Let’s turn now to Psalm eighty-seven, as we continue our study through the Bible. The eighty-seventh psalm is devoted really to the extolling of the city of God, Jerusalem. It then moves in, more or less, to the New Jerusalem. That city in which the earthly Jerusalem is a foreshadowing of the New Jerusalem that will be coming down from God out of heaven.
HIS foundations [Jerusalem] is in the holy mountains (87:1).
God has laid the foundations of Jerusalem there in the mountains of Judea.
The LORD loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob (87:2).
The city of Jerusalem was God’s preference for the place for the Ark of the Covenant to rest. God prefers that above Shiloh where the Ark once rested, Kirjath Jearim where the Ark later rested and Jerusalem is the place where God has chosen for the Ark of the Covenant. He prefers that. He loves the gates more than all the dwellings of Jacob.
Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God (87:3).
God has spoken marvelous things of Jerusalem. In the word it is a place that God has chosen to place his name.
I will make mention of Rahab (87:4).
Rahab actually means pride or insolence. In this psalm and in psalm eighty-nine, it is a reference to Egypt. You tie that in with Isaiah fifty-one nine and you see that Rahab is a reference to Egypt.
I will make mention of Rahab [Egypt] and Babylon to them that know me: behold Philistia, and Tyre, with Ethiopia; this man was born there(87:4).
Those that were born in Egypt were proud of it; “I’m an Egyptian”. Those who were born in Babylon were proud of that and so on. They were proud of their place of birth, “I was born there”.
And of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born in her: and the highest himself shall establish her (87:5).
God will establish Zion or Jerusalem above the other places. Now going on to the New Jerusalem, the heavenly, Revelation twenty-one.
The LORD shall count, when he writeth up the people, that this man was born there (87:6).
Here’s a reference to the day when the Lord will count and write up the people. That is, the final census as God counts those that are his. There is a Book of Life of which the scripture speaks of in several places. In this Book of Life, God has written the names of those who shall share in the eternal glory of his kingdom. In several places you’ll find in the scriptures the Book of Life mentioned, “whose names” it said are “written in the Book of Life”.
There is that old hymn, “Is my name written there?” It really shouldn’t be a question in your mind. You should know. You should have the assurance that my name is written in the Book of Life. The Bible tells us that those who have believed in Jesus Christ, those who have confessed him as his Lord and Savior, their names are written in this Book of Life. So the Lord will count when he writes the people, he writes their names in the Book of Life. “That this man was born there” (87:5). My name is in the Book of Life by virtue of my new birth in Christ.
As well the singers as the players on instruments shall be there: (87:7).
It’s sort of speaking of that glorious precession. The singers going before singing praises to the Lord followed by those playing the instruments. It is a religious kind of precession.
all my springs are in thee (87:7).
God is the source of my life. I draw my life from him, “all my springs are in thee” (87:7). Surely that is something that every child of God should be able to declare, that the roots of our lives go down to draw from him; all of our springs are in thee.
The eighty-eighth psalm is perhaps one of the most mournful of all of the psalms. Quite often the psalmist will start out, in his prayer to the Lord, in distress and his soul is troubled. He is facing circumstances that are difficult. He doesn’t understand but usually half way through the psalm there comes then the expressions of joy and of confidence that the Lord has heard my prayer, the Lord will answer and the Lord will establish. There’s that hope.
The psalms usually end on a high not though they often begin in the low kind of a deep experience of hardship. They usually will turn and end on a note of hope and expression of God is going to work and deliver. Not in this psalm. It starts on a low note and goes lower. For you who are deeply melancholy you’ll be able to identify with the psalmist in the particular psalm. He doesn’t pull out of it, he stays down. Thus it’s a rather doleful psalm indeed. The most encouraging and hopeful thing of the whole psalm is the very first phrase.
O LORD God of my salvation, (88:1).
That’s the only thing that is hopeful at all. From here on it’s just down.
