Not Just a Name

In Psalm 97 David continues the regnal theme, beginning once more with the emphatic exultation, “The LORD reigns,” but rather than appealing to the Israelites to announce this to the nations against the futility of their paganism, the whole earth now has reason to rejoice in recognizing the LORD’s reign (Psa. 97:1). Building on the imagery of Sinai as did the Song of Deborah (Ex. 19:16-18; Jdg. 5:4-5), he declares the LORD’s righteous judgment, sure victory, and powerful presence (Psa. 97:2-5).  However, this declaration from above shines forth to all (Psa. 97:6) with such force that it offers evidence to pagan idolaters of their error and provides impetus for the angelic throng to worship (Psa. 97:7). Israel also responds to the LORD’s will (Psa. 97:8) in recognition of His exaltation (Psa. 97:9). Thus having established His worthiness to reign and the expanse of His kingdom in a reign built on righteousness, he turns his attention to the subjects of the kingdom. Describing them in essence by their love for the LORD, he follows with an unexpected contrast: “hate evil!” (Psa. 97:10). The powerful contrast of love and hate adds immediate strength to other implied contrasts between the LORD and evil. However, the exhortation of responsibility holds manifold blessings as well, because the LORD will then deliver and preserve His people (Psa. 97:10). Therefore, the righteous and upright have reason to hope (Psa. 97:11), reasons to rejoice, and reasons to give thanks when they recall what the LORD has done (Psa. 97:12).

Taken generically, all of this sounds pleasing to the godly ear, but the placement of the psalm and the nuances of the text offer far more than general encouragement, and this becomes clear upon considering Hebrews 1:6, “But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: ‘Let all the angels of God worship Him’” (Heb. 1:6), a quotation of Psalm 97:7 identifying without question the “gods” as angels and the “Him” as Jesus Himself. Therefore, just as the previous psalm anticipated the crowning of Jesus as King, so also does Psalm 97 anticipate the time when the Son of God would reign. This, then, formed the foundation of the psalm’s promised blessings, of the reason to hope, rejoice, and give thanks. Jesus’ incarnation and sacrifice offered exactly what the world needed, Jew and Gentile alike (Rom. 3:23). Thus, the deliverance and preservation He made possible transcend this life and extend into eternity. The message announced with the imagery of the Old Covenant is the New Covenant which supplanted it, a covenant for Jew and Gentile alike. Most of all, the One who came, the One who reigns, the One who saves, and the One worthy of angelic worship is none other than Yahweh Himself. Encased in a simple psalm extolling the virtues and majesty of the one true God, the Holy Spirit placed the seed to demonstrate the deity of the Son of God. While the subtleties of the text kept the full meaning dormant for centuries, the simple reality of Jesus and the gospel proves not only the beauty of the Davidic hope but its true force as well.

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The Glory Due His Name

During the early portion of David’s reign, he wanted to bring the ark of the covenant, and therefore Israel’s tabernacle worship, to Jerusalem. While originally unsuccessful due to the improper manner of transportation, eventually David saw his dream realized, and the priests placed the ark in the most holy place of the tabernacle on one of the hills of Jerusalem near David’s own dwelling. This proximity likely appealed to David, as one who enjoyed worshipping the LORD. However, as the beautiful expression he penned in Psalm 96 demonstrates, this united proximity of the throne of David and the worship of God provided the context for an appreciation for the Kingship of God that Israel consistently failed to accept and that promised even greater things for the future.

