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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 89

Wells of Living Water CommentaryWells of Living Water

Verses 1-37

The Psalm of Worshipful Praise

Psalms 89:1-37


By way of introduction we shall take the first two verses of our study and see what God will give us. Let us quote to you these verses in full. "I will sing of the mercies of the Lord for ever: with my mouth will I make known Thy faithfulness to all generations. For I have said, Mercy shall be built up for ever: Thy faithfulness shalt Thou establish in the very Heavens." With these words before us, let us notice the unique place which praise holds among the children of God.

1. The first praise mentioned in the Bible; that is, the praise which was first. In the Book of Job God is talking unto Job and He says, "Where wast thou when * * the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?" Here was praise away back when God first created the earth. It was then that the morning stars sang. It was then that the sons of God shouted for joy.

2. The praise of deliverance. This was the praise of Moses and Israel when the Children of Israel came through the Red Sea as by dry land. How their shouts of joy and victory must have rung out. Moses and the Children of Israel sang, saying, "I will sing unto the Lord, for He hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath He thrown into the sea. The Lord is my Strength and song and He is become my Salvation." Read in the 15th of Exodus the words of the complete song which they sang.

When they had finished, Miriam, Moses's sister, took a timbrel in her hand, and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances and Miriam answered them, "Sing ye to the Lord, for He hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath He thrown into the sea." Thus she picked up the very words which Moses and the men had sung.

3. The song at the building of the Temple. After Solomon had finished the work, and the time of the dedication of God's House had come, "It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the Lord, saying, For He is good; for His mercy endureth for ever: that then the House was filled with the cloud, even the House of the Lord."

That was, indeed, a glorious day, and how they must have sung with their cymbals and psalteries and their harps.

4. Praises at the rebuilding of the walls. Israel had been in great stress. The enemy had overthrown their city, but in the days of Nehemiah under the patronage of the king, the walls had been repaired. Then it was that all Israel broke forth into singing and in praise. "For Judah rejoiced for the priests and for the Levites that waited. And both the singers and the porters * * were chief of the singers and songs of praises." It was so also in the days of Ezra. It was also the same in the days of their captivity, when the Lord had given deliverance. By the rivers of Babylon, in the days of their captivity, they sat down and wept. They hung their harps upon the willows, and they said, "How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land." When, however, the Lord brings them back from the North and from the South and from the East and the West and puts them once more in their own land, they will indeed shout for joy, and their praise will fill the whole earth.

5. The songs of the Church. From Pentecost the Church has always been filled with the joy of the Lord. Heathendom of today knows nothing of the songs which thrill the saints of God. A life that is filled with the Holy Spirit is a life that is filled with song, even as God hath said, "Be filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,"

6. Singing in the days to come. In the air there will be great convocations of praise, in which both angels and the redeemed of the earth will join together in praising God and the Lamb. With what majestic power and glory will they say, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing." We all shall join in those days in the song of Moses and the Lamb.


Here is God's Covenant with David: "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." There is no doubt at all that Jesus Christ was crucified according to the counsel and foreknowledge of God; but He was also raised from the dead and loosed from the pains of death, because it was impossible that He should be holden of it.

David knew that God had sworn unto him with an oath that He would raise up Christ to sit upon his throne. David believed that what God had promised, He would do. The Covenants of God are unchangeable.

In Acts 17:1-34 are these remarkable words: "He (God) hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by that Man whom He hath ordained; whereof He hath given assurance unto all men, in that He hath raised Him from the dead."

These words mean nothing if they do not mean that God will fulfill His Covenant to David because He hath raised up Christ. The One whom He has raised from the dead He will bring again to the earth to sit on David's throne. Thus will David's throne be established through all generations.

Did not the Lord say, "Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder." Then He added, "Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David,"

Did not the angel Gabriel say to Mary, concerning her Son and Babe, "The Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David: * * and of His kingdom there shall be no end"?

This was God's Covenant which He made with David; David knowing it, came and sat before the Lord and said, "This was yet a small thing in Thy sight, O Lord God." What was a small thing? That the Lord had brought David out of the sheepcote, as a shepherd of his father's sheep, and had made him shepherd-king over Israel. He had brought him hitherto thus far, then David said, "This is a small thing; here then is the big thing." "For Thou hast also spoken of Thy servant's house for a great while to come, and hast regarded me according to the estate of a man of high degree, O Lord God."

