Forever His (Psalm 89)

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Merry Christmas!!!

Xmas Eve service we close with singing Silent Night. Lighting candles I challenged us not to love Jesus by stalking Jesus by investigating a bunch of facts and information through Bible study and church attendance. Stalkers learn about people from a distance, but we best learn to love Jesus not by stalking but by becoming a soldier – one who engages the mission.

In today’s message from Psalm 89, there are three ways we can engage God’s mission.

EXAMINE         

Psalm 89:1-4          A Maskil of Ethan the Ezrahite.
“I will sing of the LORD’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations. I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you have established your faithfulness in heaven itself. You said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one, I have sworn to David my servant, ‘I will establish your line forever and make your throne firm through all generations.’”

I will sing.

This psalm starts with an inscription. It is the 12th of 13 “maskil” psalms. Maskil is an uncertain phrase, but common among 13 other Psalms.[1] The word comes from a verb meaning “to make wise, or imparting understanding.”[2] Music and songs have a way of inspiring and instructing us with deep emotion and spiritual reflection. So, this psalm is meant for us to spend time meditating on its meaning and living what we learn. 

Psalm 89 was written by Ethan the Ezrahite; likely same person as Jeduthun; one who had a reputation for his wisdom, and also founded one of three choirs (1 Chro 15:19; 2 Chro 5:12).

The theme of this psalm is God’s forever faithfulness.  

  • Singing forever (v.1)
  • God’s steadfast love is forever (v.2)
  • God’s promise blessing of forever offspring and faithfulness from generation to generation. (v.4, 28-29)
  • Like the moon’s faithful witness in the sky is God’s covenant (v.37)
  • Blessed be the Lord forever. Amen and amen. (v.52)

At first glance, this song appears one of joyful praise.

  • V. 5 describes a heavenly choir with angels singing God’s praise.
  • V. 11-12 describe the earthly creation singing God’s praise with Tabor and Hermon; the former an imposing mountain to the north and the latter a smaller mount about 50 miles south.
    • Isa 55:12 “the mountains and the hills before the LORD break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.”
    • Lk 19:40 “the stones will cry out [God’s praise]”
  • V.15 “Blessed are the people who know the festal shout, who walk, O LORD, in the light of your face.”

Singing about God’s love causes us to smile. Meditating on God’s promises about heaven gives us comfort from our earthly days of hardship. Yet, reading the fullness of this psalm (beyond the message today), one can understand this is a song/psalm of regretful disappointment. Despite God’s blessing and faithfulness, God’s people were forgetful and disloyal. Israel pleaded with God to not give up and judge them with eternal discipline (v.46).

The point is, in the highs and lows, God’s people are to sing to Him. Whether we are singing the blues or the blessings, we know God is sovereign, wise, and good. We can be thankful for His hand of kindness and discipline.

Christmas season is filled with songs of joy and hope. Whether you sing or just pray, spend time reflecting upon God’s faithfulness.

Whether we are singing the blues or the blessings, we know God is sovereign, wise, and good.

I will share and declare.

with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations. I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you have established your faithfulness in heaven itself.

Though the psalmist is surrounded by an immoral nation and an

Idolatrous ‘church.’ He is committed to shine his light and testify to God’s faithful love.

Today, we can have two approaches:

  1. Look at what the world has come to.
  2. Look at who has come into the world.

The latter view is committed to being a thermostat – impacting the culture. Taking your one candle and lighting the darkness.

  • William Booth (1829-1912; preacher, founder of Salvation Army)  “’Not called’ did you say? ‘Not heard the call,’ I think you should say. Put your ear down to the Bible, and hear him bid you go and pull sinners out of the fire of sin. Put your ear down to the burdened, agonized heart of humanity, and listen to its pitiful wail for help. Go stand by the gates of hell, and hear the damned entreat you to go to their father’s house and bid their brothers and sisters and servants and masters not to come there. Then look Christ in the face—whose mercy you have professed to obey—and tell him whether you will join heart and soul and body and circumstances in the march to publish his mercy to the world.”
  • CT Studd (1860-1931, missionary to China, India) “Some want to live within the sound Of church or chapel bell; I want to run a rescue shop, Within a yard of hell.”
  • “I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”

Like the shepherds after seeing the Christ-child returned to their homes and neighborhoods, “glorifying and praising God for all they had seen and heard.” (Lk 2:20)

Like the disciples after the resurrection of Jesus and even being threatened by the Roman govt., said, “we cannot be silent of what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:20)

Like the Christian who told you about Jesus.

#WhosYour1 in 2022 / what about 2023??

Christians can approach the world in 1 of two ways: 1) Look at what the world has come to. 2) Look at who has come into the world! We’ve got good news to share and declare.

I will stake my foundation in God’s promises.

You said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one, I have sworn to David my servant, ‘I will establish your line forever and make your throne firm through all generations.’”

The psalmist restates to God the promise that He made to David. In David’s reign as king, he had accomplished many highlights: new lands, military victories (Goliath & Philistines for starters), and established Israel as a legitimate nation. David sought to build God a temple where the nation could worship. Instead, God returned the favor and promised to build David a house – an eternal legacy (2 Sam 7), which would be forever secure in the line/seed of Jesus Christ (Ps 89:4, 29, 36-37; Matthew 1:1, 6, 17).

It is as if the psalmist is saying, “God, things are not going well down here. You promised to protect and bless us. We’re holding you to it!”

God wants us to hold Him to His word. He wants us to depend on His promises and cling to His Scriptures.

As we embark on a new year, might you consider

  1. Praying the Bible. Gift book…
  2. A Bible reading plan
    (Full / E100 / Gospels in 90 is 1 ch a day with 1 day to spare).

APPLY/THINK

About 4-6 weeks ago, many of us searched our storage closets for Christmas decorations. We found ornaments and tree and located the nativity set(s). And if you’re like many, one of the last acts was placing the “baby Jesus” in the center.

Yet, in this next week or so, we will pack all the decorations in a dusty box and cram the storage containers into cobwebby corners of our basement/garage/attic.

Unfortunately, many people treat Christianity like the nativity. They bring the idea of faith out on special occasions when the circumstances call for it. However, the real Jesus does not occupy a central place in their lives. He’s boxed up, tucked away, secure on a bottom shelf.

My friends, let us keep Jesus front and center of each day and activity of our life.


[1] Psalm 32, 44, 45, 52-55, 74, 78, 88, 89, 142.

[2] Kidner, D. (1973). Psalms 1–72: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 15, p. 53). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

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