Consolation Series - Part 46 - Psalm 89 - I Will Never Lie to David


This is my favorite Psalm.  The first half, reproduced here, is a beautiful exchange between David and God, where they each affirm their total love and allegiance to one another.  I have italicized God’s lines to make it easier to read.  Clearly, we are expected to place ourselves in David’s shoes and to receive God’s loving words to David as though they are directed to us.  

Inevitably, if this is read aloud to a group for discussion, the participants report being particularly intrigued by the conditions God seems to put on His love, and the punishment He is willing to mete out:

If his children forsake my law,
and don’t walk in my ordinances;
if they break my statutes,
and don’t keep my commandments;
then I will punish their sin with the rod,
and their iniquity with plagues.

I think this is misplaced emphasis. God acknowledges that David and his descendants will disappoint, but we are supposed to note the emphatic reaffirmation of God’s love that immediately follows.  This is the overwhelming message of the psalm.  This is covenantal, irrevocable love.

Psalm 89

I will sing of the loving kindness of Yahweh forever.
With my mouth, I will make known your faithfulness to all generations.
I indeed declare, “Love stands firm forever.
You established the heavens.
Your faithfulness is in them.”

“I have made a covenant with my chosen one,
I have sworn to David, my servant,
‘I will establish your offspring forever,
and build up your throne to all generations.’”

The heavens will praise your wonders, Yahweh,
your faithfulness also in the assembly of the holy ones.
For who in the skies can be compared to Yahweh?
Who among the sons of the heavenly beings is like Yahweh,
a very awesome God in the council of the holy ones,
to be revered above all those who are around him?
Yahweh, who is a mighty one, like you?
Yah, your faithfulness is around you.
You rule the pride of the sea.
When its waves rise up, you calm them.
You have broken Rahab in pieces, like one of the slain.
You have scattered your enemies with your mighty arm.
The heavens are yours.
The earth also is yours,
the world and its fullness.
You have founded them.
You have created the north and the south.
Tabor and Hermon rejoice in your name.
You have a mighty arm.
Your hand is strong, and your right hand is exalted.
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne.
Loving kindness and truth go before your face.
Blessed are the people who learn to acclaim you.
They walk in the light of your presence, Yahweh.
In your name they rejoice all day.
In your righteousness, they are exalted.
For you are the glory of their strength.
In your favor, our horn will be exalted.
For our shield belongs to Yahweh,
our king to the Holy One of Israel.

Then you spoke in vision to your saints,
and said, “I have given strength to the warrior.
I have exalted a young man from the people.
I have found David, my servant.
I have anointed him with my holy oil,
with whom my hand shall be established.
My arm will also strengthen him.
No enemy will tax him.
No wicked man will oppress him.
I will beat down his adversaries before him,
and strike those who hate him.
But my faithfulness and my loving kindness will be with him.
In my name, his horn will be exalted.
I will set his hand also on the sea,
and his right hand on the rivers.
He will call to me, ‘You are my Father,
my God, and the rock of my salvation!’
I will also appoint him my firstborn,
the highest of the kings of the earth.
I will keep my loving kindness for him forever more.
My covenant will stand firm with him.
I will also make his offspring endure forever,
and his throne as the days of heaven.
If his children forsake my law,
and don’t walk in my ordinances;
if they break my statutes,
and don’t keep my commandments;
then I will punish their sin with the rod,
and their iniquity with plagues.
But I will NEVER take my steadfast love from him,
nor allow my faithfulness to fail.
I will not break my covenant,
nor alter what my lips have uttered.
Once I have sworn by my holiness,
I will NEVER lie to David.
His offspring will endure forever,
his throne like the sun before me.
It will be established forever like the moon,
the faithful witness in the sky.”