The new location of the ark created new possibilities for Israel, and yet it was important to see them spiritually. Indeed, freshness of spirit, a recognition of the covenant relationship God has made possible, and an understanding of His universal worthiness ought to motivate our worship at any time (Psa. 96:1). Thus motivated, worship becomes an opportunity to declare what God has done with a heart of thankfulness that extends beyond the moment to affect the heart daily (Psa. 96:2). Worship should change us, but it can only do so when we change how we worship. Any true conviction concerning God’s greatness cannot simply dwell within but swells up within until nothing can contain it, simply from reflecting on all that God has done and responding to Him in accordance with His will (Psa. 96:3). This is no emotional hype because our dedication and devotion to and our reverence for our God rest not on a blind faith nor on an unintellectual hope. It finds ground in the reality of His being, the truth of His character, and the power of His essence (Psa. 96:4). Therefore, our God is no crutch rooted in the imagination of the desperate; He is the Creator of the universe upon whom all depend, whether they realize it or not (Psa. 96:5). He reigns as divine royalty, with all the accompanying honors; more than that, He combines the leadership of a general and the splendor of a king while ruling on a throne that sits within a temple dedicated to His honor (Psa. 96:6). The LORD, thus enthroned, deserves all that His creation has to give, a recognition of all that He has done and can do that leads us to offer our obeisance, our allegiance, and our all as we enter His presence to worship (Psa. 96:7-8). Therefore, we must prepare ourselves for His presence accordingly, dressing ourselves in the robes of holiness as we humbly approach His throne (Psa. 96:9). Then, knowing the LORD, His character, and His will bring forth a confidence in the future that nothing else can approach. The simple knowledge that “The LORD reigns” is sufficient to know that, whatever else may happen upon this earth, righteousness will prevail (Psa. 96:10). This makes joy, gladness, and confidence in life possible, regardless of anything else that might occur (Psa. 96:11-12). The LORD had a plan, a plan to come forth from the abode of His sanctuary to establish His reign unmistakably and thus to rule within righteousness accordingly to the standard of truth (Psa. 96:13).

When David brought the throne of mercy near to his own throne, he never realized the ultimate end God had in mind. But when Jesus came to earth to fulfill the Messianic mission, He, as the standard bearer for the throne of David, established His reign in a kingdom not of this earth (Matt. 16:18-19; John 18:36) by being raised from the dead—not only to rule as the rightful heir of David, but to do so from the throne of mercy existing in heaven itself (Heb. 1:8-9; 9:24-28). How truly worthy God is of our worship, of our devotion, and of our lives! In all that we do, may we ever remember “the glory due His name”!

Losing Focus

A few years ago, when traveling in the northeast for a lectureship in New Hampshire and a gospel meeting in Maryland, my family and I took a detour into a rural area of Pennsylvania outside of Scranton to hike through Ricketts Glenn and see the numerous waterfalls there. Hiking to waterfalls and photographing them has become my favorite hobby in recent years, and I had anticipated this opportunity since originally penciling it into the itinerary. However, earlier that year, a sign of middle age caught up to me and required that I get glasses. (I since have moved on to contact lenses.) Navigating the hike with trifocals proved far more harrowing than I would have imagined, but I ran into a bigger problem that I only realized after it was too late. I had failed to adjust the focus on my camera for wearing a prescription. Despite requiring only a minor correction, this meant that all of my photographs were slightly out of focus unless I relied on the SLR camera’s autofocus feature. Unfortunately, when I tried to check it, I had trouble seeing it properly through my lenses. While this proved a minor annoyance for my recreational memory, it illustrates a far more serious problem many people have in life. Their focus is completely out of focus, and they do not even realize it.

In Psalm 95, quoted in part by the writer of Hebrews, David enjoined everyone to make the LORD the focus of their lives. However, it is not enough to feel like you are focusing on God; your life must reflect that focus through the lens of scripture. As David points out, we should focus on the LORD in life because He is the source of true joy (Psa. 95:1-2), and this focus should come through in our worship and praise—not only in giving our hearts fully over to Him in that moment, but in worshiping in a manner that fully reflects our respect, reverence, and awe for His authority. When we focus on pleasing God and honoring Him, we have found where joy is truly sustainable and not fleeting. But more than that, we should place our focus on the LORD because of His inherent greatness. God created the universe and sustains it, and therefore He owns it. And that includes us (Psa. 95:3-5). Such grandeur and glory deserves all of our attention every minute of every day. Sadly, we often expect God to accept with gratitude the meager leftovers of our time and attention instead of the dedication and deliberation He is due by right of who He is. The LORD should be our focus in life because He alone is worthy of worship (Psa. 95:6-7). We need Him; He does not need us. And yet, do our lives reflect this understanding in the details of our submission to His will? Or do we complain about His precepts and try to insert our own desires willfully into the Scriptures to excuse our own desires? Our focus, our all in life, must be on the LORD, for He alone can deliver us. The Israelites who saw the ten plagues and left Egypt by crossing the Red Sea had every reason for joy but focused only on their hardships. As a result, they hardened their hearts toward God, and God did not allow them to enter the Promised Land (Psa. 95:8-11). Many today do the same. They expect God not only to have provided deliverance but also to remove any requirements of obedience in the process (Jas. 2:24; Acts 2:38; Heb. 5:8-9). Rather than focusing on the salvation He made possible, they somehow take it for granted and therefore actually neglect the pathway provided by God. Many people are going to be lost on Judgment Day (Matt. 7:13-14). Yet, it will not be because they lacked opportunity or even knowledge. It will be because they lost focus.

