Ps 89 - Lord, What about Your Promises?

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The Lord's Promises are assured through they may seem delayed



Scripture is clear that the God of scripture is absolutely faithful to His word. Num. 23:19 makes clear that everything Yahweh has spoken shall come to pass. Prov. 30:5 says every word of the Lord has been tested. 2 Cor. 1:20 makes clear the promises of God are yes and through Christ our amen. 1 Th. 5:24 says the Lord is faithful and will bring his word to pass. Yet there are times in our lives when it seems God has forgotten His promise(s) to us. This was true in scripture as well. 10 years after receiving a promise of a son, Abram was still childless. He turned to Hagar for an heir, and created a mess in the process. Joseph didn’t remember God’s promises to him via dreams until his brothers were bowing before him. In our psalm today we have another instance, the lack of a Davidic king and seeming end of the Davidic covenant. But is that really the case?


The historical context for our psalm can be found in 2 Samuel 7. There we read the David desired to build the Lord a house. At first the prophet Nathan told David to do all what was in his mind for the Lord is with him (2 Sam. 7:3). Later that night the Lord tells David he never asked for a house yet will build David a house and establish said house forever. We know this to be fulfilled in Christ. Yet at this point in the psalm that house, that throne is no more. Has God forgotten His promises. We are going to cover this psalm over the two weeks: vs. 1 - 37 today, and 38 -51 next week. At that point we will be finished with book three of the psalter. For this evening we can break the psalm up into 3 parts:
The Faithfulness and Awesomeness of Yahweh.
A hymn of praise concerning the Davidic covenant (vs. 1 - 4)
Yahweh’s incomparable glory (vs. 5 - 8)
Yahweh’s universal rule on the earth (vs. 9 - 12)
The LORD’s great care for His people (vs. 13 - 18)
The Davidic Covenant
The choice of David (vs. 19 - 23)
The promise to David (vs. 24 - 29)
The eternity of the Davidic covenant (vs. 30 - 36)
Lord, What about Your Promises?
The abandonment of Judah / Israel (vs. 38 - 45)
Lord, What about your faithfulness (vs. 46 - 51)
The end of book three
The end of the Psalm (v. 52)


The Faithfulness and Awesomeness of Yahweh

Verses 1 - 4: The psalm writer begins by declaring he will sing of the LORD’s covenantal faithfulness as long as he lives. He will speak of the LORD’s steadfast love both to his generation and all those afterwards. Negative circumstances don’t alter the LORD or His faithfulness. They don’t change who He is. As Charles Spurgeon writes: “Whatever we may observe abroad or experience in our own persons, we ought still to praise God for his mercies, since they most certainly remain the same, whether we can perceive them or not.”[1] The LORD has been good to His people and His unchanging nature and uncontested lordship of heaven ensures His will shall be done. To quote Spurgeon again: “As the blue arch above us remains unimpaired by age, so does the Lord’s truth; as in the firmament he hangs his covenant bow, so in the upper heavens the faithfulness of God is enthroned in immutable glory. This Ethan said, and this we may say; come what will, mercy and faithfulness are built up by “the Eternal Builder,” and his own nature is the guarantee for their perpetuity. This is to be called to mind whenever the church is in trouble, or our own spirits bowed down with grief.”[2] The LORD choose and made a covenant with David, one that will be kept for all time and applies to all his descendants. The ultimate fulfillment of this was found in Christ, the lion of the tribe of Judah. His adoptive human Joseph was of the house and lineage of David. One may protest there is earthly inhabitant of the throne. This is true. Yet there is one who reigns in eternity. His kingdom shall never end. He fulfills the promise the Father made to David. His name is Jesus. He is our king and lord.
Verses 5 - 8: The heavens, indeed all creation, must bow in praise to the wondrous works of the LORD and for His faithfulness to His people. The text actually equates His wondrous works and His faithfulness. Yahweh is great because none is or will ever be as faithful as Him to His people.[2] There is none like the LORD in heaven and earth. No another created being, as majestic as they may be, is worthy to be compared to the sovereign LORD of the universe. He is feared in the council of the angels. His splendor and glory far exceed even these heavenly beings. The commander in chief of the armies of heaven has no equal. There is no other God like the mighty God, known as the faithful God.
Verses 9 - 12: Yahweh isn’t just the God of Israel. He is the sovereign ruler over all creation and every nation. The mighty sea must submit to the rule of the LORD (Matt. 8:24-27). Rahab is a reference to both the sea and to Egypt (cf. 51:9).[3] None of the LORD’s enemies have been able to stand against Him. Every realm of creation belongs to the LORD because He is the creator. The most majestic parts of creation are a mere reflection of His awesome majesty.
Verses 13 - 18: The LORD is mighty in power and just in rulership. All of the LORD’s decrees are right and good and His kinship consists of faithful love and truth. None could ever accuse Yahweh of injustice or wickedness. The LORD is true to His word and character and absolutely faithful to all His promises. It is a blessing to know this God. Those who trust in the LORD rejoice in His name, meaning that rejoice in who He is. They are raised up because of Him. The LORD vindicates the innocent and gives victory to His people. He is the strength of the Davidic king and worthy of all glory and praise.

