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Bible Commentaries

Smith's Bible Commentary

Psalms 89

Verses 1-52

Psalms 89:1-52

I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations. For I have said, Mercy shall be built up for ever: thy faithfulness shalt thou establish in the very heavens. I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant, Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations ( Psalms 89:1-4 ).

Now in verse Psalms 89:3 , actually, the psalm begins with the psalmist declaring, "I will sing praises to the Lord; sing of His mercies. My mouth will make known His faithfulness." Now God responds to that. And verse Psalms 89:3 is God's response. And God's response goes actually clear on down to verse Psalms 89:37 . So God is speaking now. It's a prophecy as the psalmist now is speaking forth for God. "I have made a covenant with My chosen, I have sworn to David my servant." What did He swear to David? "Thy seed will I establish forever, and build up thy throne to all generations."

And the heavens shall praise thy wonders ( Psalms 89:5 ),

And now the psalmist comes back. Selah ends God's voice there. God will begin speaking again down a little ways further. So now the psalmist takes it up again. "And the heavens shall praise Thy wonders,"

O LORD: thy faithfulness also in the congregation of the saints. For who in heaven can be compared unto the LORD? who among the sons of the mighty can be likened unto Jehovah? God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints ( Psalms 89:5-7 ),

Or reverenced, actually, in the assembly of the saints.

and to be had in reverence of all of them that are about him ( Psalms 89:7 ).

I think that we can learn quite a bit from the Jewish people concerning the reverence of God. I think that there is a tendency sometimes within the church circles of really not having the proper reverential attitude towards God. Sometimes we begin to get a little flippant about God. And we talk about the man upstairs and we begin to speak of God in irreverent kind of terms even. And I think that we need to be careful about this. We need to become aware and conscious of the greatness of God, the vastness of God. And to be always really just sort of in awe before Him.

There are some people that just by their very position command respect. Because Ronald Reagan has been elected as the next President of the United States, you wouldn't go up, you know, if you were at the airport and you saw him getting off the plane, you wouldn't go running up and say, "Well, Ronnie, all right man. Glad to see you made it, you know." Because of the position as President of the United States you would treat him with respect. You would have respect for the position that the man now has.

We have... living in a society that seems to try to break down this respect for authority. And it is a common thing among our society now of not really showing proper respect for authority. But that is a whole social breakdown. Not showing respect to police officers. Not showing respect to those that are in authority. It just shows a part of the whole social breakdown that is taking place. But it is tragic, because sometimes people also carry that disrespectful attitude over to God. And we should always, actually, hold God in the very highest of respect and reverence.

Now the Jews had such reverence for God that when the scribes would copy the scriptures, every time they came to the name Eloihim, God, in their text, they would take their pen and they would wash it. And then they would dip it in fresh ink to write the letters for God. If they came to the Adonai, the Lord, then they would take and get a fresh pen to write Adonai in the text. If they came to the consonants that stood for that holy name of God, the Y-H-V-H, they would go in and take a bath, change and put on fresh clothes and get a total fresh pen and dip it in ink and write the consonants. But they wouldn't put in the vowels because they felt that the name of God was so holy that they shouldn't even pronounce it in their minds and it should never be uttered from the lips of a person. They wouldn't dare even utter the name.

Now that I think is carrying it perhaps further than God intended, and yet, it does show a degree of reverence towards God that I think that somewhere in the middle of the pendulum we'll find the truth. They may be a little extreme on the one end of legalism, but I think that we tend towards an extreme on the other end, and that in the middle here we need ourselves to come more to the middle of a greater reverence and respect for God. That we don't just speak lightly of God, but we hold Him in highest esteem and respect. God is greatly to be reverenced in the assembly of the saints and to be had in reverence of all of them that are about Him.

