Psalm 89 Commentary

Psalm 89 Commentary

“For what futility you have created all humanity!” Verse 47b. What is the point of life? The psalmist seems to be pondering this timeless question.

He has the facts of God’s unchanging promise to David on one hand; and the ugly realities of his day on the other hand. The troubles of the nation seem too prolonged to fit the error allowance for David’s sons. It appears to go on and on.

Of what use is a parachute that only comes out after the user has hit the ground? We need salvation now. We won’t enjoy it in the grave.

This psalm has several thoughts. The first section deals with God’s love, the history-long blessing on the nation, and the specifics of the blessing as it applied to David’s dynasty.

The LORD God promised David an everlasting dynasty. He doesn’t have problems with this. He also understands the conditions on which this promise hung. Israel was to experience temporal abandonment in the event they failed to keep the terms of the contract. But the abandonment wasn’t looking anything like temporal.

And if the abandonment lasts the entire life span of a generation, how can it be temporal? By this time, death will have shut down every hope of restoration for that generation.

The psalmist is toying with the concept that restoration needed to come in time, before the grave. But the New Testament saint knows better. Restorations did come at Calvary though it didn’t have the description and expectations of the psalmist.

The saint now knows he has experienced restoration by the new birth. They can bask in the victory that a restored community enjoys. The enemy is sin. The war must be won. Individual battlefronts of the desires of the flesh, drunkenness, sexual immorality, greediness, and hatred, among many others, must be won by the saint.

Then the saints can rejoice in God’s name all day long; they can celebrate His righteousness. They will have known that righteousness and justice are foundational elements of God’s throne. The rule of God will have come. This is everlasting. It is this dynasty that David’s imperfect model represented.

It is in the now as well as in the future. The LORD simply keeps shifting the gears of the ship. The psalmist looks back at everything and resigns in the praise of the LORD God. And so closes Book 3 of the psalms.

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Published by Joseph Malekani

Joseph Malekani is a born-again Christian with a strong PAOG/Baptist background. He is heavily involved in student ministry with ZAFES – an IFES movement with focus on student ministry in Zambia. He is married to Audrey and they have two lovely children.

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