Waiting

Waiting. It does not matter whether you experience it sitting at the doctor’s office, standing in line buying groceries, or doing a little of both at the local DMV; waiting can prove quite trying. Waiting presents numerous difficulties for people bound by time because it highlights various uncertainties that characterize our existence upon the earth. Most uncertainties create discomfort because they simply reflect and amplify how much lies outside of our personal control. This actually lies behind the human desire to impose explanations for events beyond what the evidence (or reason) indicates. Conspiracy theories exist to comfort our human uncertainty, providing an explanation when none other is readily available. Sadly, this often leads people to attempt to superimpose some human control or blame over events (such as various natural disasters) where none exists. In similar fashion, the uncertainty inherent in waiting challenges man in another way. It forces each of us to accept that we cannot control everything, nor should we try. Instead, we should remember and live according to the One who is actually in control.

The whole of Psalm 94 revolves around this very theme: waiting. And yet, in typical poetic fashion, the psalmist walks the reader through the challenges present with having to wait to the climax of faith that the godly should both learn and employ while waiting. Nevertheless, the message of the psalm does not lie simply in an exhortation to wait, but in how to do so in a manner harmonious with faith. Therefore, do not simply wait, but wait calmly. Wait calmly for God to establish His justice rather than indignantly inflicting your own (Psa. 94:1). We have no right to judge others by our own standards. Instead, we must calmly wait for God to punish in accordance with his own (Psa. 94:2). We must also learn to wait patiently, judging success not by the trouble of the moment but by the certainty of eternity (Psa. 94:3). This further demands that we evaluate the wicked not by the mirage of power they have in the moment but by their insolence and ignorance (Psa. 94:4-7) because God knows best, and that includes knowing the best timing, including for judgment (Psa. 94:8-9). Fulfilling these things requires that we also wait humbly rather than haughtily making demands, both on others and on God. In every situation, no matter how negative, we should humbly look for what we can learn instead of seeking only to reinforce what we think we already know (Psa. 94:10-11). While it takes discipline, humility can help us see the blessings involved even in adversity, an essential trait for maturity (Psa. 94:12-13). Therefore, learn to think in terms of God’s character and your personal responsibility (Psa. 94:14-15). Nevertheless, when we approach waiting in faith, we can cast aside some of the uncertainty and wait confidently because of what God has promised. We can have confidence in His protection when seen from the right point of view (Psa. 94:16; Psa. 16:1), confidence in His help to provide the aid we need through life (Psa. 94:17), and confidence in His mercy through the trials we face (Psa. 94:18). Thus, our confidence does not derive from some promise of invincibility but from a relationship with the One in control of eternity. For this reason, we should always wait faithfully for God. When we trust His ability to handle our problems, we need not worry (Psa. 94:19; Phil. 4:6-7). When we trust God’s character, knowing He will do what is right and best for us, we remove doubt and uncertainty from the big picture of life and replace it with faith (Psa. 94:20-21). When we trust God’s will, we no longer feel an obligation to enforce our own on others (Psa. 94:22-23). God can take care of it.

Waiting reveals much about our relationship with God. It can reveal our trust or expose our doubt. It can demonstrate our maturity or prove how much growth is still needed. Waiting does not get easier with time; it gets easier with faith.

The Noise of Many Waters

The catastrophic destruction left behind in the wake of Hurricane Harvey’s wrath has provoked a renewed appreciation for the force of wind, the power of the ocean, and the accumulative effects of rain. However, the profound revelation of the hearts of people reaching out to help those in need has proven wonderful medicine for a heartsick society. The same people that ignored each other at Walmart a week earlier, the same people that had nothing to say to each other not long ago, found unity and strength together in the midst of tragedy. More than that, this historic storm has provoked Christian hearts to action, to reach out in love to their fellow man and to bind congregations together in bearing the burden of feeding and housing those in need, cleaning and repairing those areas hardest hit, and giving to relieve the burden on those most affected. As noted in Psalm 93, all this is completely appropriate for a people who know the LORD.

