Psalm 89 — Hope is stronger than we know — Reading the Psalms


Maschil of Ethan the Ezrahite.

1 I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever:
With my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations.
2 For I have said, Mercy shall be built up for ever;
Thy faithfulness shalt thou establish in the very heavens.
3 I have made a covenant with my chosen,
I have sworn unto David my servant;
4 Thy seed will I establish for ever,
And build up thy throne to all generations.     Selah

5 And the heavens shall praise thy wonders, O LORD;
Thy faithfulness also in the assembly of the holy ones.
6 For who in the skies can be compared unto the LORD?
Who among the sons of the mighty is like unto the LORD,
7 A God very terrible in the council of the holy ones,
And to be feared above all them that are round about him?
8 O LORD God of hosts,
Who is a mighty one, like unto thee, O jah?
And thy faithfulness is round about thee.
9 Thou rulest the pride of the sea:
When the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them.
10 Thou hast broken Rahab in pieces, as one that is slain;
Thou hast scattered thine enemies with the arm of thy strength.
11 The heavens are thine, the earth also is thine:
The world and the fulness thereof, thou hast founded them.
12 The north and the south, thou hast created them:
Tabor and Hermon rejoice in thy name.
13 Thou hast a mighty arm:
Strong is thy hand, and high is thy right hand.
14 Righteousness and judgement are the foundation of thy throne:
Mercy and truth go before thy face.
15 Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound:
They walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance.
16 In thy name do they rejoice all the day:
And in thy righteousness are they exalted.
17 For thou art the glory of their strength:
And in thy favour our horn shall be exalted.
18 For our shield belongeth unto the LORD;
And our king to the Holy One of Israel.
19 Then thou spakest in vision to thy saints,
And saidst, I have laid help upon one that is mighty;
I have exalted one chosen out of the people.
20 I have found David my servant;
With my holy oil have I anointed him:
21 With whom my hand shall be established;
Mine arm also shall strengthen him.
22 The enemy shall not exact upon him;
Nor the son of wickedness afflict him.
23 And I will beat down his adversaries before him,
And smite them that hate him.
24 But my faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him;
And in my name shall his horn be exalted.
25 I will set his hand also on the sea,
And his right hand on the rivers.
26 He shall cry unto me, Thou art my father,
My God, and the rock of my salvation.
27 I also will make him my firstborn,
The highest of the kings of the earth.
28 My mercy will I keep for him for evermore,
And my covenant shall stand fast with him.
29 His seed also will I make to endure for ever,
And his throne as the days of heaven.
30 If his children forsake my law,
And walk not in my judgements;
31 If they break my statutes,
And keep not my commandments;
32 Then will I visit their transgression with the rod,
And their iniquity with stripes.
33 But my mercy will I not utterly take from him,
Nor suffer my faithfulness to fail.
34 My covenant will I not break,
Nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.
35 Once have I sworn by my holiness;
I will not lie unto David;
36 His seed shall endure for ever,
And his throne as the sun before me.
37 It shall be established for ever as the moon,
And as the faithful witness in the sky.     Selah

38 But thou hast cast off and rejected,
Thou hast been wroth with thine anointed.
39 Thou hast abhorred the covenant of thy servant:
Thou hast profaned his crown even to the ground.
40 Thou hast broken down all his hedges;
Thou hast brought his strong holds to rain.
41 All that pass by the way spoil him:
He is become a reproach to his neighbours.
42 Thou hast exalted the right hand of his adversaries;
Thou hast made all his enemies to rejoice.
43 Yea, thou turnest back the edge his sword,
And hast not made him to stand in the battle.
44 Thou hast made his brightness to cease,
And cast his throne down to the ground.
45 The days of his youth hast thou shortened:
Thou hast covered him with shame.     Selah

46 How long, O LORD, wilt thou hid thyself for ever?
How long shall thy wrath burn like fire?
47 O remember how short my time is:
For what vanity hast thou created all the children of men!
48 What man is he that shall live and not see death,
That shall deliver his soul from the power of Sheol?     Selah
49 Lord, where are thy former mercies,
Which thou swarest unto David in thy faithfulness?
50 Remember, Lord, the reproach of thy servants;
How I do bear in my bosom the reproach of all the mighty peoples:
51 Wherewith thine enemies have reproached, O LORD,
Wherewith they have reproached the footsteps of thine anointed.
52 Blessed be the LORD for evermore.
Amen, and Amen.

Do you remember the surmounting sorrow of the previous psalm? Can you throw your mind and heart back to the voice of one crying, confident in his God, and yet without words of hope? The great mystery of psalm 88 is: How can the author remain so confident in Jehova without a word of hope? With psalm 90 we hear the confidence of God’s power create hope.

One might think this psalm is simply words of worship and adoration of a great God. Not until we near the end do we realize the words grow from deep seated concern and need. The author, and all the nation, are cast off and rejected. Their protective hedges are broken down. Formerly lifted up, it is now the adversary who is exalted. “How long, O Lord, wilt thou hide thyself for ever?”

Yet, Jehovah God will have his mercies sung by the author – by me, and hopefully by oyuu. Reread the first two thirds of the psalm and see the great power and authority of our Lord and Creator – Savior and Defender. “Who is a mighty one, like unto thee, o Jah?” This is where we find our confidence and create hope. Hopoe does not reveal its strength until all else is destroyed. In that moment its great power, its ability to withstand every existential anxiety, is revealed.

Hope is found in God. It is found in God’s word, law and stories. Let us praise the Lord before, during and after every calamity we see.


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