Lent Devotional: Psalm 89
by Jonathan Haefs
Psalm 89 (click here)
The Lord says:
I have found David, my servant; with my holy oil I have anointed him…
My steadfast love I will keep for him forever, and my covenant will stand firm for him. I will establish his offspring forever and his throne as the days of the heavens.
The Psalmist says:
But now you have cast off and rejected; you are full of wrath against your anointed. You have renounced the covenant with your servant; you have defiled his crown in the dust.
Lord, where is your steadfast love of old, which by your faithfulness you swore to David?
Blessed be the LORD forever! Amen and Amen. (Psalm 89:20, 2-29, 38-39, 49, and 52)
O how often does it seem that the Word of the Lord has failed!
We read the precious truths of Scripture and cling to them by our fingertips with all our strength, but the constant battering of life aims to make our grip slip.
The shouts of suffering mock the promises of God.
The pain of life pries hope from our hearts.
This is the pit of Psalm 89. God has made amazing promises to David. He had established an unbreakable covenant that his offspring would reign forever! But did God really mean that promise?
When the Psalmist compared picture painted by the Words of God with the reality that surrounded him, it seemed like the Davidic covenant was a long lost dream. David’s “crown” was defiled in the dust as his line quickly failed after his son Solomon.
The kingdom split in two. The Northern Kingdom of Israel would fall to Assyria. A little later the Southern Kingdom of Judah would fall to Babylon. Thus, the heart of Psalmist cries out…
“Lord, where is your steadfast love of old, which by your faithfulness you swore to David?”
I do not know a single believer who’s heart has not made a similar cry a some point in their life (unless they’re really young). We, like the Psalmist, read God’s promises and compare them with what we actually experience in the world, and the world makes it seem like his Word has been broken and worst and failed at best!
The Psalmist doesn’t doubt that God is still in control… he doesn’t think God’s Word has failed. No. He feels like God himself has broken his Word. God has purposefully not kept his promises. God has cast off his anointed. God has rejected David’s line. God has defiled the crown.
This is why we struggle. Because amidst pain and suffering we still believe God is in control and cannot possibly fathom how his promises are still true amidst our experience. It seems like he is breaking his Word…how can he be a good, trustworthy God if this is the case.
Yet, even as the Psalmist cries out with his questions…his final word is one of trust and hope…
“Blessed be the LORD forever! Amen and Amen.”
No matter how things may look or feel, the Psalmist chooses to trust the Lord above his eyes and emotions…and we know that his hope is not misplaced.
God had not removed his steadfast love or faithfulness, nor had he broken his covenant. An offspring would come from David’s line who reigns now as king and will reign forevermore over the people of God… Jesus.
The Psalmist would never see this in his lifetime. It would be hundreds of years before the first advent of Christ and we still await his second and the kingdom coming in full.
Likewise, amidst all our pain and suffering in this life (which we’ve been told will come, John 16:33, 1 Peter 4:12) we may not see exactly how God’s Word has not been broken, but we look to his track-record and see his faithfulness shining through. He is a God that can be trusted and hoped in, even when it seems trust has been broken and hope has been lost.
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness!” (Lamentations 3:22-23)
*All previous devotionals may be found at www.thejoyofglory.com
*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.