The LORD created this world and still reigns over it. Every aspect of creation declares this still. Indeed, creation acts as evidence of His grandeur and His rule. The power and beauty of creation are far more glorious than the ornamentation of Versailles or the throne room of Buckingham Palace. By these things the LORD wears a robe of majesty that shows the power of His rule by the unmoving, unyielding nature of creation itself (Psa. 93:1). Indeed, despite how nature’s destructive forces can wreak havoc on the works of men, they do nothing but confirm the power of God as His creation goes on, seemingly unaffected by the worst that man can handle. In this there is confirmation once more to confess to God, “Your throne is established from of old; You are from everlasting” (Psa. 93:2). Therefore, no matter what may happen upon this earth, no matter how great the destruction or how great the tragedy, our God still reigns. He is still our King! As such, every word He has spoken is proven true and worth our attention. He is distinct and holy in every way, and everything shows it. He is Yahweh, the One who is and must be, the One who is there for us (Psa. 93:5).

This remains true in the midst of hardship and tragedy as much as it does in times of goodness and plenty. When destruction, famine, or pestilence strike, when disease or misfortune fall upon you, you have a God who is there for you, who cares for you, and who reigns over you and all that you face. The psalmist knew this; he saw it; he felt it. And his words reveal the heart that we ought to share. “The floods have lifted up, O LORD, The floods have lifted up their voice; The floods lift up their waves. The LORD on high is mightier Than the noise of many waters, Than the mighty waves of the sea” (Psa. 93:3-4). And let all the church say, “Amen!”

The Depths of Triumph

When Moses ascended Mount Sinai and originally received the Law from the LORD, he heard, for the first time, the Decalogue, the Ten Commandments, which God established as the foundation for Israelite society. Among the precepts instituted in the wilderness that day, the requirement to “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Ex. 20:8) would later generate great controversy throughout the life of Jesus as the first century Pharisees’ interpretation of the requirement (long ignored throughout Jewish history) took on an extensively regulated meaning. However, while we ourselves recognize the reality of rest that the LORD instituted as part of that law (Ex. 20:9-11), as did the Pharisees, we often fail to appreciate its essential character of holiness, which the Pharisees also missed. The title applied to the ninety-second psalm, “A Song for the Sabbath day,” deserves consideration. The LORD did not give the Sabbath merely for physical rest but also for spiritual renewal, as this psalm also implies. More than that, its thematic emphasis on the character of God Himself illustrates well the actual purpose underlying the original command to keep the Sabbath holy. It should have been a day distinctly spent in dedication to the LORD, thinking about Him and all that He had done. Therefore, while Christians follow the gospel rather than the Law, and therefore have no responsibility to keep the Sabbath (Col. 2:14-15), the holy aspect of its purpose should endure as God’s people today reflect regularly on the glory of their God and why He is worthy of their worship.

Remembering God and all that He has done is not just commanded; it is good. It is good morally, certainly, but it is good for us. Giving thanks to God helps us remember how blessed we are, and praising Him in song thrills the soul and unites our hearts (Psa. 92:1). Indeed, we ought to fill our days with declarations of His care and attention (Psa. 92:2-3). It may seem silly to some, overly demonstrative to others, but stopping the hustle and bustle of daily life to consider what God has done—instead of always concentrating on what we must do—is one of the healthiest activities you will ever undertake. God has done far more for us than we could ever do for ourselves—and not just in providing salvation (Psa. 92:4). Reflecting on the thoughts He provides through His Word provokes us to grow and deepen our understanding of ourselves, of others, of our purpose, and of Him (Psa. 92:5-6). By meditating on His Word, we gain perspective amidst tribulation, knowing that the wickedness of the moment will one day pass and be destroyed but that the LORD reigns eternally (Psa. 92:7-9). Seeing life in terms of God’s blessings keeps us humble, knowing that whatever we achieve, we did so because of what God made possible (Psa. 92:10-11). In this there is no false humility but only confidence rooted in faith, that following God and doing His will leads to blessings and success because we understand success in terms of blessings and our achievements as a testimony to the glory of our God (Psa. 92:12-13). This will sustain us in life and bring comfort without end (Psa. 92:14), because no matter what else happens, we have the LORD as our standard, as our defense, and as our King, and He will never lead us astray (Psa. 92:15).

To some, these thoughts seem as mere platitudes for the weak, but in a faithless age, they increasingly require great courage to maintain. Many wish to eliminate God from public conversation because these thoughts make them uncomfortable. And they are uncomfortable because they themselves stopped thinking about God. Sadly, many Christians’ faith is failing them, and it could so easily be prevented if they would take the time to stop, reflect on God, and meditate on His Word. The godless negativity of the world may seem like the dominant voice in society today, but you do not have to listen to it. So just stop and, instead, take the time to spend with God and His Word.

