Summary: Although the Psalmist Ethan finds no resolution to the tension between God’s promise and God’s delay in fulfilling His promises in Psalm 89, we know that God DID indeed fulfill His promise to David don’t we? The line of David did not end in the exile.
I make promises all the time … and I always intend on keeping them every time I make them. But you know what? I don’t always keep them … not all of them … try as hard as I might. I’m going to let you down sometimes … disappoint you .. if I haven’t already. The one promise that I will always keep is that I’m not always going to keep all of my promises … and guess what? Neither will you.
We make promises all the time … and we break promises all the time. Sorry … that’s just a fact of life … a part of the human condition. Nobody keeps 100% of their promises. Nobody keeps every single promise that they make. Anybody here keep 100% of their promises? Know anybody who has kept every single promise they’ve ever made? Because I’d love to meet them.
Now, at this point you’re probably thinking that I’m going to say there is ONE person who keeps all the promises that He makes … and that One would be God … and you would be right. “I the Lord do not change,” God promises in Malachi 3:6. It is His nature to be faithful. He will never let us down. Yahweh … I AM … cannot be expanded or diminished. He remains the same yesterday, today, and forever, right? His characters, His nature never changes. He remains the same … consistent always. Unlike us, God isn’t capricious or fickle. He keeps His word down to the last jot and tittle. “He who is the glory of Israel will not lie,” writes the Prophet Samuel, “nor will He change His mind for He is not human that He should change His mind” (1st Samuel 15:29).
God is always holy … always just … always mighty … always merciful … always sovereign … always loving. Not sometimes. Always. God remains the same. What He is now, He will be forever.
We may lose our health … our job … our friends … but we will never lose God. He will never leave us nor forsake us. “I will love with an everlasting love,” He promises (Jeremiah 31:3). “The mountains shall be removed, but my loving kindness will not depart from you” (Isaiah 54:10). “I will never turn my back on you … whoever comes to me I will never cast out” (John 6:37).
“Well …., “ says Ethan the Ezrahite, “you gotta wonder about that sometimes.” In 1st Chronicles 15:19, we learn that Ethan the Ezrahite was a psalmist and royal musician. Until Solomon asked God for wisdom, Ethan was considered to be among the top four smartest men in the Kingdom of Judah. In 1st Kings 4:30-31, it says that “Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the people of the east, and all the wisdom of Egypt. He was wiser than anyone else … wiser than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, Calcol, and Darda, children of Manhol.”
Now … Psalm 89 is a lengthy psalm … 52 verses total … so I clearly don’t have time … and you all don’t have the patience, I’m sure … to go through every line, am I right? So I pray that you’ll indulge me if I only bring out the main argument that runs throughout the whole psalm.
Ethan starts out by saying that God’s love … God “hesed” or “steadfast” love … God’s mercy and God’s faithfulness go hand in hand. That’s something to sing about. Where would we be without the faithfulness and mercy of God, amen? It should make you tremble to think of where you and I would be right now without it. And so we begin Psalm 89 by declaring: “I will sing of Your steadfast love, O Lord, forever … with my mouth I will proclaim Your faithfulness to all generations.”
Why sing of the Lord’s steadfast love? Why make His faithfulness known to all generations? Why should we count on God at all? Verse 2 tells us why … because God’s love IS steadfast … forever. His faithfulness is as firm as Heaven … which is forever. God’s love is not fickle … here today and gone tomorrow. His love is constant … dependable. His faithfulness isn’t anything like the faithfulness that you find here on earth. It’s divine … it’s heavenly … and you can always count on it … right?
Verses 5 through 8 repeatedly ask: “Who is like the Lord?” And repeatedly the answer is: “No one!” The Heavens praise Him (v. 5). The Council of Holy Ones praise Him (v. 7). The “Who’s Who of Heavenly Saints” fear Him for He is incomparable. He is the most awesome … above all that are around Him (v. 7). He is the most mighty. His faithfulness, says Ethan, surrounds Him.