Wednesday 20 June 2012

Bible Book:

which by your faithfulness you swore to David?" (v. 49)

Psalm 89:38-52 Wednesday 20 June 2012


The introductory words of this final section of the psalmindicate a dramatic shift as the psalmist turns away from the glorydays of God's choosing of David to the grim reality of the present."But now" (verse 38) nothing is how it should be, laments thepsalmist. God appears to have reneged on the promises made toDavid. Imitating the style of the earlier description of God'screating acts (verses 10-15), in short, sharp statements thepsalm lists God's destructive actions: the renouncing, breaking,ruining, and shaming of the one chosen (verses 38-45). Piece bypiece, the symbols of his reign are pulled away from the onceforever king.

Given that up until this point, the psalm has been concerned todemonstrate the lasting quality of the relationship between God andthe descendants of David, these verses comes as something of ashock. In the same breath, the psalmist accuses God of renouncingthe covenant with David, while denying that even God has theauthority to do this (verse 49).

In this section of the psalm, David is referred to as God'sanointed and servant (verses 38-39 and 50-51; see also verse20). These titles depict a close and special relationship, andlink the psalm to many other texts within the Bible, which offerthe possibility that the community of faith may at some pointbecome the recipients of the promises made first to David, takingon the accompanying roles and responsibilities.

Psalm 89 ends where it began, with God's steadfast love andfaithfulness (verses 1, 49). Unlike the earlier commitment topraise God's qualities (verse2), however, here such love and commitment are present only bytheir absence. Nevertheless, the psalmist stubbornly refuses tocease praising God. Perhaps singing of enduring love and faithfuljustice, will call them out from the heavens to appear once againon earth.

To Ponder

How does the psalm take you from praise to lamentand on to blessing?

What events in your life or in the life of theworld have led you to question God's care and commitment?

To what extent can speaking or singing can bringsomething about / create change?

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