I have cried day and night before thee: Let my prayer come before thee: incline thine ear unto my cry; (88:1-2).
The declaration that I’ve been praying about this situation: “Let my prayer come before thee: incline thine ear: (88:2), “God listen to me” the psalmist is pleading.
For my soul is full of troubles: and my life draweth nigh unto the grave (88:3).
From the psalm itself, it’s very possible the fellow was dying. You see, they didn’t have the same hope of eternal life that we have. The idea of living with the Lord in the glories of his kingdom was not something that was revealed to any great extent in the Old Testament. There was that belief and hope in the resurrection but not much knowledge about it.
In the New Testament, through Jesus Christ and actually through the resurrection of Jesus Christ through Jesus taking away our sin, the sting of death has been removed. So that Paul said, “O grave, where is thy victory? O death where is thy sting?” The sting of death was in sin but the Lord Jesus Christ has removed it. We don’t need to have this same attitude as though death is a victory of the enemy. It is the triumph of the child of God. It is the coronation day; it’s the crowning day. I’m moving towards that crowning day of my life.
Jesus made mention over and over of the day when the son of man was to be glorified and that was always a reference to his death. That through death he was glorified. So f or the child of God it is the coronation day. Death is not some horrible monstrous thing that is going to overtake us and bring us down into the jaws of death and into the darkness of the deeps as the psalmist is expressing. As Paul said, “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain. I’m in a straight betwixt too. I have a desire to be part and to be with Christ which is far better. Yet I know that you still need me for awhile so I’ve got to hang around”. The he said,
“For we know who are in these bodies do often groan, earnestly desiring to be freed from the restriction of the body. Not that I would be an unembodied spirit but I might be clothed upon with a body which is from heaven. For we know that as long as we are living in these bodies we are absent from the Lord but we would choose rather to be absent from these bodies that we might be present with the Lord.”
So the child of God has a totally different attitude because through Jesus Christ we have totally new understanding. He said,
“I am the resurrection and the life. He that believeth in me though he were dead yet shall he live and if you live and believe in me you will never die.”
So I move from the old tent into the house. I don’t die, I just move and this corruption puts on incorruption and this mortal puts on immortality. Death doesn’t have the heavy, heavy connotation that it did in the Old Testament.
I am counted with them that go down into the pit: (88:4).
People already think of me as dead.
I am as a man that hath no strength: (88:4).
He is feeble, weak.
Free among the dead, (88:5).
That is, no longer a slave but I am as those who are free among the dead.
like the slain that lie in the grave, whom thou rememberest no more: and they are cut off from thy hand (88:5).
He felt that death would be that God just forgets about you once you die. Man forgets about you, I’m remembered no more. God doesn’t even remember me. They are cut off from thy hand.
Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deeps (88:6).
It gets worse.
Thy wrath lieth hard upon me, and thou hast afflicted me with all thy waves (88:7).
The Bible says, “Thy billows have gone over me”.
Thou hast put away mine acquaintance afar from me; thou hast made me an abomination unto them: I am shut up, and I cannot come forth (88:8).
It sounds like some of the complaints of Job in his book.
Mine eye mourneth [failing] by reason of affliction: LORD, I have called daily upon thee, I have stretched out my hands unto thee (88:9).
Still there is this affliction. God, it seems, has not answered. He still is pining away though he has called unto the Lord and though he has stretched out his hands to God, he still has not had any reprieve or relief.
Wilt thou shew wonders to the dead? shall the dead arise and praise thee? (88:10).
If he only knew, yes. “Every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is the Lord”.
Shall thy lovingkindness be declared in the grave? or thy faithfulness in destruction? Shall thy wonders be known in the dark? and thy righteousness in the land of forgetfulness? But unto thee have I cried, O LORD; and in the morning shall my prayer prevent [come before] thee. LORD, why castest thou off my soul? why hidest thou thy face from me? (88:11-14).
