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Psalms 89; 96; 100; 101; 105     Listen Podcast

A note to God from captivity? (Psalm 89)

A Contemplation of Ethan the Ezrahite.
1 ¶ I will sing of the mercies of the LORD forever;
With my mouth will I make known Your faithfulness to all generations.
2 For I have said, “Mercy shall be built up forever;
Your faithfulness You shall establish in the very heavens.”
3 “I have made a covenant with My chosen,
I have sworn to My servant David:
4 “Your seed I will establish forever,
And build up your throne to all generations.’ ”
5 And the heavens will praise Your wonders, O LORD;
Your faithfulness also in the assembly of the saints.
6 For who in the heavens can be compared to the LORD?
Who among the sons of the mighty can be likened to the LORD?
7 God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints,
And to be held in reverence by all those around Him.
8 O LORD God of hosts,
Who is mighty like You, O LORD?
Your faithfulness also surrounds You.
9 You rule the raging of the sea;
When its waves rise, You still them.
10 You have broken Rahab in pieces, as one who is slain;
You have scattered Your enemies with Your mighty arm.
11 The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours;
The world and all its fullness, You have founded them.
12 The north and the south, You have created them;
Tabor and Hermon rejoice in Your name.
13 You have a mighty arm;
Strong is Your hand, and high is Your right hand.
14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne;
Mercy and truth go before Your face.
15 Blessed are the people who know the joyful sound!
They walk, O LORD, in the light of Your countenance.
16 In Your name they rejoice all day long,
And in Your righteousness they are exalted.
17 For You are the glory of their strength,
And in Your favor our horn is exalted.
18 For our shield belongs to the LORD,
And our king to the Holy One of Israel.
19 Then You spoke in a vision to Your holy one,
And said: “I have given help to one who is mighty;
I have exalted one chosen from the people.
20 I have found My servant David;
With My holy oil I have anointed him,
21 With whom My hand shall be established;
Also My arm shall strengthen him.
22 The enemy shall not outwit him,
Nor the son of wickedness afflict him.
23 I will beat down his foes before his face,
And plague those who hate him.
24 “But My faithfulness and My mercy shall be with him,
And in My name his horn shall be exalted.
25 Also I will set his hand over the sea,
And his right hand over the rivers.
26 He shall cry to Me, “You are my Father,
My God, and the rock of my salvation.’
27 Also I will make him My firstborn,
The highest of the kings of the earth.
28 My mercy I will keep for him forever,
And My covenant shall stand firm with him.
29 His seed also I will make to endure forever,
And his throne as the days of heaven.
30 “If his sons forsake My law
And do not walk in My judgments,
31 If they break My statutes
And do not keep My commandments,
32 Then I will punish their transgression with the rod,
And their iniquity with stripes.
33 Nevertheless My lovingkindness I will not utterly take from him,
Nor allow My faithfulness to fail.
34 My covenant I will not break,
Nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips.
35 Once I have sworn by My holiness;
I will not lie to David:
36 His seed shall endure forever,
And his throne as the sun before Me;
37 It shall be established forever like the moon,
Even like the faithful witness in the sky.”
38 But You have cast off and abhorred,
You have been furious with Your anointed.
39 You have renounced the covenant of Your servant;
You have profaned his crown by casting it to the ground.
40 You have broken down all his hedges;
You have brought his strongholds to ruin.
41 All who pass by the way plunder him;
He is a reproach to his neighbors.
42 You have exalted the right hand of his adversaries;
You have made all his enemies rejoice.
43 You have also turned back the edge of his sword,
And have not sustained him in the battle.
44 You have made his glory cease,
And cast his throne down to the ground.
45 The days of his youth You have shortened;
You have covered him with shame.
46 How long, LORD?
Will You hide Yourself forever?
Will Your wrath burn like fire?
47 Remember how short my time is;
For what futility have You created all the children of men?
48 What man can live and not see death?
Can he deliver his life from the power of the grave?
49 Lord, where are Your former lovingkindnesses,
Which You swore to David in Your truth?
50 Remember, Lord, the reproach of Your servants—
How I bear in my bosom the reproach of all the many peoples,
51 With which Your enemies have reproached, O LORD,
With which they have reproached the footsteps of Your anointed.
52 Blessed be the LORD forevermore!
Amen and Amen.