The Davidic Covenant

Verses 19 - 23: Here we have what is considered an oracle from God concerning the Davidic Covenant. It is similar, though not identical, to what is found in 2 Samuel 7. The Lord chose David and made him king in place of Saul. In the same manner the Son and Lord of David, Christ Jesus has been made King of kings and Lord of lords. While David endured months or years of persecution while Saul was king, The LORD eventually brought David to the throne. Christ Jesus endured the cross, despising the shame, and now has all authority in heaven and earth. But the LORD did not leave David to his own devices after He put him there. The LORD was with David. The successes of David were due to the hand of God on his life. Yahweh put all David’s enemies under his feet (Ps. 2:8-9). Even more so the enemies of Christ and his church shall be put under his feet by the Father. This is detailed in 2 Samuel 8 - 10 where the LORD provided victory after victory, bringing nations under to rule of Israel and her God. Revelation tells us the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ (Rev. 11:15). Whereas David’s temporal rule ended, Christ shall rule for eternity.
Verses 24 - 25: Yahweh would continue to manifest His steadfast love and faithfulness to David and his seed forever. For the glory of God David would be exalted and given wide dominion. Paul relays for us in the words of the beautiful Christ hymn (Phil. 2:9 -11) that Christ has been exalted for the glory of God the Father. Everything in heaven and earth will bow by Christ Jesus, either willingly or unwillingly.
Verses 26 -27: Their relationship would not be Master and servant but Father and son. There is no greater fulfillment of this promise found other than the Father and the Son, our Lord Jesus the Christ. When our savior spoke to Yahweh he called Him Father. The Father testified on the son that he is will pleased in him (Matt 3:16 - 17). The Spirit through Paul tells us he is the firstborn of all creation and the preeminent one. No other can claim such a status in heaven or earth. Yet through Christ we are adopted into the family of God as sons and daughters. We have been given the Spirit whereby we cry ‘Abba’ Father. He is our Father and we are his children.
Verses 28 - 29: Even as Yahweh is unchanging, so is His world. Yahweh will be forever faithful to His covenant with David. In fact it goes beyond David the person. The LORD’s faithfulness to David would extend beyond David and unto his descendants. It is this same faithful God that stands behind the new covenant. Through we may not understand all things, we can trust in the reality that the word of God can’t fail. He has absolute power to bring His word to pass. Indeed, Christ today is faithful to His Church and Paul tells us that He who began a good work in us shall perform it until the day of Christ Jesus. Truly is the case that we have a strong that the angels can not send.
Verses 30 - 37: Because we are dealing with human kings, the reality of failure is put forth. We know from reading 1 and 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles that many of the Davidic Kings did fail. Yet even in failure Yahweh would not abandon His promises. He would not be unfaithful. He would discipline (cf. Heb. 12:4-11) but he would not utterly cast off the Davidic line permanently.


1. Spurgeon, C. H. (n.d.). The treasury of David: Psalms 88-110 (Vol. 4, p. 23). London; Edinburgh; New York: Marshall Brothers.
ibid. Pg 24
2. Leadership Ministries Worldwide. (2015). Psalms: Chapters 42–106 (Vol. II, p. 303). Chattanooga, TN: Leadership Ministries Worldwide.
3. Tanner, B. (2014). Book Three of the Psalter: Psalms 73–89. In E. J. Young, R. K. Harrison, & R. L. Hubbard Jr. (Eds.), The Book of Psalms (p. 680). Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. Note 35.
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