Psa 89

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Download the Notes: 11102013Psa89DonRuhl

The God Who Is Faithful to You 

What shall you do with the faithful God?

Psalm 89

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • November 10, In the year of our Lord, 2013


  1. Devotion to God does not happen by accident. 
    1. A person does not just wait for the feeling.
    2. No, we have to learn of our God,
      1. see His nature,
      2. see His blessings, and then
        1. make a decision what we will do for the rest of our lives.
        2. It is not merely what you are going to do today, but
          1. what shall your life be from this point on, and
          2. what you are going to do.
  2. Likewise, the psalmist begins Psalm 89 telling us what he is going to do. 
    1. Learn of God and you will be the same way.


  1. Psalm 89.0 – A Faithful Servant

    0 A Contemplation of Ethan the Ezrahite.
    (Psa 89.0)

    1. Ethan was not only a psalmist and a musician (1Ch 15.19), but
    2. he was a wise man, whom the Bible used as a comparison for Solomon,30 Thus Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the men of the East and all the wisdom of Egypt. 31a For he was wiser than all men—than Ethan the Ezrahite… (1Ki 4.30–31a).
  2. Psalm 89.1–2 – The Faithful God

    1 I will sing of the mercies of the LORD forever;
    With my mouth will I make known Your faithfulness to all generations.
    2 For I have said, “Mercy shall be built up forever;
    Your faithfulness You shall establish in the very heavens.”
    (Psa 89.1–2)

    1. God’s faithfulness and mercy go hand in hand.
    2. That is something to sing about!
      1. Where would we be without the faithfulness and mercy of God?
      2. I think about it often, and it makes me tremble.
  3. Psalm 89.3–4 – God’s Faithfulness to David

    3 “I have made a covenant with My chosen,
    I have sworn to My servant David:
    4 ‘Your seed I will establish forever,
    And build up your throne to all generations.’”
    (Psa 89.3–4)

    1. The psalmist knew of God’s faithful promise to David.
      1. The psalmist will detail it, but then
      2. he will contrast it with what he currently observed.
        1. However, we learn in the New Testament that the ultimate fulfillment
        2. was not with David on his throne, but
          1. the Seed of David,
          2. who is Jesus. And Ethan could not know this.
    2. This shows the connection between Psalm 89 and the New Testament.
      1. The New Testament writers and preachers held David in high regard.
      2. The Lord held David in high regard, and
        1. the Lord caused Himself to be born through David’s family, and
        2. the Lord declared that David had a heart like the Lord.
      3. Think of how the New Testament begins,1 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham… (Matt 1.1).
        1. When you start reading the New Testament,
        2. you learn right away that the narration
          1. is about Jesus Christ, and
          2. the first thing that the Holy Spirit-inspired apostle Matthew writes,
            1. is that Jesus is the son of David!
            2. Does that make Psalm 89 important to the Christian?
              1. The psalmist mentions the name of David four times, but
              2. not in a passing away.
                1. Rather Ethan builds his whole Psalm upon
                2. the Lord’s promises to David, and
                  1. ultimately they are fulfilled in the New Testament
                  2. in Jesus, the son of David.
      4. New Testament writers use David’s name between 55 and 60 times,
        1. making a connection with Jesus in someway.
        2. God’s fulfill of His covenant to David shows His faithfulness to us.
  4. Psalm 89.5–14 – Displays of God’s Faithfulness

    5 And the heavens will praise Your wonders, O LORD;
    Your faithfulness also in the assembly of the saints.
    6 For who in the heavens can be compared to the LORD?
    Who among the sons of the mighty can be likened to the LORD?
    7 God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints,
    And to be held in reverence by all those around Him.
    8 O LORD God of hosts,
    Who is mighty like You, O LORD?
    Your faithfulness also surrounds You.
    9 You rule the raging of the sea;
    When its waves rise, You still them.
    10 You have broken Rahab in pieces, as one who is slain;
    You have scattered Your enemies with Your mighty arm.
    11 The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours;
    The world and all its fullness, You have founded them.
    12 The north and the south, You have created them;
    Tabor and Hermon rejoice in Your name.
    13 You have a mighty arm;
    Strong is Your hand, and high is Your right hand.
    14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne;
    Mercy and truth go before Your face.
    (Psa 89.5–14)