Refuge in Life

In God We Trust. The national motto of the United States of America rings hollow today considering the rampant march toward immorality perpetrated by her government. And yet this hypocrisy demonstrates, by its irony, the importance of real trust. Throughout the Bible, trust always serves as the central characteristic of a strong relationship with God. Broken trust severs that relationship. Hollow trust ignores it. Binding trust restores it. But perfect trust established it. The beautiful prophecy of the Messianic Psalm 91 illustrates this latter fact perfectly. The wording of the pronouns throughout this psalm make it difficult to establish the extent of the application intended. However, it would appear that the inspired anonymous psalmist (perhaps Moses in a sequel to Psalm 90) developed the theme of personal trust in the LORD (Heb. 11:6) that Satan applied to Jesus directly in the process of temptation (Matt. 4:6) and that Jesus fulfilled perfectly in overcoming all temptation (Heb. 4:15).

Although many pay lip service to the essentiality of faith toward God, here the psalmist establishes that God Himself must be the epicenter of our trust. And yet this is no mere passive belief in a Creator but a meaningful and personal trust based upon a deep understanding and appreciation for who God is—the Most High, who transcends His creation; the Almighty, who governs His creation; My God, who has the power to help His creation; and the LORD—Yahweh—who, in offering a covenant relationship, is always there for His creation (Psa. 91:1-2). This is the substance of trust, and living by faith is its manifestation (2 Cor. 5:7). However, contrary to modern applications that equate faith with wish fulfillment, trusting God is a direct response to what God Himself has offered us. As the psalmist develops His theme, he offers three examples of what God has spoken that both require and deserve our trust. He has given us truth by which w can build spiritual knowledge as a foundation for life (Psa. 91:3-4; John 17:17). He has offered His protection for His people in day to day care so that we need not live life in fear (Psa. 91:5-8). This does not relieve us of responsibility or keep us from all pain and discomfort in life, as Jesus Himself saw and experienced, but it reminds us of God’s presence and care even during the trials that go with the nature of this life (Heb. 13:5-6). Third, God has made us precious promises, especially in regard to His providence (Psa. 91:9-13). This is not magical safety net against harm, but it surely demonstrates that God can operate within nature by angelic means to turn events as He wishes for the benefit of His people. In the final section of this beautiful poem (Psa. 91:14-16), the inspired writer offers God’s own response to faith that trusts Him completely: a listening ear, promised presence, deliverance and victory, and blessing and salvation in life. He promises a great future.

Jesus, as even Satan recognized, lived by this kind of trust. He died still holding fast to this kind of trust. And God rewarded Him for having this kind of trust. And the beauty of what Jesus accomplished by doing so is that we who trust Him and what He did can enjoy the same reward (John 14:1-6).

Number Your Days

In our youth we tend to anticipate the future with a sense of certainty that only the naive can possess. As we mature into adulthood, we embrace the challenges before us with fresh eyes and ready energy, but with no experience and little understanding of what lies ahead. Mid-life comes faster upon us than we could ever have expected. The constant drone of responsibility and necessity drown out the earlier thrill of ambition and replace it with the burden of history and reality. As age advances, difficulties of daily living create new challenges, so that as experience, knowledge, and time combine to create wisdom, perspective toward life grows ever more reflective and spiritual. Such we notice in the words of Moses in the prayer recorded for our benefit as Psalm 90.

Perspective about life begins with the realization of just how much man needs God. He provides the place of safety most needed by every soul for all time (Psa. 90:1). While man remains limited, frail, and bound by time, God transcends all of these to provide everything man requires (Psa. 90:2). Indeed, man only gains perspective by contemplating his ultimate demise (Psa. 90:3), all the while remembering that while men pass through life, God’s existence stands above life itself (Psa. 90:4). Generations rise and fall, but God is there through them all (Psa. 90:5-6). Therefore, the perspective man most needs lies in his recognition that God, standing outside of time and above mankind, will also judge every man (Psa. 90:7) for all our sins, whether hidden or advertised (Psa. 90:8). Despite all man’s bluster, everything we do will be judged by God; therefore, we have nothing to boast of in this life but should humbly live realizing what awaits us in the end (Psa. 90:9). This changes how we see life immensely. Whatever time we have upon the earth, it is short and filled with responsibility (Psa. 90:10) because all that we do will be judged by God. Indeed, death itself should be a constant reminder of that reality (Psa. 90:11). This is why we should spend our days focusing on pleasing God and building that perspective in preparation for eternity (Psa. 90:12). However, along with this, God offers yet another layer to the perspective man should have toward life. God cares for man and wants to help (Psa. 90:13). What a comfort this should be for all of life! He will indeed judge us, but He offers His mercy in the meanwhile to give life joy and meaning (Psa. 90:14). In the difficulties we face upon this earth, which He allows, He also promises to be with us and aid us (Psa. 90:15-16). This final promise, this reality built upon God’s character, offers hope in life and beyond, for God loves to bless and longs to help. He will provide what we need to overcome adversity in life, address the challenges of the world, and prepare for the judgment as we enter eternity (Psa. 90:17).

