October 18 - Psalm 89

Saturday, October 18, 2008

October 18 - Psalm 89:1-52

Ethan the Ezrahite and Heman the Ezrahite (Psalm 88) were appointed as singers by the Levites (1 Chronicles 15:16-17). I love that they were 'appointed to sing joyful songs.'

I read a lot of scifi and fantasy. One of the significant characters in many fantasy storylines is the bard. Stories were told in song. Gatherings were held so that people could hear the stories. They remembered them by remembering the song. It is much easier for me to memorize scripture if I know the song. David appointed these men as bards! They were to tell the stories and remind the Israelites of many thing. The songs would be remembered long after the singers.

So, imagine Ethan sitting down to compose this Psalm. Imagine his great love for the Lord as he begins with ... "I will sing of the Lord's great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations..."

If you were to sit down right now and compose a joyful song that would tell of God's work in your life, how would it begin?

Ethan was not one to shy away from his responsibilities in this teaching. The first section of this Psalm tell of God's great glories. He reminds the people of the covenant (Psalm 89:3-4), a reminder that will occur again in this Psalm.

Then he begins to sing of God's character: His faithfulness (Psalm 89:5-8), His power (Psalm 89:9-13), His righteousness (Psalm 89:14-18). Ethan begins telling the story of God's relationship with David in Psalm 89:19. These words are incredible. Read Psalm 89:27-29. This covenant is one that will last as long as the heavens endure.

This is the faithfulness of God! In Psalm 89:30-37, he reiterates the covenant. No matter what, the covenant will never be violated. David and his sons can wreak havoc on the relationship by disobeying God's law. They will be punished, but God will never remove His covenant.

We are children of that God. His promises, once set in place, will never be removed.

Ethan's Psalm goes on to question whether or not God really will fulfill the covenant. He sees the punishment and it seems to signify something much greater to him (Psalm 89:38-45). But the Psalmist only sees a piece or two of the puzzle, he doesn't see the entire picture.

After he has given voice to his fears, he comes to the correct question to pose to God in Psalm 89:46. It is not about whether or not God will grant relief, but when God will do so. How long, O Lord? Please, Lord remember us.

Those thoughts occur all too often in my mind. I am thankful for the Psalms which also give voice to my fears.

Psalm 89:52 seems a bit out of place at this point in the song. And it is. This is the end of the Third Book of Psalms (out of five). Each book ends with a Doxology ... a word of Praise. This is the doxology that was put into place. In all things, though ... "Praise be to the Lord forever! Amen and Amen."