Psalms 89:1



The Bible says in Psalm 89:1, “I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations.” This verse has been set to music and it is a very good verse to sing. I hope you have heard it. Every believer certainly will be singing about the mercies of the Lord forever and ever. Mercy is a wonderful thing. It means to not receive punishment even though we deserve it. We have mercy from God because Jesus suffered and died on Calvary’s cross for us. If you have been born-again through faith in Christ, and you cannot sing of the mercies of the Lord, maybe you have forgotten what is really important.


In the last part of verse one the Psalmist said, “I make known thy faithfulness to all generations.” God is faithful. Human beings are not. God will always keep His promises. God will always forgive sins. God will faithfully accompany, and help, and use His children. The Word of God endures to all generations, and that means that God wants His truth and His Word to be declared to every generation. Those who know the Lord need to say so. Those who know the Lord need to open their mouths and tell others how faithful God has been to them.


The Bible says in Psalm 89:2, “For I have said, Mercy shall be built up for ever: thy faithfulness shalt thou establish in the very heavens.” Once again the Psalmist mentions the mercy of God and the faithfulness of God. It says that God’s mercy “shall be built up for ever.” What will we be doing in heaven? For one thing we will be building up God’s mercy. Perhaps that means that it will be manifest more and more just how merciful God has been with each of us. Each person will have a story to tell, and God will reveal more details about each person’s life. We will see how God fixed things to be better than they otherwise would have been because of His mercy. And we will hear the story of every single believer, and every single believer will learn more about how merciful God was with them: how many times He withheld His wrath and His judgment, and how many times He was kind and compassionate towards us when He did not have to be.


God’s faithfulness will be established “in the very heavens.” God wants everyone to know what He is really like. God wants everyone to know that He is faithful. The centuries roll by, nations come and go, but God changes not. He keeps His Word. He fulfills His promises no matter what any person does or does not do. God is faithful. One day in heaven everyone will know and see just how faithful God is and has always been to the believers in Jesus.


Here is one of God’s promises that God is faithful to keep. The Bible says in Psalm 89:3-4 where God is speaking and says, “I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant,[4] Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations. Selah.” God spoke of a covenant with King David. We call this the Davidic Covenant. There are a lot of great things to say about this covenant. First of all it is an unconditional covenant. There is nothing for David to do. God is going to do it. That is a lot different than the covenant of the law that promised blessings from God but only if the Israelites did their part and obeyed the law. God said that He would “establish” and He would “build up.” Notice also that the Davidic Covenant is an eternal covenant: “forever” and “all generations” are the terms used. The promise has to do with the “seed” and with the “throne” of David. The only way for this to be fulfilled was for the Messiah to come in the lineage of David. The Messiah did just that. That is why it says about Jesus in the first verse and in the first book of the New Testament in Matthew 1:1, “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” We know that the Davidic Covenant is fulfilled in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are talking about a throne and a king. We are talking about Jerusalem and Israel. Jesus will be King in Jerusalem over Israel and over all the earth. All of the prophets spoke of this truth. That is why it says in Isaiah 9:6, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”


Christians also have an unconditional covenant that will last forever. It is called the New Covenant, also known as the New Testament. Just before He died on the cross, Jesus said in Matthew 26:28 “For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”


The Bible says in Psalm 89:5, “And the heavens shall praise thy wonders, O LORD: thy faithfulness also in the congregation of the saints.” This verse is a follow-on to the great unconditional and eternal covenant that was expressed in the last two verses. God has a plan for the world, for all nations, and for every individual. It is a marvel to see God’s plan unfold. Human beings vie and strive and sin, and yet God’s plan marches on. When we see His plan with greater clarity and how it unfolded by the power and wisdom of God, we will praise Him in the heavens. Maybe it is a good idea to go ahead and praise Him on earth too. That is why the last part of verses five says that we will praise God for His faithfulness “in the congregation of the saints.” What is the congregation of the saints? It is the assembly of believers in church services. Do not forsake the assembling of yourselves together.


