God`s Faithfulness

Title: God`s Faithfulness

Bible Book: Psalms 89

Author: Paul E. Brown

Subject: Faithfulness of God



When Ethan, generally believed to be the author, wrote this Psalm under divine inspiration, the people of Judah were experiencing dark days; apparently the nation had been overrun by the enemies of the Jews, the king had been deposed, and the land was in ruins. While the specific crisis being experienced is not pinpointed, some interpreters believe that the reference is to 586 B.C. when the Babylonians conquered Judah, ravaged the land, and took many of the people captive.

This Psalm falls naturally into three sections:



In verses 1-37 Ethan praises God for His faithfulness, love, and other great attributes.

  • He declares his intention to sing and speak of God’s greatness, with special emphasis on God’s covenant with David, to “establish his line forever” (verses 1- 4).
  • He speaks of how incomparable God is, in His faithfulness, awesomeness, and might (verses 5-8).
  • He calls attention to God’s strong rule over the world He has created, and to His power over those who make themselves His enemies (verses 9-14).
  • He rejoices in the blessedness of those who trust and obey God (verses 15-18).
  • He recounts God’s anointing of David, His covenant with him, and reiterates God’s promise to “establish his line forever” (verses 19-29).
  • He recalls God’s warning that sin will be punished, but that He will nevertheless faithfully honor His covenant with David (verses 30-37).

You and I also have every reason to have confidence in God’s faithfulness; he has

never failed to keep a single one of his promises—and he never will fail! Keeping that wonderful reality in mind can sustain us through many a crisis!


In verses 38-51 Ethan expresses his disappointment and despondency as he looks at what appears to him to be God’s withdrawal of his covenant promise.

He laments the way God’s “anointed one”—God’s “servant”—has been defeated and humiliated (verses 38-45). This probably refers not to King David personally, but rather to one of David’s descendants—perhaps to Zedekiah, the last king of Judah, who was taken to Babylon and imprisoned.

What Ethan did not know was that God’s covenant with David was not negated, but only suspended temporarily, and that its continuation and ultimate fulfillment would be in Jesus Christ, the Messiah (Luke 1:29-33). Mary, the virgin mother of Jesus, was a descendant of David through Nathan, one of David’s sons, and Jesus is often referred to as the “son of David” (Matthew 1:1; 15:22; 20:30; Romans 1:2-3; Revelation 22:16).

When you and I allow doubts to invade our minds or hearts, it is generally because we fail to remember that God is at work whether we see it or not. David Jeremiah used the following illustration: Sometimes a sign over a manhole says “Men at Work.” We don’t see their activity, because what they’re doing is out of our sight, but they are laboring nonetheless. In like manner, often we don’t see what God is doing, but he is at work—and we simply need to trust him. Someone once said, “I believe in the sun, even when it’s not shining; I believe in love, even when I don’t feel it; I believe in God, even when he is silent.”


In verse 52 apparently Ethan recovers from his doubt and despondency and closes the Psalm by praising God!

Some commentators believe that verse 52 does not belong with Psalm 89, but others of us believe that it not only belongs, but is indeed the grand climax of the Psalm.

We aren’t told what happened between verses 51 and 52, nor do we know how much time lapsed between those two verses—but obviously during that period of time, however long or short it was, God somehow helped Ethan to get his thinking straight and his heart right again. Perhaps Ethan thought back over those wonderful truths about God that he had proclaimed earlier in the Psalm, and as a result came to the same conclusion that the beleaguered old patriarch Job reached when he cried out in Job 13:15, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him….”

In like manner, when you and I are going through dark times, we need to keep in mind such wonderful truths as those Ethan emphasized earlier in this Psalm—and we should focus on such uplifting, encouraging Scriptural promises as the following: Deuteronomy 33:25; Psalm 55:22; Ecclesiastes 9:4; Isaiah 40:28-31; 41:10; 55:8-9; Jeremiah 29:13; 32:17, 27; Lamentations 3:21-26; Luke 1:37; Romans 8:28;

1 Corinthians 10:13; 2 Corinthians 12:9; Philippians 4:19.

Corrie Ten Boom, a survivor of the Holocaust, once said: “When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off; you sit still and trust the engineer.”

Even so, when you and I are going through the “dark tunnels” of life, it behooves us to remember the words of Psalm 46:1, 10-11. We need to be still and know that God is God, and that He will somehow see us through whatever we have to face, if only we will look to Jesus in faith and surrender. Jesus said, in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” And if you and I are trustfully and obediently anchored to him, we too can be overcomers!


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