    1. What praises God?
      1. The heavens praise His wonders.
      2. The assembly of the saints praise His faithfulness.
    2. To whom shall we compare God?
      1. No one in the heavens compares to Him.
      2. No one among the sons of the mighty compare to Him.
    3. Therefore, we fear Him and reverence Him.
    4. Verse 8 declares that His faithfulness surrounds Him, showing some details:
      1. He rules the sea.
      2. He broke Rahab, Egypt.
      3. He owns the heavens and the Earth, including all points of the compass.
        1. Obviously, He is strong.
        2. Righteousness, justice, mercy, and truth are under Him and before Him.
  5. Psalm 89.15–18 – The Blessedness of Knowing God’s Faithfulness

    15 Blessed are the people who know the joyful sound!
    They walk, O LORD, in the light of Your countenance.
    16 In Your name they rejoice all day long,
    And in Your righteousness they are exalted.
    17 For You are the glory of their strength,
    And in Your favor our horn is exalted.
    18 For our shield belongs to the LORD,
    And our king to the Holy One of Israel.
    (Psa 89.15–18)

    1. The people who know the truths of verses 5–14 are blessed.
      1. They rejoice all day long.
      2. They exalt in God’s righteousness.
      3. They have God’s glory for their strength.
      4. They have God as their shield.
      5. Their king belonged to the Holy One of Israel.
    2. “God is faithful in His character—praise Him” (Wiersbe).
  6. Psalm 89.19–37 – God’s Faithfulness Specified in David

    19 Then You spoke in a vision to Your holy one,
    And said: “I have given help to one who is mighty;
    I have exalted one chosen from the people.
    20 I have found My servant David;
    With My holy oil I have anointed him,
    21 With whom My hand shall be established;
    Also My arm shall strengthen him.
    22 The enemy shall not outwit him,
    Nor the son of wickedness afflict him.
    23 I will beat down his foes before his face,
    And plague those who hate him.
    24 But My faithfulness and My mercy shall be with him,
    And in My name his horn shall be exalted.
    25 Also I will set his hand over the sea,
    And his right hand over the rivers.
    26 He shall cry to Me, ‘You are my Father,
    My God, and the rock of my salvation.’
    27 Also I will make him My firstborn,
    The highest of the kings of the earth.
    28 My mercy I will keep for him forever,
    And My covenant shall stand firm with him.
    29 His seed also I will make to endure forever,
    And his throne as the days of heaven.
    30 If his sons forsake My law
    And do not walk in My judgments,
    31 If they break My statutes
    And do not keep My commandments,
    32 Then I will punish their transgression with the rod,
    And their iniquity with stripes.
    33 Nevertheless My lovingkindness I will not utterly take from him,
    Nor allow My faithfulness to fail.
    34 My covenant I will not break,
    Nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips.
    35 Once I have sworn by My holiness;
    I will not lie to David:
    36 His seed shall endure forever,
    And his throne as the sun before Me;
    37 It shall be established forever like the moon,
    Even like the faithful witness in the sky.”
    (Psa 89.19–37)

    1. Back in verses 15–18,
      1. the psalmist ended his list of the wonders of God
      2. with the fact that their king, David, and his sons, belonged to God.
    2. Then Ethan showed how God promised to bless David and his seed:
      1. God will help David.
      2. God anointed David.
      3. God shall strengthen David.
      4. The enemy shall not outwit David.
      5. God will beat down David’s enemies.
      6. God shall be faithful to David.
      7. God shall make David have dominion over the sea.
      8. God shall have a special relationship with David.
      9. God shall make David the firstborn and highest of earthly kings.
      10. God shall keep His covenant with David.
      11. God shall make David and his seed’s throne endure forever.
      12. God shall punish David’s seed for their sin.
      13. Finally, God shall keep His covenant with David no matter what.
    3. “God is faithful to His covenant—trust Him” (Wiersbe).
  7. Psalm 89.38–45 – God’s Faithfulness Questioned

    38 But You have cast off and abhorred,
    You have been furious with Your anointed.
    39 You have renounced the covenant of Your servant;
    You have profaned his crown by casting it to the ground.
    40 You have broken down all his hedges;
    You have brought his strongholds to ruin.
    41 All who pass by the way plunder him;
    He is a reproach to his neighbors.
    42 You have exalted the right hand of his adversaries;
    You have made all his enemies rejoice.
    43 You have also turned back the edge of his sword,
    And have not sustained him in the battle.
    44 You have made his glory cease,
    And cast his throne down to the ground.
    45 The days of his youth You have shortened;
    You have covered him with shame.
    (Psa 89.38–45)