In the introduction, Ethan the Ezrahite is referenced. He is found mentioned among David's musicians in I Kings 4:31 (see notes) and I Chronicles 15:17, 19 (see notes). That would seem to fix the date of the writing of this Psalm during the reign of David. However, the content of this Psalm has caused many scholars to fix the date of the writing of this Psalm much later - as late at the 8th century B.C. They maintain that this Ethan the Ezrahite must be another of the same name who lived centuries later.

One thing is certain; the writer is reminding God of his promise to Israel; look at Psalm 89:3-4, "I have made a covenant with My chosen, I have sworn to My servant David: 'Your seed I will establish forever, And build up your throne to all generations.'" This Psalm is rather to the point. The writer is reminding God of his covenant and pleading for the restoration of Israel. Notice Psalms 89:46, "How long, LORD? Will You hide Yourself forever? Will Your wrath burn like fire?" It would appear that the author is writing at a time when Israel is being chastised by God for their sin. It is difficult to find a period during the life of David where these words make sense, but they make perfect sense during or after the falls of Israel and Judah. Psalm 89 serves as one of the many Old Testament confirmations that David's rule is eternal (see "The Davidic Covenant). The direct statements to that end here make it impossible to interpret any other way. Notice also the following verses from this Psalm that validate God's covenant with David:

35 Once I have sworn by My holiness;
I will not lie to David:
36 His seed shall endure forever,
And his throne as the sun before Me;
37 It shall be established forever like the moon,
Even like the faithful witness in the sky.

However, the verses that immediately follow verse 37 create the strong impression that a descendant of David is not occupying the throne at the time of this writing; that's why many have suggested that it was written during the exile period.

Incidentally, "Rahab" (verse 10) is a Hebrew transliteration and literally means "boaster, strength, proud." Here it is used as a reference to Egypt as is also the case in Psalm 87:4 (see notes). In verse 12, Tabor and Hermon are two mountains - Hermon marking the northernmost boundary of Palestine while Tabor is approximately 11 miles southwest of the Sea of Galilee.

Here's a great praise song! (Psalm 96)

1 ¶ Oh, sing to the LORD a new song!
Sing to the LORD, all the earth.
2 Sing to the LORD, bless His name;
Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.
3 Declare His glory among the nations,
His wonders among all peoples.
4 For the LORD is great and greatly to be praised;
He is to be feared above all gods.
5 For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
But the LORD made the heavens.
6 Honor and majesty are before Him;
Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.
7 Give to the LORD, O families of the peoples,
Give to the LORD glory and strength.
8 Give to the LORD the glory due His name;
Bring an offering, and come into His courts.
9 Oh, worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness!
Tremble before Him, all the earth.
10 Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns;
The world also is firmly established,
It shall not be moved;
He shall judge the peoples righteously.”
11 Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad;
Let the sea roar, and all its fullness;
12 Let the field be joyful, and all that is in it.
Then all the trees of the woods will rejoice before the LORD.
13 For He is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth.
He shall judge the world with righteousness,
And the peoples with His truth.

The author is not specified, but he's just praising God for his salvation. This appears to be the song that was sung at the return of the Ark of the Covenant in I Chronicles 16:23-33 (see notes), making David's authorship likely, but still not known. Notice Psalms 96:5, "For all the gods of the peoples are idols, But the LORD made the heavens." The Hebrew word for "idols" in this verse is "el-eel´" which means "something worthless." There's no political correctness in that; anything except faith in the one true Lord God Jehovah is worthless.

God's steadfast love endures forever (Psalm 100)

A Psalm of Thanksgiving.
1 ¶ Make a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands!
2 Serve the LORD with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.
3 Know that the LORD, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
5 For the LORD is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.

The author of this Psalm is not known. He calls upon men to serve God for two reasons - because he is God (verses 1-3) and because he is good (verses 4-5). Several contemporary praise songs contain lyrics found in this Psalm. It's upbeat and encouraging. And here are three things in this Psalm we should know about God in verse 5:

God's standards are permanent; his truth does not waiver. In a world where truth is relative and social standards continually change, it's good to know that we have a God and His Word serving to keep us grounded on unchanging truth.

A commitment to excellence (Psalm 101)

A Psalm of David.
1 ¶ I will sing of mercy and justice;
To You, O LORD, I will sing praises.
2 I will behave wisely in a perfect way.
Oh, when will You come to me?
I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.
3 I will set nothing wicked before my eyes;
I hate the work of those who fall away;
It shall not cling to me.
4 A perverse heart shall depart from me;
I will not know wickedness.
5 Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor,
Him I will destroy;
The one who has a haughty look and a proud heart,
Him I will not endure.
6 My eyes shall be on the faithful of the land,
That they may dwell with me;
He who walks in a perfect way,
He shall serve me.
7 He who works deceit shall not dwell within my house;
He who tells lies shall not continue in my presence.
8 Early I will destroy all the wicked of the land,
That I may cut off all the evildoers from the city of the LORD.