O Jehovah God of hosts, who is a strong LORD like unto thee? or to thy faithfulness round about thee? For you rule the raging of the sea: when the waves arise, you still them. You have broken Rahab in pieces, as one that is slain; you have scattered your enemies with your strong arm. The heavens are yours, and the earth also is yours: as for the world and the fulness thereof, you have founded them. The north, the south you've created them: Tabor and Hermon shall rejoice in thy name. You have a mighty arm: strong is your hand, and high is your right hand. Justice and judgment are your habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face. Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance. And in thy name shall they rejoice all the day: and in thy righteousness shall they be exalted. For you are the glory of their strength: and in thy favor our horn shall be exalted. For the LORD is our defense; and the Holy One of Israel is our King ( Psalms 89:8-18 ).

Now God responds to this. The psalmist declares of the greatness of God, declaring why He should be reverenced because of the fact that He rules over the earth, over the heavens, created the earth.

Then you spake in vision to the holy one, and said, I have laid up help upon one that is mighty; I have exalted one that is chosen out of the people. I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him: With whom my hand shall be established: my arm shall also strengthen him. The enemy shall not exact upon him ( Psalms 89:19-22 );

That is, will not collect a tribute. He will not be paying tribute to the enemies. He will not be defeated and have to pay tribute to the enemies.

nor the son of wickedness afflict him. And I will beat down his foes before his face, and plague them that hate him. But my faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him: and in my name shall his horn be exalted ( Psalms 89:22-24 ).

The horn is a symbol of strength, and so the name of the Lord will be his strength.

I will set his hand also in the sea, and his right hand in the rivers. He shall cry unto me, Thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation. Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the eaRuth ( Psalms 89:25-27 ).

This, no doubt, has a double fulfillment not only in David, but also in that Seed that should come from David that will rule as King of kings and Lord of lords, even a prophecy of Jesus Christ.

My mercy will I keep for him for ever, and my covenant shall stand fast with him. His seed also will I make to endure for ever, and his throne as the days of heaven. If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments; If they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments; Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. Nevertheless my lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, nor allow my faithfulness to fail. My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips. Once I have sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David. His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me ( Psalms 89:28-36 ).

Which, of course, goes on to the prophecy of Christ, "Who will sit upon the throne of David to order it and to establish it in righteousness and in judgment from henceforth, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this" ( Isaiah 9:7 ). So God has sworn that Christ will sit upon the throne of David forever and ever.

It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as the faithful witness in heaven ( Psalms 89:37 ).

And the Selah brings us to the end of God's response to the psalmist. Now the psalmist declares:

But you have cast off and abhorred, you have been angry with your anointed. You have made void the covenant of your servant: you have profaned his crown by casting it to the ground. You have broken down all of his hedges; you have brought his strongholds to ruin. All that pass by the way spoil him: he is a reproach to his neighbors. Thou hast set up the right hand of his adversaries; thou hast made all his enemies to rejoice. Thou hast also turned the edge of his sword, and hast not made him to stand in the battle. You have made his glory to cease, and cast his throne down to the ground. The days of his youth have you shortened: and you've covered him with shame. How long, LORD? will you hide yourself for ever? shall thy wrath burn like fire? Remember how short my time is: wherefore hast thou made all men in vain? What man is he that lives, and shall not see death? shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave? Lord, where are thy former lovingkindnesses, which you swore to David in thy truth? Remember, Lord, the reproach of your servants; how I do bear in my bosom the reproach of all the mighty people; Wherewith your enemies have reproached, O LORD; wherewith they have reproached the footsteps of thine anointed ( Psalms 89:38-51 ).

And then the close of the third book of the psalms.

Blessed be Jehovah for evermore. Amen, and Amen ( Psalms 89:52 ).

I have mentioned before that each of the books of the psalms closes with a benediction, with the Amen, and Amen. That brings us to the end of the third book. And Psalms 90:1-17 begins the fourth book of the psalms. "

Copyright Statement
Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Psalms 89". "Smith's Bible Commentary". 2014.