Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Adult Sunday School Notes -

Psalm Eighty-Nine - Finding Solace From Our FATIGUE Of FAITH Through God's Immutable CONSTANCY
(Psalm 89:1-52)
  1. Introduction
    1. Being mortal, we humans operate from a very limited time frame of reference and energy where we like to reach all the goals of history in our lifetimes or feel spiritually and emotionally fatigued!
    2. However, GOD, unlike us mortals, operates from an eternal frame of reference and is not subject to our fatigue. Thus, a tension exists between our relatively short-term hopes and God's longer eternal plan!
    3. Psalm 89:1-52 handles this discrepancy between the mortal believer and the immortal, omnipotent, eternal God in Whom the believer trusts, and teaches us how to deal with that difference as follows:
  2. Finding Solace From Our FATIGUE Of FAITH Through God's Immutable CONSTANCY, Ps. 89.
    1. The psalmist writes out of a time of current military defeat of the royal descendant of David, Ps. 89: 38-45:
      1. Though alleged author of the psalm is Ethan the Ezrahite, a contemporary of David's, the events in verses 38-45 speak of a later time in history during the decline of Judah, cf. Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, ftn. to Ps. 89. The name Ethan thus refers to a descendant or to "a choir guild bearing Ethan's name," Ibid.
      2. Accordingly, a descendant of David's on David's throne, undergoing defeat and the breaching of the city's wall, has left the psalm's author in a state of shock and despair, Ps . 89:41.
      3. What adds to the suffering is the emotionally draining taunts of godless enemies at this event, v. 50-51!
    2. However, this defeat of Israel's king is so opposite the Davidic Covenant God had made that the defeat is treated almost as an act of God's against this king, Ps. 89:38-40, 42-45.
    3. Since Psalm 89 is a maskil, or a teaching psalm (introductory notes), we take our cue from the psalm's context that the PROBLEM being addressed here is not so much any unfaithfulness on GOD'S part as it is a FATIGUE of FAITH with which the psalmist is i dentifying:
      1. Verses 1-4 of the psalm focus on God's endless (Hebrew 'olam) loyal love to the Davidic Covenant to preserve David's line on Israel's throne endlessly, cf. v. 1, 2, 4 (see 'olam in Robert B. Girdlestone's Synonyms of the Old Testament, p. 316-317).
      2. The Psalmist also takes time to dwell on the great character of the Lord Who made this Davidic Covenant in verses 5-18. God's faithfulness is repeatedly mentioned (v. 5, 8) along with His power to retain His covenant faithfulness to D avid's seed, v. 6-7, 8, 9-18.
      3. Then, taking encouragement from the fact that God had made the covenant to David, and possessed the character to fulfill it, the psalmist poetically detailed the provisions of the covenant in v. 19-37. Note the emphasis on how endlessly (again, 'olam) God's loyal love would be seen in preserving this covenant according to verses 28, 36 and 37 of this section!
      4. Thus, in making his lament, the psalmist is not really questioning the credibility of God, but is expressing his FATIGUE of FAITH as he is in shock from the defeat of the king that SEEMS to UNDERMINE God and the Davidic Covenant, Ps. 89:46.
        1. In an unusual switch from the word translated "endlessly" ('olam), the psalmist asks if God will constantly (netsach, cf. Girdlestone, Ibid., p. 313) hide Himself and not invoke the Davidic promise!
        2. His complaint, accompanied by the question, "How long, O Jahweh?" indicates that the problem here is a fatigue of faith on the psalmist's part, and not a reflection on God's having failed in any way!
    4. The solution offered by the teacher of this psalm is for an appeal for divine help over the fatigue ITSELF:
      1. The psalmist, admitting his mortality and weakness (v. 47-48), begs for God's former loyal love and faithfulness to be invoked to defend the Davidic Covenant and to thus counter his fatigue, v. 49.
      2. He adds a mitigating factor behind this fatigue -- the incessant taunts of the faithless enemies of Israel that further pressure against his faith in God, leading to this fatigue of faith in the Lord, v. 50-51.
    5. Having faced up his fatigue of faith, and having taken it to the Lord, the Psalmist is encouraged to praise God "endlessly" ('olam), followed by a strong double affirmative of faith in two "Amens".
Lesson: The mortal weaknesses we humans have, and that not only in the physical realm, but in our emotional susceptibility to the taunts of oppressors that leads to a weak faith in Him is something God UNDERSTANDS. However, IN such times of fatigue, OUR responsibility is to EXPRESS to God what is IRKING us to produce that fatigue so that HE can strengthen us to believe with some solid AMENs!