The certainty of the promises of God
Psalm 89


-It took a while this week for me to choose a Psalm.
-All 5 very intriguing- 5 different author/contributors (David, Sons of Korath, Ethan, Moses, another son of Korah). Yet they all string together.
-From the five I found some familiar and amazing verses. i.e "Give me a sign of your goodness, that my enemies may see it and be put to shame" Psalm 86:17. "Darkness is my closest friend" Psalm 88:18 "Teach us to number our days aright" Psalm 90:12 "Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne." Psalm 89:14 and "Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures;yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away." Psalm 89:10

In the end I decided to focus on Psalm 89

Intro to Psalm 89

-Closes the third book/section of the Psalms
-A maskil (teaching Psalm) of Ethan the Ezrahite - mentioned in 1 Kings 4:31

In the psalm (which is pretty long), Ethan sings and instructs about two things.

Firstly he sings of the the promise God made to David (2 Samuel 7). Psalm 89:1-37

To David God made the promise that an eternal king would reign upon his throne

Secondly he sings about a problem. v.38ff

God had promised that there would always be a king in David's family (2 Samuel 7:12-17). But now there was no *Jewish king! The army from Babylon had beaten the *Jewish army. They took the *Jewish king to Babylon and the King of Babylon (Nebuchadnezzar) became king of the *Jews. Ethan's quandry: What about God and His promises- When would God keep them? Would God keep them?

While Ethan didn't live to see God's promise come to pass, God's promise came to pass--for in Bethlehem, 2000 years ago, Jesus - who was of the line of David, was born. God became a man and dwelt amongst us. Jesus, the king of Kings entered into our world.

This is why on Christmas day - in some churches- a hymn called "Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord"- is sung (written in tribute to this Psalm)- for in Christmas we celebrate the keeping of God's promise.


Lessons and principles

1. Good times or bad- we are to be committed to the singing of God's great love - for his love never fails v.1,52

Note how Psalm 89 is bookended!

Note how the love of God threads its way through the text

Note the distress of Ethan in v.49 -what of the love of God? Sometimes we ask this same question "What of the love of God? Where is it?"

What was the basis of God's promise that Ethan recites: The love of God (hesed). Not a love of feeling or familiarity or of conditionality but a love of permanence and depth. A love declared, a love of permanence grounded in the promise of God. Loyalty. Unconditional, everlasting loyalty. Expressing itself in lovingkindness, fatherly care.

We celebrate the love of God-- the hesed love of God

-In love he sent His son Jesus to die for us on the cross. "This is love, not that we loved God but that God loved us and sent his son to be the propitiation for our sins." 1 John 4:10
-In love he carries us and keeps us and provides for us and attends to our prayers
-His love never fails, it never runs out

The love of God- a great theme of the Bible, that which runs through the great story of redemption from the Fall to the Cross to the Return of Christ

Love: v.1,2,14, 28, 33, 49

Kids songs: His great love

God loves us
God sent His son to die for us, because of His great love
His great love
God showed his great big love by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners

2. Having a good memory as it regards the works, wonders, promises, and story of God- is vital to carrying us through hard times

VERY INTERESTING: THOUGH GREATLY DISTRESSED AND AT LOSS AS TO WHAT GOD DOING AS IT REGARDED HIS PROMISES, note how Ethan spends the entire first half v.1-38 of this Psalm-- declaring the praises of God, remembering the works of God, remembering the words and promises of God.

It's good of us to "remember when God did...." "remember how God has said...."

Recounting the acts and redemptive story of God is a good exercise anytime

This is what songs like "Count your blessings call on us to do"

When upon life's billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.


Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Key to keeping on in hard times: Read your Bible, keep a record of answered prayers, blessings, the way God has worked in your life and in the lives of others.

3. As dark as any hour will get, God has left us with a number of enduring markers and reminders of his love and promises for us v.37

After reviewing God's promise that David's line would continue forever, note what v.37 says; "it will be established forever like the moon, the faithful witness in the sky"

How interesting! The moon serves as a witness to the promises of God

In Jeremiah 31:35-36 God uses the moon and stars as an example of the surety of His word saying; "Thus says the LORD, Who gives the sun for light by day And the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, Who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar; The LORD of hosts is His name: 36"If this fixed order departs From before Me," declares the LORD, "Then the offspring of Israel also will cease From being a nation before Me forever."

If you keep reading your Bible as it regards the moon and stars you'll see how they feature in God's promises and the unfolding of His story of redemption.

How fascinating that when we are inclined to doubt God that God says "Look up" Those stars and moon up there don't just serve to give you light at night, they are in the orbits they are in and they shine as reminders of my promises.

The rainbow is another example of something in creation pointing to the promises of God and the surety of His word. Every rainbow testifies to God's promise to never destroy the world by a flood again.

4. No matter the bleakness of your situation hold on to the promises of God and your faith, for God is faithful

In v.46 Ethan writes "How long, LORD"?

-such is always the cry of the saints as we wait for the perfect timing of God

The lament of Ethan is that it appeared that the promise of God was not being attended to by God- for the line of David was nearly extinguished, the nation was in captivity, the city of God was in ruins. To the naked eye, it appeared that all was lost -and yet God was at work, God was preserving the line of David, God was in control.

Key thing to note: Ethan did not live to see the promise of God to David fulfilled

The troubles of Israel (because of her sins and rebellion against God) continued for a long long time

What thing has joined the saints through the years, the decades, the centuries as it regards the promises of God?

It is faith! As discouraged as he was. As mocked as he was, As heartbroken over the state of Israel and the line of David as he was, Ethan had faith.

We walk by faith and not by sight!

"Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see, this is what the ancients were commended for" Hebrews 11:1-2

It is a natural thing to lament, weep, and mourn and to cry out "How, O LORD?"- BUT IT THE MIDST OF IT, WE MUST HOLD ON TO OUR FAITH. We must be patient.

Our faith will be rewarded!

5. God's promise of an eternal king coming from the line of David is fulfilled in Jesus Christ

Jesus is the promised King of 2 Samuel 7 and Psalm 89. Jesus entered into our world at just the right time, at the Father's appointed time, to save us from our sins and the judgment to come

A prophesied King-- Daniel, Isaiah, Micah, the Psalms, 2 Samuel
King at his birth- worshipped as such by the wise men
King by his declaration at his trial "Are you a king then? asked Pilate"
King in his death - such was the declaration above his cross "The king of the Jews"
JESUS IS The King of Kings before whom every knee will bow


GOD'S PROMISES ARE CERTAIN! Hold on to your faith in Christ


For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ. 2 Corinthians 1:20


His great love
Standing on the promises of God