The Bible says in Psalm 89:6-8, “For who in the heaven can be compared unto the LORD? who among the sons of the mighty can be likened unto the LORD?[7] God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him.[8] O LORD God of hosts, who is a strong LORD like unto thee? or to thy faithfulness round about thee?” These verses are a reminder of the greatness of God. Jesus said, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” God is involved in all things. God changes things according to His purposes. Even though God has given free will to man, God is higher than all beings. God can override anyone at any time. Notice that it says in verse seven, “God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints.” It is important to be in the assembly, that is, in the gatherings of believers, that is, in church meetings. That is where His presence can be experienced in important ways: through the preaching and teaching of the Word, through singing, through prayers, and through Christian fellowship. Jesus said, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them


In the following verses the Psalmist mentions some of the things that God does that show forth His mighty power. The Bible says in Psalm 89:9-12, “Thou rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them.[10] Thou hast broken Rahab in pieces, as one that is slain; thou hast scattered thine enemies with thy strong arm.[11] The heavens are thine, the earth also is thine: as for the world and the fulness thereof, thou hast founded them.[12] The north and the south thou hast created them: Tabor and Hermon shall rejoice in thy name.” Verse nine says that God rules the raging of the sea and “stillest them.” God “rules” nature. That was seen in Jesus when it says in Matthew 8:26-27, “And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.[27] But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!”


When the first part of verse ten says, “Thou hast broken Rahab in pieces, as one that is slain,” it is talking about Egypt. The Psalmist and many other writers of the Old Testament go back to what God did when He delivered the children of Israel from Egypt. That was salvation and deliverance in a magnificent way. And the prophets and spiritual people knew that they should never forget it. We also have something to remember: the day that Jesus came to each of and saved us from our sins. That also was a great miracle that took the power of God to conquer the forces of evil and to reach your heart. 


In verses eleven and twelve we are reminded of the fact that God created the universe, and everything belongs to Him. Every tree, every ocean, every cloud, every star, every animal, and every person belongs to God because He created them. God is great.


The Bible says in Psalm 89:13, “Thou hast a mighty arm: strong is thy hand, and high is thy right hand  Three statements are made in this verse to remind us of the power of God. The words “mighty” and “strong” are used. Never forget the Almighty power of God. We need Him in everything that we do or hope to do. We need Him to fulfill the calling the calling He has given us. We need Him to help us take on the day. We need Him to guide our steps. We Him to work, and to intervene, and to provide, and to bless. We need Him to perform miracles. Can He do that and more? Of course He can, because He is strong and mighty. Your muscles are nothing compared to God’s muscles.


The Bible says in Psalm 89:14, “Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face.” Never forget that God deals justice and judgment. No one is going to get away with anything. We have judges on the earth, but many of them do not understand or deal in justice and judgment because they had an education that led them down the wrong path, or they have a political agenda that taints their ability to deal fairly and truthfully according to law. But the judgment of these human judges is very limited in time and scope. The real Judge is God, and God will judge everyone, including the human judges. Justice will be served. Sometimes justice is partially served in this life, but everything is headed towards that final judgment. Thankfully, the second part of this verse speaks of the “mercy and truth” of God. If God did not have mercy, we would have no hope at the judgment because we are all sinners. We have Jesus as a Savior, and we know that the judgment of God against sin fell on Jesus. Pity those who are headed to the judgment without Jesus as Savior. The way that we come to know the mercy of God in Christ is through the knowledge of the truth. Love the truth and spread the truth about Christ: this is what will help people escape the judgment.


The Bible says in Psalm 89:15-16, “Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance.[16] In thy name shall they rejoice all the day: and in thy righteousness shall they be exalted.” It sounds like it is important to know “the joyful sound.” It is given as a requirement to be blessed and to walk “in the light.” The joyful sound comes from your own heart. The joyful sound is based upon having experienced the mercy and truth of the Lord through faith in the Lord Jesus. An old Gospel song picked up this theme and starts like this: “We have heard the joyful sound, Jesus saves, Jesus saves.” When we become Christians, we have a very high calling with very high standards. Verse sixteen says, “In thy name shall they rejoice all the day.” We should rejoice “all the day.” We certainly have good reason to rejoice all the day. If we do not, I wonder why that is. Maybe we are thinking of the wrong things, or maybe we are responding in the flesh instead of the Spirit to what happens to us.


Notice the last phrase of verse sixteen: “in thy righteousness shall they be exalted.” We will not be exalted because of our own righteousness. We have no righteousness of our own. But we will be exalted in the righteousness of Christ. One of the wonders of salvation is that the righteousness of Christ is credited to the account of everyone who knows Jesus as Savior.  


