Read: Psalm 89
Ethan the Ezrahite is mentioned only a couple of times in Hebrew scriptures. He was a man wise man, but not quite as wise as King Solomon, who “was wiser than anyone else, including Ethan the Ezrahite” (1 Kings 4:31). He also served as one of the leaders of temple music and was known as both a singer and a cymbal player. Psalm 89:1-37 was written by Ethan for use in worship services and was no doubt sung and known by many. So we see a song that was originally sung as a pronouncement of God’s steadfast love and faithfulness. God had promised to David that his throne would be “established forever” and that this would likewise signify that the nation of Israel would stand forever (2 Samuel 7). God had promised good things continually for his people, and he would not break his promise.
But then the Babylonian captivity came about. God’s people broke their end of the covenant by worshiping other gods, trusting in their own power and plans, and neglecting to worship Him. Part of the covenant to David was that “when he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men,” and this is what happens through the armies of Babylon. Psalm 89:38-48 mourns the loss, humiliation, and shame. The walls of Jerusalem are in ruins, they have been plundered, scorned, and carried away from their homeland. There is no longer a king from the line of David on the throne.
The Psalm closes in verses 49-52 asking for the Lord to remember his steadfast love that he swore to David. This doesn’t even seem possible at this point. We know the rest of the story, though. It is true that there never was another son of David on the throne in Jerusalem again. But the promised Messiah came and fulfilled God’s promise, even when his people failed to uphold their end. There is a sense of longing and hope in the close of this Psalm, especially one that ends with “blessed be the Lord forever!” We can trust in God’s steadfast and faithfulness to stay with us, even when we fail. Jesus has become the fulfillment of this promise to us. When we feel lost or estranged from the love of God, it is reassuring to know that he has promised to always love us and that we can stand sure that he keeps his promises.
- Have you ever felt “far away” from God and His love?
- Have you seen examples of God’s faithfulness to you? How has he stayed faithful regardless of your actions?
- Spend some time in your Missional Community following the pattern of this Psalm. First, begin with speaking the wonders of what God has done in the world and in your lives. Then declare together that God is faithful. Then confess to one another the times you have felt far way, distant, or lost from God’s promises. Finally, reassure one another that he is faithful and that he will be faithful.
Pray the Psalms
Read and pray through the Psalms this week. As you pray, reflect on the refrain for each Psalm written below. Conclude each Psalm with “Glory to the Father, to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and will be forever. Amen.”
- Psalm 89 – Truly the Lord is our shield.
- Psalm 118 – I will give thanks to you, God, for you are my salvation.
- Psalm 126 – The Lord indeed has done great things for us.
- Psalm 72 – The Lord is king; let the earth rejoice.
- Psalm 134 – Bless the Lord, O my soul.
- Psalm 140 – Keep me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked.
- Psalm 104 – I will sing to the Lord as long as I live.