    1. After just listing all the ways that God would show His faithfulness to David,
      1. Ethan then contrasted that with the current situation.
      2. In short, Israel and its king were beaten and the enemy exalted.
        1. How did that square with God’s faithfulness to David?
        2. That disturbed Ethan.
    2. It is amazing that God would allow this in His word, but
      1. He knows how things look to us.
      2. He knows our struggles.
    3. Verse 38 makes a strong contrast,
      1. as though he forgot what he himself had written in verses 30–32,
      2. that if God’s people forsake His law,
        1. He will punish them.
        2. Truly, we often forget what we ourselves have declared so strenuously.
    4. Verses 38–45 parallel verses 9–19:
    5. pastedGraphic.pdf
    6. “God is faithful in His chastening” (Wiersbe) —accept Him.
  8. Psalm 89.46–48 – Plea for God’s Faithfulness

    46 How long, LORD?
    Will You hide Yourself forever?
    Will Your wrath burn like fire?
    47 Remember how short my time is;
    For what futility have You created all the children of men?
    48 What man can live and not see death?
    Can he deliver his life from the power of the grave?
    (Psa 89.46–48)

    1. Ethan wanted to know how long God would allow this situation to exist.
      1. It did not seem harmonious with God’s faithfulness.
      2. He pleaded with God to remember that they did not have much time.
    2. Surely God did not create man in vain.
  9. Psalm 89.49–51 – Searching for God’s Faithfulness

    49 Lord, where are Your former lovingkindnesses,
    Which You swore to David in Your truth?
    50 Remember, Lord, the reproach of Your servants—
    How I bear in my bosom the reproach of all the many peoples,
    51 With which Your enemies have reproached, O LORD,
    With which they have reproached the footsteps of Your anointed.
    (Psa 89.49–51)

    1. Ethan knew Israel’s history, especially of David, well.
      1. Ethan wanted to know where all that lovingkindness had gone.
      2. He wanted God to keep His promises and His covenant.
    2. Verses 46–51 contrast verses 22–37
    3. pastedGraphic_1.pdf
  10. Psalm 89.52 – Blessing the Faithful God

    52 Blessed be the LORD forevermore!
    Amen and Amen.
    (Psa 89.52)

    1. Ethan tried to figure out God’s faithfulness during times of trouble, but
    2. Ethan anticipated that in time he would see God’s faithfulness,
      1. leading Ethan to bless God, and
      2. to add a double Amen to it.
    3. “God’s faithfulness will never cease—wait for Him” (Wiersbe).


  1. Ethan was a faithful servant to the faithful God, yet, 
    1. Ethan struggled with what he thought was the lack of God’s faithfulness.
    2. Amazingly, God allowed this in His Bible. However,
      1. Ethan did not challenge God.
      2. Ethan did not demand of God.
  2. People question God’s faithfulness, but 
    1. not in the way Ethan did.
    2. No, they question His character.
      1. They question whether He even exists.
      2. They have something against Him.
        1. They demand to know why He has not done such and such.
        2. However, where have they been?
          1. They question His faithfulness, but
          2. what about their faithfulness?
            1. After all that He has done for us,
            2. how could anyone challenge Him?
  3. Just looking at this Psalm alone, 
    1. we see His calculated determination to bless humanity.
    2. Then we get upset with Him if He allows us to suffer a little!
      1. What is man that God would do all the things of this Psalm?
      2. Who is God that He would even consider being faithful to us?
        1. Often during the Lord’s Supper I am reminded of Jesus
        2. quoting the first line of Psalm 22.1 on the cross,1 My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?
          (Psa 22.1a)

          1. But then I pray to God,My God, My God, why have we forsaken You?
          2. The issue is not the faithfulness of God, but the faithfulness of man.
  4. The only way to have the ultimate peace 
    1. is to see God as Ethan did, and
    2. to forsake preconceived ideas you have of God.
      1. Open your mind to the teachings of the Scriptures, especially the Psalms.
      2. You will see a God of infinite love and pure justice.
        1. You will experience the peace of God
        2. when you see His love through Jesus Christ, the son of David,
          1. who is the fulfillment of this Psalm.
          2. Turn to Him now.
  5. Turn to Him by doing what Ethan said: 
    1. Sing of the mercies of the Lord.
    2. Make known His faithfulness.
    3. Praise Him for His wonders.
    4. See that no one compares to Him.
    5. Fear Him and hold Him in reverence.
    6. Look at creation and ask yourself who is mighty like Him.
    7. Walk in the light of His countenance.
    8. Rejoice in His name.
    9. Exalt in His righteousness.
    10. See Him as the glory of your strength.
    11. See Him as your shield.
    12. See Him as your King.
    13. Speak to Him of problems you see.
    14. Pray to Him for mercy.
    15. Tell Him that you desire to see His favor.
    16. Finally, bless Him forever.
      1. Amen it with your voice.
      2. Amen it with your life.
  6. God is faithful to you. Now, be faithful to Him.