The Bible says in Psalm 89:17, “For thou art the glory of their strength: and in thy favour our horn shall be exalted.” God is the glory of our strength because He is our strength. One of the many advantages of believing in Jesus is that we have Him as our constant resource. We run to Him, we hide in Him, and we are strengthened by Him. How terrible our lives would be without Christ. How weak we would be without Him. Also, as it says at the end of verse seventeen, because we believe in Jesus, we have the favor of God already. We cannot earn His favor because we are sinners, but the favor of God is given to us through Christ.


The Bible says in Psalm 89:18, “For the LORD is our defence; and the Holy One of Israel is our king.” We do not need to defend ourselves because the Lord will defend us. He loves His children, and He is going to take care of them. You will be attacked once in a while, so remember this promise when you are. The Lord is also our King. Jesus is the King of kings. We are children of the King. We are submitted to Jesus for that reason. Notice that it says, “the Holy One of Israel is our king.” He is holy, and thus He wants us to be holy also. In what ways is your life improving? Your King wants you to live a holy life.


The Bible says in Psalm 89:19, “Then thou spakest in vision to the holy one, and saidst, I have laid help upon one that is mighty; I have exalted one chosen out of the people.[20] I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him.” Notice the word “vision” in the first phrase of verse nineteen. It takes the revelation from God to learn the truth about God. The truth is that God has One that is and always has been especially chosen to come and save the people and to be their King. We would not know this truth unless we had the scriptures to tell us. In the Old Testament this truth is stated over and over again. It is symbolized in the person of King David as well as in other persons. For example, in Genesis Melchizedec, the priest of the Most High God, symbolized Christ; and King David also symbolized Christ in certain ways, some of which are mentioned in this Psalm. And so these verses are talking about King David, but they are also talking about King Jesus. The message is this: there is “one that is mighty.” This implies that everyone else is not mighty. We need a Savior. We need a mighty one, who can do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. God knows this truth better than we do, and so God has in His great plan a King who will come. David symbolized this King who would come, and so verse. Jesus is the “servant.” And Jesus is the “anointed” one. The word “anointed” means literally “the Messiah.”


The Bible says in Psalm 89:21-23, “With whom my hand shall be established: mine arm also shall strengthen him.
[22] The enemy shall not exact upon him; nor the son of wickedness afflict him.[23] And I will beat down his foes before his face, and plague them that hate him
.” These promises from God explain exactly why King David became so great and why he had so many victories over his enemies. God did it. Of course, the ultimate fulfillment of these promises will take place when Jesus comes back and becomes King in Jerusalem. All the enemies of God will be defeated. All the enemies of God will face judgment. God will do it because He promised He would do it, and God always keeps His promises.


The Bible says in Psalm 89:24, “But my faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him: and in my name shall his horn be exalted.” God is faithful and merciful. When God makes a promise, He will always keep His promise. The centuries role by, and nations come and go, but God always keeps His promises. Thankfully, God is also merciful. He has compassion on us. He does not hate us because we are sinners, and so He developed a plan whereby He could forgive us and allow us into heaven. That plan involved sending Jesus to take human form and then to go to the cross.


In the last phrase of verse twenty-four God said, “in my name shall his horn be exalted.” In the Bible a “horn” is symbolic of a leader of a nation who has power and authority. This King will get His power and authority from one great source: the “name” of God. When Mary was pregnant, the angel said to her, “Thou shalt call his name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” It also says in the New Testament, “There is no other name given among men whereby we must be saved.” Romans 10:13 says, “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Take the name of Jesus with you wherever you go. You will have blessing and power and authority because of that blessed name and all that it stands for. The plan of God is now all about one great name: Jesus Christ.


The Bible says in Psalm 89:25, “I will set his hand also in the sea, and his right hand in the rivers.” In the Bible the “sea” sometimes represents the sea of people. For example, talking about the antichrist, it says in Revelation 13:1, “And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.” The beast is the antichrist, and the sea is the peoples of the earth. Where will the antichrist come from? He will come from among men, and he will rise up to a place of power and authority. Of course, he will not last long. One reason that the antichrist will gain his power is that he is trying to take the place of Jesus and to become what the Bible says that Jesus will become: king over all the earth. The antichrist will be destroyed because there is a God and because God has promised in many places in the Bible that Jesus will be king over all the earth.