There is this despair though he had prayed about this situation. There seems to be no change, no difference, it just goes on and thus the discouragement. God isn’t hearing. God isn’t answering. Nothing has changed. I’ve cried unto the Lord and he’s cast me off, he’s hiding his face from me.
I am afflicted and ready to die from my youth up: (88:15).
It seems like this was something that had been a condition that had existed through his life.
while I suffer thy terrors I am distracted. Thy fierce wrath goeth over me; thy terrors have cut me off. They came round about me daily like water; they compassed me about together (88:15-17).
Your fierce wrath and terrors have overwhelmed me. I’m drowning. I’m going under.
Lover and friend hast thou put far from me, and mine acquaintance into darkness (88:18).
That’s it. I mean the guy’s gone. There’s no hope in this one. It’s just a complaint unto the Lord for he sees no resolving of the problem. He sees no hope. He dies in despair. Let’s hope though that things changed before he died.
This is a very mournful psalm indeed. I don’t like it. I’m glad that we have the New Testament revelation of the hope of our calling Christ Jesus. I’m glad hat I don’t look with dread and horror at death. I don’t look at death as just the end. Really there are so many things that God has in store for those that love him. The glories of his eternal emotions. The desire to depart and to be with Christ which is far better yet the pulls that we have here from family, loved ones and friends that make you want to stay a little longer to minister and help and to be of comfort and cheer. But when I go to be with the Lord, how marvelous that is going to be. Ours is a whole different outlook. As Peter said,
“Thanks be unto God by whom we have been born again to a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead to an inheritance that is incorruptible, undefiled, fades not away that is reserved in heaven for you who are dept by the power of God through faith.”
The psalmist didn’t know that hope you see. That’s why there is such a despair here. He didn’t know the hope that we have in Jesus Christ or else he would have ended the psalm on a far different note.
Psalm eighty-nine is an interesting psalm because it starts out with singing the promises that God made to David concerning the kingdom. How David was going to reign and how his seed and posterity would continue. Yet the psalm was written after the captivity when the throne was empty and it seems as though God did not keep the covenant that he had made with David.
It starts out on a high-note but it ends with a question. “Lord, in as much as you promised to David, how is it that you have not kept [fulfilled] that promise?” Now it must be noted that the doubt was in the psalmists’ mind because he didn’t see the whole picture and we’re prone to judge the story from that place where we are tonight and we happen to be perhaps in a dark chapter and everything is coming down. It looks like it’s all over and I’m prone to make my judgement from this point of the story but I haven’t come to the next chapter yet. In the next chapter, things begin to unravel and I begin to see. By the time I get to the end it’s glorious. You see, you go through some dark valleys before you get this mountain top.
What the psalmist did not understand is that God gave the promises to David, he made the covenant with David and that covenant with David shall be fulfilled though the progeny of David was cut off from the throne from the Babylonian captivity after Zerubbabel. Yet the promise was made to David’s seed Jesus Christ and Jesus shall reign as King of kings and Lord of lords.
“Jesus shall reign where ever the sun doth her successive journeys run. He shall reign forever and ever upon the throne of David to order it and to establish it in righteousness and in justice from henceforth even forever.”
The psalmist didn’t understand that, he didn’t see that and thus his complaint or his thought really “God you failed. You haven’t kept your promise”. How many times I think that we are prone to judge God before we understand or see the total picture and say “Lord you haven’t kept your promise. Lord, where were you? Lord you failed”. We haven’t seen yet the total picture and we are prone to judge prematurely before we see the whole picture, realizing that God did keep the promise to David for the promise was to David’s seed and that seed was Jesus Christ.
Jesus shall come and he shall reign on the throne of David forever. That is yet to be fulfilled. We haven’t got to the final chapter even yet but we have further enlightenment from the word of God concerning that final chapter that is coming. So again we are in a completely different position from than the psalmist.
I WILL sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations (89:1).
The mercies of God, the faithfulness of God. Surely they are themes for our psalms.
For I have said, Mercy shall be built up for ever; thy faithfulness shalt thou establish in the very heavens (89:2).
