Psalm 89

The Psalms

Psalm 89
God and His promised plans

Psalms index

Psalm 89:1-2, 3-4, 5-18, 52

(Pease read the rest of Psalm 89 in your Bible.)

1 A maskil of Ethan the Ezrahite.

I will sing of the LORD’s great love for ever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations. 2 I will declare that your love stands firm for ever, that you established your faithfulness in heaven itself.

3 You said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one, I have sworn to David my servant, 4 ‘I will establish your line for ever and make your throne firm through all generations.’” Selah

5 The heavens praise your wonders, O LORD, your faithfulness too, in the assembly of the holy ones.

6 For who in the skies above can compare with the LORD? Who is like the LORD among the heavenly beings? 7 In the council of the holy ones God is greatly feared; he is more awesome than all who surround him. 8 O LORD God Almighty, who is like you? You are mighty, O LORD, and your faithfulness surrounds you. 9 You rule over the surging sea; when its waves mount up, you still them. 10 You crushed Rahab like one of the slain; with your strong arm you scattered your enemies. 11 The heavens are yours, and yours also the earth; you founded the world and all that is in it. 12 You created the north and the south; Tabor and Hermon sing for joy at your name. 13 Your arm is endued with power; your hand is strong, your right hand exalted. 14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you. 15 Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O LORD. 16 They rejoice in your name all day long; they exult in your righteousness. 17 For you are their glory and strength, and by your favour you exalt our horn. 18 Indeed, our shield belongs to the LORD, our king to the Holy One of Israel.

52 Praise be to the LORD for ever! Amen and Amen.

Read the Psalm online here.


Psalm 89 – God and His promised plans

This summary of Psalm 89 (52 verses) tells how God keeps His covenant with David (verses 1-4), how He is worthy of praise (verses 5-18), and how God’s covenant with David brings blessing (verses 19-37). Then Ethan, the writer, complains that God seems to have broken His covenant promises and let down David and Israel. He even doubts if God is faithful (verses 38-51). Despite complaints and questions, Ethan ends by praising ‘the LORD forever’. Always praise God, even if your faith wobbles (verse 52).

Consider the following descriptions of God summarised from verses 1-2, 3-4, 5-18, 19-37 (which is not in the Bible reading) and 52:

(Verses 1-2) ‘The LORD’s great love [is] forever’

He is faithful

(Verses 3-4) God makes and keeps covenants

His kingly throne is firm and everlasting

(Verses 5-18) God made Heaven’s wonder.

  • He is to be greatly feared (He is awesome)
  • He is divinely unique
  • He is mighty
  • He rules over nature
  • He defeats His people’s enemies
  • He founded the world as Creator
  • He is powerful
  • He is exalted
  • He is righteous (or ‘just’)
  • His presence gives light
  • He is glorious

(Verses 19-37) God speaks to people

  • He finds, anoints, sustains and strengthens His servants
  • He hears those who call on Him
  • He will punish our sin
  • He never betrays anyone’s trust in Him

(Verses 38-45) ‘But’ and bewilderment

The knowledge of God’s character does not stop the psalmist wondering why things have not worked out the way he wants. Life is like that, sometimes, and we must accept God’s overriding goodness and faithfulness, even when our preference sare not realised.

(Verses 46-51) Remembrance and reverence

This drives the psalmist to ask God to remember that his time is limited and that His servants are being reproached.

(Verse 52) God is to be praised forever

Which two descriptions of God do you think are the most important and why?

My two choices are ‘He will punish (our) sin’ (verse 32) and ‘The LORD’s great love [is] forever’ (verse 52). I am a guilty sinner who deserves God’s punishment. In love, Jesus bore my sins’ punishment on the cross so that, when I repented and received Him, He forgave me and gave me ‘eternal life.’