This is a great God, and serving Him, we can also have a great life. When placed in the context of Moses’ own life and service, finally learning to serve at the age of eighty and getting to view Canaan, his life’s work, shortly before his death, the prayer he offers here can surely motivate us to build a future with God, share our heartaches with God, and thus prepare for an eternity with God.

Concern about the Covenant

The LORD’s promise to David in 2 Samuel 7, with all its dynastic implications, dominated Israel’s interpretation of their status and their understanding of the future of the kingdom, for there it records the LORD’s commitment to the king, “When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men” (2 Sam. 7:12-14). In this they rightly discerned the promise of an enduring dynasty built on a unique relationship; however, like their interpretation of the seed promise, they focused so much on the physical that the spiritual import of the promise escaped them. Therefore, when a descendant of Ethan the Ezrahite penned Psalm 89, he struggled to comprehend the meaning of this promise of an eternal throne (Psa. 89:1-37) with the events in Israel’s history that led to the seeming end of dynastic rule (Psa. 89:38-52). And yet, through it all, confidence in the faithfulness of God reigns supreme. An answer and resolution to the quandary existed. Of that the psalmist had no doubt. However, we have the benefit of reading the psalm from hindsight, but in doing so, we can see the beauty of God’s faithfulness as it unfolded in Israel’s history to extend even to us.

The LORD made a covenant with David on that day, and the faithfulness of God Himself secured it (Psa. 89:1-4). From the beginning, God had cared for His people and provided for their well-being, thus His record of faithfulness deserves praise and should build confidence (Psa. 89:5-7). Through His might He delivered Israel when no one else could, parting the Red Sea and defeating the might of Egypt, ultimately leading Israel to the promised land in proof of His character (Psa. 89:8-14). Throughout their early days, the LORD consistently rose to protect Israel when they called out to Him (Psa. 89:15-18). Amidst the failures of Saul, the LORD selected David as the new monarch to lead his people, having him anointed on the basis of his character and promising to be with him because of the relationship they shared (Psa. 89:19-23). He would prove victorious and rise in power because God made it possible (Psa. 89:24-27). And then came the moment of the covenant—those enduring words spoken provoking hope of an eternal reign (Psa. 89:28-29). Even if David’s sons should fail to follow in their father’s footsteps, the LORD’s covenant would remain firm (Psa. 89:30-37). Therefore, when the LORD’s wrath against Judah boiled over, sending them into Babylonian captivity (Psa. 89:38), Israel, who had relied on the covenant with pride, assuming it protected them from such a fate, had trouble reconciling the LORD’s promise to David with the capture of their king and the destruction of his capital (Psa. 89:39-40). Rather than the envy of nations, they had become a reproach (Psa. 89:41). Instead of protecting them from their enemies, the LORD had supported the cause against them (Psa. 89:42-43). Thus, despite the covenant with David, God Himself had brought that dynasty to its knees in punishment for their transgressions (Psa. 89:44-45). However, knowing the nature of divine faithfulness, the psalmist asks, “How long, LORD?” with confidence that their punishment was temporary and the promise endured (Psa. 89:46). The psalmist’s expressed uncertainty focused on his concern on whether he would live to see the LORD’s wrath subside and evidence of that covenant renewed (Psa. 89:47-51). Regardless, the covenant would endure, and for this the psalmist could confidently declare, “Blessed be the LORD forevermore! Amen and Amen” (Psa. 89:52). Whether he lived to see the end of captivity, we do not know, but his confidence in the covenant was well-placed, because the seed of David does indeed now sit on an exalted throne, and His name is Jesus (Col. 3:1-2).

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