The mercy, the faithfulness of God.
I have made a covenant with my chosen, (89:3).
Now he is reminding God of what God has said. God makes a declaration.
I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant. Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations (89:3-4).
God is faithful, God is merciful and God has made the covenant with David. He has sworn to David that his seed will be established forever and God will build up the throne to all generations. The fact that they were presently in captivity and the throne in Jerusalem was empty caused the psalmist to feel that somehow God had failed. He goes on though to talk more of this.
When you get to the Selah often times that brings you to the end of what is known as the strophe. In other words, this is your first thought. Now it moves into a slightly different movement as the psalm goes on. Quite often the Selah gives you the break of thought and a new movement in the psalm.
And the heavens shall praise thy wonders, (89:5).
The heavens there isn’t a reference to just the sky but it is those who are in the heavens, the angels.
And the heavens [angels] shall praise thy wonders, O LORD: thy faithfulness also in the congregation of the saints. For who in the heaven can be compared unto the LORD? who among the sons of the mighty can be likened unto the LORD? (89:5-6).
God stands alone, unique, he is without comparison, he is the infinite and eternal God. Being the infinite there is no grounds for comparison for the finite. The disparity between the two is so great that you cannot make analogies or comparisons really that will hold.
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 (89:7).
Our worship of God, our standing in awe of God.
I sort of question this palsy kind of relationship that people profess to have with God, “My good buddy” and “The man upstairs”. I think that come from a lack of understanding in man of the awesomeness of God, of who he is and of his nature that a person could speak in that kind of a flippant or palsy way concerning God.
O LORD God of hosts, who is a strong LORD like unto thee? or to thy faithfulness round about thee? (89:8).
The incomparable God.
Thou rulest the raging of the sea: when he waves thereof arise, thou stillest them (89:9).
Does that remind you of anything in the New Testament? Remember when Jesus was going across with his disciples to Gennesaret and the storm came up? Jesus was asleep in the back part of the boat and the disciples were trying to bail the water out. Finally they were in a losing cause, the boat was filling. It was sinking, getting lower, the water is now sloshing over and every wave is inundating the thing. They came back to Jesus who was there asleep and said, “Master don’t you care that we’re perishing?” He stood up and rebuked the wind and the waves and immediately there was a great calm.
Thou rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them (89:9).
The winds and the waves obey his voice.
Thou hast broken Rahab [Egypt] in pieces, as one that is slain; thou hast scattered thine enemies with thy strong arm. The heavens are thine, he earth also is thine: as for the world and the fulness thereof, thou hast founded them (89:10-11).
God you rule over the heavens, you rule over the earth and you’ve established them.
The north and the south thou hast created them: Tabor and Hermon [the east and the west] shall rejoice in thy name. Thou hast a mighty arm: strong is thy hand, and high is thy right hand (89:12-13).
As causes for praise.
Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face. Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance (89:14-15).
Now the psalm is all upbeat you notice. It’s glorious. Telling of the glories of God, the greatness of God, the power of God, the justice of God and the truth and the mercies of God. How blessed are the people that know the Lord, that know the joyful sound of his glory and presence “they shall walk O LORD, in the light of thy countenance” (89:15).
In thy name shall they rejoice all the day: and in thy righteousness shall they be exalted. For thou art the glory of their strength: and in thy favour our horn shall be exalted. For the LORD is our defense; and the Holy One of Israel is our king (89:16-18).
Who is the Holy One of Israel? Even Jesus our king.
Then thou spakest in vision to thy holy one, and saidst, I have laid help upon one that is mighty; I have exalted one chosen out of the people. I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him: (89:19-20).
Lord you’re great, you’re marvelous, you’re it. You are the Lord, you are incomparable. However you have established David, you’ve anointed him with your holy oil. Remember how Samuel came down with house of Jesse? He asked to see his sons and one by one God rejected the sons of Jesse until David was finally brought in. He took the oil and poured it over David. Anointed by God over Israel.
