Tuesday 19 June 2012

Bible Book:

I will not lie to David." (v. 35)

Psalm 89:19-37 Tuesday 19 June 2012


The middle section of this psalm focuses on David, thecelebrated king of ancient Israel. God speaks (verse 19), namingDavid as the chosen one, who is anointed and crowned king. Godpromises to be with David, to bless and protect him in times oftrouble. At this point, the psalm corresponds closely to theannouncement of God's promise to David given by the prophet Nathan(2Samuel 7).

David's blessings and power closely parallel the gifts and gracesof God that are described in the first part of the psalm (verses1-18). Thus David's authority over the waters echoes God'striumph over the waters of chaos (verses 9); and David's positionas the highest of the earthly kings (verses 27) mirrors God's asthe highest in heaven (verses 7). All that David is, he is becauseof God's choosing.

The unconditional nature of the relationship between God and Davidis built up by clear, persistent claims (verses 19-29), only to beinterrupted by one word, "if" (verse 30). Where does the "if" comefrom? At first glance it would seem totally unexpected. But this isforgetting that the Hebrew Scriptures are built around the covenantat Sinai (Exodus 20), which is deeply conditional, andsurrounded by the Torah or law, which the community of faith mustuphold (see verses 31-32; and Psalm119). The Torah offers a way of reflecting out to the worldGod's steadfast love and faithfulness.

David is a deeply ambiguous figure; his bravery and beauty iscelebrated but the biblical narrative also implies that his reignwas marked by envy, greed and violence. He frequently failed toenact justice and mercy towards either friends or enemies. In thepsalm, David also embodies his descendents, Solomon and the manykings who ruled the southern kingdom of Judah. Therefore thecovenant made with David extends to his descendents, who (likeDavid) are judged variously by the biblical writers. By the timethe psalm was written, the last independent king of Judah had beentaken into exile in 597 BC by the Babylonians, an event somebiblical writers consider to be a judgement on the failure of thekings to follow God's way of ruling. The psalm therefore expresseshope in a future restoration of the royal house of David, born of adeep memory of God's love for David, and a desire that justice andmercy will once again be reflected in the lives of the community offaith.

To Ponder

How do you seek to reflect or mirror God'squalities of love and justice in your life?

How has your faith been shaped by being part ofan ongoing community of faith? How much have your family andfriends played a part?

Have you ever made a promise to be faithful toanother person, community or place? How has that shaped youractions ever since? Or if you haven't, how do you think it mightshape your actions?

Previous Page Monday 18 June 2012
Next Page Wednesday 20 June 2012