The Man of High Degree is none other than Christ who came from on high, even as it is written, that David, "being a Prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that * * He would raise up Christ to sit on his throne." This is the Covenant of our Psalms 89:3 and Psalms 89:4 .


1. The Heavens shall praise Thy wonders, O Lord. This may mean the people in the Heavens, the great host of angels and archangels; the ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousand; the four living ones; the four and twenty elders, the innumerable hosts of the redeemed; all in Heaven shall praise Thee.

For our part, we believe that the very movement of the stars in their orbits praise God, even as the aeolion harp sounds forth the sweetest praise through the vibration caused by the winds.

2. The earth shall praise Him. The congregation of the saints will acclaim His faithfulness. They will say, "Who in the Heaven can be compared unto the Lord? who among the sons of the mighty can be likened unto the Lord?" God is, and always has been, greatly to be feared and greatly to be praised in the assembly of His saints. He is to be had in reverence of all them that love Him.

Let all the earth praise the Lord, the Heavens and the things that are therein, the earth and they that dwell therein. The works of the Lord are honorable and glorious, and His righteousness endureth forever. So we say, "Praise the Lord all ye nations, praise Him all ye people." Praise is comely and whosoever praiseth the Lord glorifies Him.


1. The supreme God. Psalms 89:8 says, "O Lord God of hosts, who is a strong Lord like unto Thee? or to Thy faithfulness round about Thee?" Psalms 89:9 says, "Thou rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise, Thou stillest them." There is, indeed, no God like unto our God. He is great and greatly to be praised. His power leaches from one end of Heaven to the other.

We love to think of God in His authority in nature. We love to watch His power in the dashing of the waves, in the motion of the winds. We cannot help but think of Christ as He has exerted all authority over those things which have to do with nature. God could cause the moon to stand still in the Valley of Ajalon, or He could cause the waves and the winds to be still on the sea of Galilee. God could cause the waters of the Red Sea to divide, or the waters of the Jordan to stand back in a heap. He could send the ravens to feed Elijah, or cause the pot of oil, and the barrel of meal never to fail. Our God has all authority in nature.

We love to see the power of God in the realm of the spiritual, even as Paul said, that ye may know the "exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward, * * when He raised Him (Christ) from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand * * far above all principality and power." We love to consider the power of God as He raised the physically dead, but even more the power of God as He raises those who are dead in trespasses and sins.

Once have I heard this, yea, twice, that power belongs unto God.

2. The call to worship and revere Him. If God is great He is greatly to be feared, and He is to be had in reverence of all them that are about Him. The people of today need to know more of what it is to take off the shoes off their feet. They need to know how to bend their knees in adoration and prayer at His throne. Let all the earth keep silence before Him. At His Name let every knee bow in reverence, and every tongue confess that He is the Christ of God.

IV. THE ALL-RULING GOD (Psalms 89:10-13 )

1. The power of God to undo and scatter His enemies. No arm which is lifted up against the Lord can prosper. God is able to bring down every high look, and everything that lifts up itself, and exalts itself above Him. The second chapter of Isaiah says, "The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down." The same chapter says, "For the Day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low."

The same chapter also says, "The loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day."

2. The strong and mighty arm of God. "The heavens are Thine, the earth also is Thine: as for the world and the fulness thereof, Thou hast founded them. The north and the south Thou hast created them: * * Thou hast a mighty arm: strong is Thy hand, and high is Thy right hand." We wonder to whom the arm of the Lord has been revealed.

His arm is mighty to save. We remember how Peter was sinking in the waves, and Christ stretched forth His hand and rescued him. We remember how He saved us with His mighty arm, and broke the powers that held us bound. Yes, we thank Him for the arm of His salvation.

His arm is mighty to keep. He has said, "Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand." He hath said, "But God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." Where is he who can lay anything to the charge of God's elect? Where is he who can condemn one of God's redeemed? "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?" How marvelous it all is. "In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us." His arm is mighty to keep.

V. ATTRIBUTES OF GOD (Psalms 89:14-17 )

1. "Justice and judgment are the habitation of Thy throne." Our God is a just God and cannot excuse the guilty. If He is to save the lost, He must save them without defeating His justice and judgment. He must save them without laying low the majesty and honor of His Law. God will not, and cannot, forgive the guilty,

2. "Mercy and truth shall go before Thy face." If God is just, how can He be merciful? How can He save the sinner, the guilty? There is only one basis upon which He can be merciful, and that is upon the basis of the Cross. Jesus Christ must take the stripes due to us. He must bear the sin of many. He who knew no sin, must be made sin for us.

