sam. 7)? Does Jehovah no longer keep His promises? The faithfulness of the Lord is the major theme of this Psalm, which is mentioned in verses 1, 2, 5, 8, 14, 24, 33, and 49. Of course, God's great promises to David have their ultimate fulfillment in Jesus Christ, the Son of David (Matthew 1; Luke 1:26-38, 68-79). The psalm gives us four assurances about the faithfulness of the Lord.
First, in verses 1-18, we are assured that God is faithful in His character and we should praise Him! The psalm opens on a joyful note of worship with praise to God from the psalmist (vv. 1-4), in heaven (vv. 5-8), and on earth (vv. 9-13), and especially from the people of Israel (vv. 14-18), who rejoice in the Lord all day long (v. 16). The psalmist sings (v. 1), the angels praise (v. 5), and even the mountains sing for joy (v. 12). He praised the faithfulness of God's character (vv. 1-2) and His covenant (vv. 3-4), about which he has much to say (vv. 3, 28,34, 39).
Because the psalmist wanted to instruct and encourage the coming generations (see 78:1-8), he wrote down his praise and his prayer. God had sworn to David that his dynasty and throne would continue forever (vv. 28-29, 35-36, 49; 2 Sam. 7:13), but future generations of Jews would live without any king, let alone a king from David's line. He wanted them to know that God's mercy (lovingkindness) was being built up (v. 2) even though the city and temple had been torn down and the crown and throne of David had been cast down (vv. 39, 44). God was still on His throne (v. 14), and David's line ("seed") was secured forever in Jesus Christ, the Son of God (vv. 4, 29, 36-37; see Heb. 1:8; 5:6; 7:28; 10:12; 13:8, 21; Rev. 11:15).
The "sure mercies (v. 1) of the LORD" will never fail (Isa. 55:3; Acts 13:34). God had not forsaken His servant David (vv. 3, 20, 39; 2 Sam. 7:5, 8, 20, 21, 25-29). And our faithful God will never forsake us!