With whom my hand shall be established: mine arm also shall strengthen him (89:21).
God’s promise to David, I’ll establish him and I will strengthen him.
The enemy shall not exact upon him; (89:22).
That is he will not fall to the enemies and have to pay tribute to the enemies. The exacting of a tribute or a tax.
Nor the son of wickedness afflict him (89:22).
He will be victorious over the wicked.
And I will beat down his foes before his face, and plague them that hate him (89:23).
As you follow the story of the life of David, God did anoint him, God did bless him and God did give him victory over his enemies. God did give him victory over the wicked, over Absalom and others that had devised to David’s hurt. God did beat down his foes.
But my faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him: and in my name shall his horn [power] be exalted. I will set his hand also in the sea, and his right hand in the rivers (89:24-25).
That is I’ll expand the territory in which he rules over, which the Lord did.
He shall cry unto me, Thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation. Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth (89:2-27).
This is where the psalmist takes a leap from David and begins to speak of the seed of David, Jesus Christ the Messiah.
Also I will make him my firstborn, (89:27).
The firstborn in the Hebrew does not reference to the firstborn as we think of it in English. I’m the firstborn son of my parents but in Hebrew I would not necessarily be the firstborn. The firstborn in the Hebrew is the one of first prominence of those who are born.
Remember the story of Ephraim and Manasseh? Manasseh was the older of the two brothers, Ephraim was the younger. When Joseph brought his two sons Ephraim and Manasseh to his father Jacob, the old patriarch, to receive this patriarchic blessing he brings his two sons. Joseph, as he brings the sons, brings Ephraim on the right side of power, will be upon the older son Manasseh and the left hand would be upon the younger son Ephraim. As Jacob goes to bless them he crosses his hands. Joseph says, “No, no dad that’s wrong. He’s the older one” and he said, “I know son. I know. For Ephraim is going to prevail,” going to be greater than Manasseh. Later on God said, “I have called Ephraim my firstborn” though Manasseh was born before Ephraim still Ephraim was going to excel.
The firstborn is the one who excels above the others. Not necessarily speaking of the time of birth born before the other but the one who excels above the other. So the descendent Jesus Christ, the one who is the first born.
Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth (89:27).
The exalted place of Jesus Christ wherefore God has give to him a name that is above every name. “At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess” and in Revelation that glorious Hallelujah chorus “King of kings and Lord of lords forever and ever hallelujah”.
My mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him (89:27).
Who? With Jesus. The covenant that he made with David will be fulfilled in Jesus. The mercies will be upon Jesus.
His seed also will I make to endure for ever, (89:29).
Who is his seed? You and I born of Jesus Christ. In John it says, “Whosoever is born of God does not practice or live habitually in sin for his seed is in him and he cannot practice sin”. I am born of God, born again through Jesus Christ and thus his seed also will I make to endure forever. I’m going to live forever with my Lord. A glorious promise.
and his throne as the days of heaven. If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments; If they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments; Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes (89:29-32).
If you’re a child of God and you begin to stray, God is going to chasten you. If you have been able to get away with wickedness and evil then be careful, look out for he chastises every son who he receives. If you can do evil and get by with it then it would be a strong indication that you’re not really a son of God. God holds you to a higher standard than to others. Others may be able to get by with it. Others are ripping off the company, they’re carrying tools home in their lunch pails and you try it and the alarm goes off, you get caught and you get fired. You say, “That’s not fair! That’s not fair! I only tried it once and I got caught”. God’s not going to let you get by with it. You’re his child, that’s different you see. They’re not his children, they can get by with it. Being a child of God, God will visit you with a rod.
Nevertheless my lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail (89:33).
God, in his faithfulness, brings us back. He chastises us, yes. We go through the experience of the rod, yes. The chastening process is yes. It’s to bring me back into that fellowship with him. God’s faithfulness in the correction of his children. That’s why I am not to despise the chastening of the Lord “for whom the Lord loves he chastens” the sign of God’s love for me.
