Psalm 89:30-37

These verses continue with God’s promise to David (a section begun in verse 19). Sometimes we can have problems with the Bible because of what we think it says rather than what it actually does say. In other words, the problem does not lie in its meaning but in our interpretation. The central dilemma of this Psalm is resolved when we look closely at what God did say. Verses 30 -32 outline what happened. This was the very situation they were wrestling with. But God had said: If they spit on the directions I give them and tear up the rules I post for them – I’ll rub their faces in the dirt of their rebellion and make them face the music. The Message. Here was a very important feature of God’s unconditional covenant with David: if any individual king broke the covenant, that king would be punished (32), and all of Israel would suffer as a result (see 2 Samuel 7:14). But God’s love would not be taken from him (33). That is, his line would not be utterly destroyed.

However, there then comes a reiteration of God’s gracious promise (33-37). There are two important points to hold on to here:

God’s Word is God’s Word: Look at the repetition of my in (30-32). Therefore:

God’s Word is like God Himself: Would it be overdoing it to say that it is His character translated into print? I don’t think so. So, like God Himself, His Word is:

a.)    An inviolable Word (34a);

b.)    An unalterable Word (34b);

c.)     A truthful Word (35b). (God is not a man that He should lie.)

d.)    A loving Word (33a);

e.)     A faithful Word (33b);

f.)      A sure Word (35a). God can swear by no-one greater than Himself (see Hebrews 6:13-20).

Do you think I’d withdraw my holy promise? Or take back words I’d already spoken? I’ve given my word, my whole and holy word; do you think I would lie to David? His family tree is here for good, his sovereignty as sure as the sun, Dependable as the phases of the moon, inescapable as weather. The Message.

Although they could not see it at the time, we know that (36, 37) have been fulfilled in the coming of Jesus. Even when the monarchy had to be destroyed because of continuing sin, David’s line was not destroyed, but would (will!) continue for ever (36). It will do so because the Lord Jesus Christ, the son of David, Son of God, reigns forever in the power of an indestructible life. (Luke 1:32, 33; see Romans 1:1-4 and Hebrews 7:16b).

In ‘Every day with Jesus’ many years ago, Selwyn Hughes ran a series looking at character after character in the Bible, and showing how in each life God’s promise seemed to go into reverse gear for a time, only to be fulfilled at a later date. Let’s not judge by appearances, but seek to understand what God has said and affirm it in the face of apparently contradictory circumstances.