The Bible says in Psalm 89:26, “He shall cry unto me, Thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation.” King David knew the Lord as His personal Savior. He knew that God was his father. David was a true believer. David called God, “the rock of my salvation.” Once you are saved through faith in Christ, your soul is secure on the solid rock of Jesus Christ and His great salvation. You will never be moved as far as the security of your soul is concerned. When Jesus came to the earth, He lived His earthly life according to the truth of verse twenty-six. Even though He was the Son of God, Jesus lived as a human being of faith, putting His faith in the Father. Jesus knew He would be killed, but He trusted that He would be raised from the dead and thus saved from death, and so He was.


The Bible says in Psalm 89:27, “Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth.” This verse also represents King David, but even more so King Jesus. Once again we ask, “Why did David become the great king of Israel?” He became king because God made Him king. Why will Jesus become king in Israel and over all the earth: because God has said that it will happen. That is one of the reasons that there will be a second coming of Christ: in order for Jesus to fulfill this promise and become king. The first time Jesus came as a servant, but the second time Jesus will come as a conquering king.


The Bible says in Psalm 89:28-29, “My mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him.[29] His seed also will I make to endure for ever, and his throne as the days of heaven.” This covenant is based upon mercy. God is a forgiving God, and He wants us to know that. We sin so often that it is easy for a person to lose faith because of their own failures. How can God favor me and bless me when I fail so much. He can and will do that because of His mercy. The covenant that God made with David is based upon mercy. So is the covenant that Jesus makes with His believers. Notice the words “evermore” in verse twenty-eight and “endure for ever” in verse twenty-nine. This also speaks of eternal security. We are eternally secure in Christ, not because of how good we are, but because of how merciful He is.


The Bible says in Psalm 89:30-34, “If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments;[31] If they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments;[32] Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes.[33] Nevertheless my lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail.[34] My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.” Verses thirty, thirty-one, and thirty-two tell us exactly what happens when a Christians sins. If you do not judge yourself and confess your sins, you will be chastised. If you have been saved by faith in Jesus, you will not be destroyed because of your sins, and you will not lose your position as a child of God; but you will be chastised. That is what God means in verse thirty-two, “Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes.” Verse thirty-three tells us that God is loving and faithful. God loves us because we believe in Jesus. He will never stop loving us. God is faithful to us even when we are not faithful. He does not give up on us. God has a plan. He wants us to learn. His chastisements are part of His faithfulness to make us into something for Christ. In verse thirty-four God mentions His “covenant.” This is the covenant that God made with David, and thankfully, is just like the covenant that Christ has made with His believers. God’s covenant is God’s promise, and God always keeps His promises.


The Bible says in Psalm 89:35-37, “Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David.[36] His seed shall endure forever, and his throne as the sun before me.[37] It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven. Selah.” The reason that the “seed” of David will endure forever is because Jesus endures forever, and Jesus is the descendant of David who will rule forever. The sun and the moon go on generation after generation. People live and die, but the sun and the moon are always there. So will it be in the reign of Christ. When Jesus is manifested on the throne of David, it will be a clean testimony to the universe that God kept His promise to King David.


The Bible says in Psalm 89:38-45, “But thou hast cast off and abhorred, thou hast been wroth with thine anointed.[39] Thou hast made void the covenant of thy servant: thou hast profaned his crown by casting it to the ground.[40] Thou hast broken down all his hedges; thou hast brought his strong holds to ruin.[41] All that pass by the way spoil him: he is a reproach to his neighbours.[42] Thou hast set up the right hand of his adversaries; thou hast made all his enemies to rejoice.[43] Thou hast also turned the edge of his sword, and hast not made him to stand in the battle.[44] Thou hast made his glory to cease, and cast his throne down to the ground.[45] The days of his youth hast thou shortened: thou hast covered him with shame. Selah.” Something has gone terribly wrong. We read in the previous verses about the wonderful unconditional Davidic covenant, but Israel had been conquered by the Assyrians and the Babylonians, and the Jewish people were in a terrible state being oppressed and scattered and conquered. A good summation for what had happened to Israel is found in verse forty-four, “Thou hast made his glory to cease, and cast his throne down to the ground.” The “throne” being cast to the ground does not sound like the great promise made in verses thirty-six and thirty-seven, “His seed shall endure forever, and his throne as the sun before me.[37] It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven.” Sometimes things do not go well in this life, but never forget that this life is only temporary. Look to the future. If you know Jesus as Savior, you will be in heaven forever. From that perspective it does not really matter that things do not work out well in this life. God will keep His promises and manifest His glory in His time.