David is the designated author of this one according to the title and is determined to be fully committed to God in this passage. Not only so, he also pledges to keep his people towing the line of righteous living as well. However, from verse 3 to the end of this Psalm, David speaks of how he will deal with the wicked within his kingdom. He sums it up in verse 8, "Early I will destroy all the wicked of the land, That I may cut off all the evildoers from the city of the LORD."

Let’s just praise the Lord! (Psalm 105)

1 ¶ Oh, give thanks to the LORD!
Call upon His name;
Make known His deeds among the peoples!
2 Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him;
Talk of all His wondrous works!
3 Glory in His holy name;
Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the LORD!
4 Seek the LORD and His strength;
Seek His face evermore!
5 Remember His marvelous works which He has done,
His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth,
6 O seed of Abraham His servant,
You children of Jacob, His chosen ones!
7 He is the LORD our God;
His judgments are in all the earth.
8 He remembers His covenant forever,
The word which He commanded, for a thousand generations,
9 The covenant which He made with Abraham,
And His oath to Isaac,
10 And confirmed it to Jacob for a statute,
To Israel as an everlasting covenant,
11 Saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan
As the allotment of your inheritance,”
12 When they were few in number,
Indeed very few, and strangers in it.
13 When they went from one nation to another,
From one kingdom to another people,
14 He permitted no one to do them wrong;
Yes, He rebuked kings for their sakes,
15 Saying, “Do not touch My anointed ones,
And do My prophets no harm.”
16 Moreover He called for a famine in the land;
He destroyed all the provision of bread.
17 He sent a man before them—
Joseph—who was sold as a slave.
18 They hurt his feet with fetters,
He was laid in irons.
19 Until the time that his word came to pass,
The word of the LORD tested him.
20 The king sent and released him,
The ruler of the people let him go free.
21 He made him lord of his house,
And ruler of all his possessions,
22 To bind his princes at his pleasure,
And teach his elders wisdom.
23 Israel also came into Egypt,
And Jacob dwelt in the land of Ham.
24 He increased His people greatly,
And made them stronger than their enemies.
25 He turned their heart to hate His people,
To deal craftily with His servants.
26 He sent Moses His servant,
And Aaron whom He had chosen.
27 They performed His signs among them,
And wonders in the land of Ham.
28 He sent darkness, and made it dark;
And they did not rebel against His word.
29 He turned their waters into blood,
And killed their fish.
30 Their land abounded with frogs,
Even in the chambers of their kings.
31 He spoke, and there came swarms of flies,
And lice in all their territory.
32 He gave them hail for rain,
And flaming fire in their land.
33 He struck their vines also, and their fig trees,
And splintered the trees of their territory.
34 He spoke, and locusts came,
Young locusts without number,
35 And ate up all the vegetation in their land,
And devoured the fruit of their ground.
36 He also destroyed all the firstborn in their land,
The first of all their strength.
37 He also brought them out with silver and gold,
And there was none feeble among His tribes.
38 Egypt was glad when they departed,
For the fear of them had fallen upon them.
39 He spread a cloud for a covering,
And fire to give light in the night.
40 The people asked, and He brought quail,
And satisfied them with the bread of heaven.
41 He opened the rock, and water gushed out;
It ran in the dry places like a river.
42 For He remembered His holy promise,
And Abraham His servant.
43 He brought out His people with joy,
His chosen ones with gladness.
44 He gave them the lands of the Gentiles,
And they inherited the labor of the nations,
45 That they might observe His statutes
And keep His laws.
Praise the LORD!

In this Psalm the unknown author is encouraging the people of Israel to praise the Lord. And why? Just look at everything God has done for our people - enough reason to praise the Lord. The writer gives a rather extensive history lesson on God's gracious provision for Israel down through the centuries from Abraham to the possessing of Canaan. We're reminded in verse 42 that all of God's provisions through those centuries was because of the promise God had made to Abraham. They had a lot to be thankful for, and the Psalmist wants to make certain they realize it.

Following is an outline of the history lesson found in this Psalm:

Some of this psalm is quoted in connection with David’s procession when bringing the ark to Jerusalem (I Chronicles 16:8-22, see notes).