My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips. Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David. His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me (89:34-36).
God said it, “I’ve sworn”. The psalmist is reminding God that this is what he said.
It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven (89:37).
That’s it, Selah, the end of it. God you’ve sworn it, you’ve declared it.
But thou hast cast off and abhorred, thou hast been wroth with thine anointed. Thou hast made void the covenant of they servant: thou hast profaned his crown by casting it to the ground (89:38-39).
I don’t understand God. This is what you have said, this is what you have declared. You are the Lord, you’re in comparable and you’re faithful and yet Lord, look at the desolation. The seed of David has been cut off. There’s not one on the throne. He is judging from incomplete knowledge. A thing that we are prone to do but is always a dangerous thing to do. Get all of the facts before making your judgement. We are so prone to be hasty in condemning God because of the things that are transpiring in our lives that we don’t understand at the moment.
Thou hast made void the covenant of thy servant: thou hast profaned his crown by casting it to the ground. Thou hast broken down all his hedges; thou hast brought his strong holds to ruin (89:39-40).
The hedges were placed along the vineyards to protect them. The hedges are broken down. A wall of protection has been broken down. The strongholds are lying in ruins. Jerusalem was wasted, the walls of the city were destroyed.
All that pass by the way spoil him: he is a reproach to his neighbors (89:41).
It became a place of people going in and just ripping off stuff. They go in and go through the rubble and rip off whatever might be there. The city was spoiled and it was a reproach to the neighbors round about.
Thou hast set up the right hand of his adversaries; thou hast made all his enemies to rejoice. Thou hast also turned the edge of his sword, and hast not made him to stand in the battle (89:42-43).
Yet God had promised that he would not be afflicted by the sons of wickedness and that he would beat down his foes. Yet, Lord, it seems like the opposite has happened.
Thou hast made his glory to cease, and cast his throne down to the ground. The days of his youth hast thou shortened : thou hast covered him with shame (89:44-45).
The psalmist is declaring his frustration because he can’t put two and two together and it did not equal in four. Here’s the faithfulness of God, the mercies of God, the promises of God, the greatness of God, the power of God and the covenant of God and yet here is Jerusalem torn down. The throne is empty, the place is in ruins and he can’t balance it.
Going into the final strophe of the psalm now. It’s sort of a plea of “Lord when are you going to do something and when are things going to change?
How long, LORD? wilt thou hide thyself for ever? shall thy wrath burn like fire? Remember how short my time is: wherefore hast thou made all men in vain? (89:56-57).
Lord, is this going to be it? Is this the destiny? Why have you made men in vain? Why have you created this emptiness?
What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? (89:48).
Seems like life is so short, we’re cut off and we don’t see the fulfillment of the purposes of the promise of God.
shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave? (89:48).
God promised that the seed of David would be there forever. Who is he that doesn’t die? Who is it that could come forth from the grave? I know but I have the whole story.
Lord, where are thy former lovingkindnesses, which thou swears unto David in thy truth? Remember, Lord, the reproach of thy servants; how I do bear in my bosom the reproach of all the mighty people: (89:49-50).
God, they are reproaching us. We are a curse, we are a by-word and we have to take all kinds of guff from these people.
Wherewith thine enemies have reproached, O LORD; wherewith they have reproached the footsteps of thine anointed (89:51).
That is really the end of the psalm. This last is just an appendage, which brings us to the close of the third book with the psalms. Each of the books of the psalms ends with this Amen and Amen.
Blessed be the LORD for evermore. Amen, and Amen (89:52).
That’s the appendage. The psalm actually ends with sort of the plaintive cry of “Lord, why have they reproached the footsteps of thine anointed?” (89:51). The cry of the psalmist is really a legitimate cry in that from the circumstances that he can see at this point, it would seem that God had broken the covenant with David and the word of God. If God doesn’t come through by Friday then I know that he doesn’t answer prayer because Friday is the deadline. If it doesn’t happen by Friday then it’s too late.