The Bible says in Psalm 89:46-49, “How long, LORD? wilt thou hide thyself for ever? shall thy wrath burn like fire?[47] Remember how short my time is: wherefore hast thou made all men in vain?[48] What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave? Selah.[49] Lord, where are thy former lovingkindnesses, which thou swarest unto David in thy truth?” In verse forty-six the Psalmist asks the question, “How long, LORD?” That is a common question for a believer to ask. God is often not in as big of a hurry as we are. He has eternity. And then the Psalmist asks this question, “wilt thou hide thyself for ever?” No, God will not hide Himself forever, but yes, He is a God that hides Himself. That is one reason that it takes a miracle to come to know Christ as Savior. You will never come to know Him unless He reveals Himself to you. The Psalmist knew that life is miserable unless he was aware of the presence of the Lord and unless he was enjoying the blessings of the Lord. The Psalmist is suffering under the chastising hand of God, and so the third question that the Psalmist asks in verse forty-six is, “shall thy wrath burn like fire?” The answer to that is: “no.” No suffering lasts forever, except for the suffering of hell. We must learn to endure knowing that there is light at the end of the tunnel. That is what Jesus was talking about when He said, “He that endures to the end shall be saved.” Just endure it until it ends, because it will end. Do not make the mistake of taking things into your own hands before it ends according to the will of God.


At the first part of verse forty-seven the Psalmist said to the Lord, “Remember how short my time is.” Life is definitely short: too short in many ways. Just as we finally learn everything that we need to know, we die. Logic alone tells us there is life after death. It does not make sense that life would be so short, and then not continue afterwards. Thank God that Jesus gives eternal life. But because life on this earth is so short, make the most of it while you can. Life is not only short, it is also “vain,” as the Psalmist said at the end of verse forty-seven. Someone dies and they are soon forgotten. Their possessions are given to others, and it is as though they did not even live. Of course, life can be given value by serving Christ. This life will soon be past, only what is done for Christ will last.


The Psalmist asks another important question in verse forty-eight: “What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death?” Everyone will die, except for those believers who are alive during the rapture. Many people live as though they are going to live on this earth forever. Some put the reality of certain death out of their minds. It would be best to be spiritually prepared for the end of live. That can be done by repenting of sin and calling upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for forgiveness.


In verse forty-nine the Psalmist is expressing his knowledge of God’s promise to King David: “Lord, where are thy former lovingkindnesses, which thou swarest unto David in thy truth?” The Psalmist knows the truth about God’s great love, and God’s promises, but the Psalmist knows that the current sorrows are definitely not what God promised. That is an important lesson to learn. Many of God’s promises will be fulfilled in the next life. Right now we can have sorrows, and difficulties, and chastisements, and troubles; but never forget that they are only temporary. We are all heading towards the fulfillment of all the promises through Christ the Savior. Keep your eye on the hope of the future.


The Bible says in Psalm 89:50-51, “Remember, Lord, the reproach of thy servants; how I do hear in my bosom the reproach of all the mighty people;[51] Wherewith thine enemies have reproached, O Lord; wherewith they have reproached the footsteps of thine anointed.” Notice in verse fifty that the enemies of God are called “the mighty people.” Believers are in the minority by far. Most of the rich and powerful people from a human standpoint are unbelievers. What can we do in the face of such powerful enemies? We can do what the Psalmist did: we can pray to the Lord God and ask Him to help and to fight our battles for us. That is one of the benefits of knowing Jesus as Savior. We pray for the lost souls of the world, and when they come against us by word or deed, we do nothing but turn it over to the Lord and see what He does.


Because we have the all-powerful and all-knowing God as our personal resource, it is no wonder that the Psalmist concludes this writing with Psalm 89:52, “Blessed be the Lord for evermore. Amen, and Amen.” Take our eyes off people, and put them on the Lord Jesus and what He can do, and then our hearts will be full of praise and joy. We will be blessing Him for evermore because in heaven we will have no distractions, and it will be revealed to us more than we realize just how much God was in control and guiding our lives no matter what people did.     




Copyright; 2019 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
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