Archive for March 12th, 2016

Psalm 89

Psalm 89 was written by Ethan, the Ezrahite, who along with Heman the Ezrahite (the author of the preceding Psalm, Psalm 88), was a wise man from the time of Solomon.  This psalm is written to teach us about a problem facing God’s people – that the line of David would be on the throne as God promised.  The Babylonians had defeated the Jewish army and taken their king captive.  The author is retelling the promises that were given to David back in 2 Samuel and recounting all that God had promised.

It begins with singing of God’s love.  “I will sing of the steadfast love of the Lord, forever; with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations”.  The knowledge of God’s love is something we have to teach our kids.  It is our job as parents and grandparents.  And part of that is to teach them God’s promises.  In this time, there was the covenant God had made with His servant David.  “I will establish your offspring forever, and build your throne for all generations”.  God had made a promise to keep David’s lineage on the throne as King of the Jews.

The psalmist reminds us that God is worthy of our praise.  “Let the heavens praise your wonders, O Lord, your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones”!  God is to be the subject of our adoration.  He has been faithful to the generations.  And He is the Creator and the Master of all things. “The heavens are yours; the earth also is yours; the world and all that is in it, you have founded them”.  God is in control.  He alone is on the throne of the universe.  And His throne is based on the very nature of who He is.  “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you”.

From that throne God blesses those who are His and who walk with Him.  “Blessed are the people who know the festal shout, who walk, O Lord, in the light of your face, who exult in your name all the day and in your righteousness are exaltedFor you are the glory of their strength”.  Walking with God is the key to receiving His blessing.  We need to be focused on Him and our relationship with Him.  “You are my Father, my God, and the Rock of my salvation”.  God alone is our daddy and the rock of our salvation and very lives.  We must cling to him.

That doesn’t mean we can do whatever we want though. If we fail to walk with Him, there is a consequence.  “If his children forsake my law and do not walk according to my rules, if they violate my statutes and do not keep my commandments, then I will punish their transgression with the rod and their iniquity with stripes”.  God doesn’t turn His head and ignore our sinfulness.  We will pay a price for not walking in His ways.  But that price never includes the cancellation of His covenant.  “I will not violate my covenant or alter the word that went forth from my lips”.  He is faithful to His word.  We must be careful to understand it and walk in it or there is a cost to our ignorance and disobedience!

Psalm 88

Psalm 88 is another for the sons of Korah.  The writer tells the story of a person who is struggling with life and is one of the saddest of psalms.  It seems like God is not listening when he prays.  He feels like he is already is Sheol – the place that the Jewish people believed folks went when they died.  He was live, but felt like he was dead.  He feels attacked and neglected by God.  Lots of expectations that God is not fulfilling.  Lots of hopes that seem to fall short.  But there is a lesson here for all of us when things aren’t going as we expect.

The writer is in distress, and rightfully takes that before God.  “O Lord, God of my salvation; I cry out day and night before you. Let my prayer come before you; incline your ear to my cry”!  Prayer is our best approach when life overwhelms us.  God is our only source of strength and comfort, so the psalmist is on the right path.  He is completely overwhelmed by the circumstances of life.  It happens to all of us at some point – we are consumed by the things happening in our patch.  “For my soul is full of troubles, and my life draws near to Sheol”.

The psalmist feels helpless.  And he feels that God has done this too him.  “I am counted among those who go down to the pit; I am a man who has no strength, like one set loose among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, like those whom you remember no more, for they are cut off from your hand”.  It’s desperate times and the writer accuses God of making his life miserable:

  • You have put me in the depths of the pit
  • Your wrath lies heavy upon me
  • you overwhelm me with all your waves
  • You have caused my companions to shun me
  • you have made me a horror to them

In the writer’s eyes, the situation is God’s doing.  He has a direct interaction with God accusing him of making life miserable.  But then comes the big lesson.

Every day I call upon you, O Lord; I spread out my hands to you…. But I, O Lord, cry to you; in the morning my prayer comes before you”.  Here’s the example – the what we need to do when everything seems overwhelming.  We need to run to God.  The psalmist is frustrated with life and blaming God for his circumstances.  But even in the midst of that grief and anger, the writer knows that God is the answer to his situation.  He has all kinds of questions for God, but the important thing to learn here is that he didn’t run from God, he ran too God.  God is the only source of strength and comfort.  When things get bad, we need to pray and run toward God.  He’ll meet us!

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