Mary and Martha had set a deadline for Jesus to get there because their brother Lazarus was so sick. So they sent the message down to Jericho “Come quickly, the one you love is very sick”. Jesus dabbled around the Jordan River for two days and then he said to his disciples, “Well let’s go on up to Bethany and see Lazarus”. By the time he go to Bethany when Martha saw him and came down the road to meet him she said, “Lord, if you only would have been here my brother wouldn’t have died. You are too late. While he was still alive you could have done something. Didn’t you get our message? It said to come quickly. What took you so long? You’re late”. Have you ever felt that about the Lord? “You had your chance Lord. Where were you? Why didn’t you show up?”
Jesus said, “Your brother will rise again”. “I know in the last day in the great resurrection.” “No, I am the resurrection and the light and he that believeth on me though he were dead yet shall he live. He who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” “Well ya.” “Where did you bury him?” “Come on I’ll show you.” When they got there he said, “Roll the stone away” and they said, “Oh no Lord we cant’ do that. It’s been four days and it smells pretty bad by now”. She had just said that she believed that he was the resurrection and the light. She was confessing to believe in something she didn’t even know what he was talking about. Then he cried, “Lazarus come forth!” and here he came hoping out bound in the grave clothes. He said, “Untie him. Let him go”.
Too late? Never for the Lord. He didn’t meet Martha’s deadline. He doesn’t always meet our deadlines. Here the psalmist from this position of partial knowledge he could not understand. He couldn’t put it together. God is faithful, God has made a covenant, God is true to his covenant, God is just, God is merciful and he promised that the seed of David would be on the throne forever and that God would establish him. Yet here it’s cut off. Jerusalem is in ruins. The seed of David is being carried away captive to Babylon and he can not understand it, he can’t put it together.
There was a prophecy by Jacob on his death bed as he more or less prophesied over his twelve sons. When he came to Judah he spoke of the fact that Judah would be the ruling tribe. “The scepter shall not depart from Judah until Shiloh come” or until the Messiah comes. The interesting thing is that Roman government, in about the year 10 AD, took from the Jews the power of capital punishment. The Jews interpreted that action of Rome as having taken away from them the authority to govern. There were the priests that went through the streets of Jerusalem with sackcloth and ashes mourning over the fact that God’s word had failed. The promises of God had failed. The scepter had departed from Judah and the Messiah had not come. Little did they know that in Nazareth the Messiah was growing up. He had come. They didn’t know it.
Judging from partial knowledge is always a dangerous thing. It is important that we have all of the facts before we make a judgement. The psalmist, not understanding all of the facts, had a difficult time because it seemed like the promises of God and the covenant that God had made with David had failed. God had kept and has kept that covenant. It is in Jesus Christ. Though, even yet, he is not reigning, he will. We pray, “Thy kingdom come and thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven”. I am fully convinced that before very long we are going to see God’s covenant with David fulfilled when Jesus, that branch out of Judah, shall come and shall establish God’s kingdom and he shall reign forever and ever, hallelujah.
The mistake that the psalmist made is one that we make but we must not make it. Let’s not judge the story until we read the final chapter and we find that God rules over all.
Father we thank You for your word, a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. May we walk Father in its light, in Jesus name.
Now may the Lord be with you and watch over and keep you this week. I pray that God will just really make this a very special week and I pray that the Lord will take these unresolved issues and questions, the areas of difficulty that you’ve been going through and have left questions in your mind. I pray that you might see a lot of these issues resolved as God begins his work and you see that plan of God and the purpose of God, even through these difficult circumstances. I pray that, if you’re straying, the Lord will prove his love by bringing the rod down with you and bring you into line with himself, with his purpose and with his plan for your life. For faithful are the wounds of a friend. May God bless you and give you a glorious week walking with Jesus.
Edited & Highlighted from “The Word For Today” Transcription, Pastor Chuck Smith, Tape #7194