3. "In Thy righteousness shall they be exalted." Our God is a righteous God. Abraham said, "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" And God does do right, because righteousness is His raiment.

We stand amazed now because after we read "Justice and judgment are the habitation of Thy throne," we read again, "Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of Thy countenance."

4. In Thy righteousness we rejoice. We are amazed, for as soon as we have considered the righteousness of God, and His glory, we also read, "In Thy Name shall they rejoice all the day." In the light of justice and judgment for sin, in the light of the wrath of God against all unrighteousness, wherein cometh the joyful sound? It is none other than the joyful sound of salvation, born of mercy and of truth.

VI. THE GOD OF ALL BENEFIT (Psalms 89:18-26 )

1. "The Lord is our Defence." Our enemies are swift against us. Satan goeth about seeking whom he may devour. Our Lord, however, is our Place of refuge. He is also our Defense. He undertakes for us. He is our Shield and our Buckler. He is our Rock, the Rock of our salvation. We have nothing to fear, because we are hiding in Him.

2. "The Holy One of Israel is our King." We are the children of His pasture. He is our Ruler, our Lord. We wear His yoke; however, His yoke is easy. We bear His burdens, yet His burdens are light,

3. God is our Benefactor. He anoints us with holy oil; that is, He gives unto us the Spirit the Spirit of love, joy, and peace. He sets us aside for Himself.

God establishes us. It is He who makes our message and service authoritative. It is He who keeps us from wandering.

The Lord strengthens us. He strengthens us with His mighty arm. He clothes us with His power. Be we ever so weak, He says, "I will be with thee."

God is with us in faithfulness. He says, "Great is My faithfulness, it is fresh every morning; it is renewed every evening." God is not only faithful in character, but is faithful to us in all His actions. He is faithful to all His promises.

Psalms 89:25 and Psalms 89:26 say, "I will set his hand also in the sea, and His right hand in the rivers. He shall cry unto Me, Thou art my Father, my God, and the Rock of my salvation." When God speaks unto us He calls us like as a father. We, therefore, may say unto Him, "My Father." We may also call Him, "My God," because there is none other God than He; and we may call Him the Rock of our salvation, because there is no other rock. Thank God for what He is to us, and for all His benefactions.


1. Special promises to David. God is saying something to David His servant, which He will fulfill until the end. When God has spoken, who can draw it back? When God has made a Covenant, who can disannul it? Let us tabulate some of the things pledged to David:

· (1) I will make him my firstborn.

· (2) I will make him higher than the kings of the earth.

· (3) My mercy will I keep for him forevermore.

· (4) My Covenant shall stand fast with him.

· (5) His seed also shall I make to endure forever.

· (6) I will make 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."

· (7) My lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him.

· (8) I will not suffer My faithfulness to fail.

· (9) My Covenant I will not break.

· (10) I will not alter the thing that has gone out of My mouth.

· (11) I have sworn by My holiness that I will not lie unto David.

· (12) His seed shall endure forever.

· (13) His throne shall endure as the sun before Me.

· (14) It shall be established forever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in Heaven.

Let us consider these wonderful Covenant pledges and their certainties in the light of other Scriptures. God was not slow in promising David to establish himself and his seed and his throne. When God sent Nathan to David, Nathan gave this covenant unto him, "And it shall come to pass, when thy days be expired that thou must go to be with thy father, that I will raise up thy seed after thee, which shall be of thy sons; and I will establish his kingdom." Then God said, "I will settle him in Mine House and in My Kingdom for ever: and his throne shall be established for evermore."


Surely we have many things for which to praise God, for we were blind and dumb and dead, all three.

Dr. Goodsell, in one of his meetings in New York, speaking to some reporters over in the corner who were sharpening their pencils and trying to get some news for the next morning's papers, said, "Gentlemen, I have got something that will give you a big headline for tomorrow. The other night three blind men came in here, and their eyes were opened. The other night five deaf men came in here, and their ears were unstopped. The other night four dead men were brought in here, and were raised to life." The reporters stopped sharpening their pencils, and opened their eyes and looked. Then Dr. Goodsell said, "Will those three blind men who had their eyes opened stand up?" And three men stood up. "Will those five deaf men who came in here the other night, and have been hearing ever since, stand up?" And five more men stood up. "Will those four men who were brought in here dead, and were made alive, please stand up?" And they also stood. "Now," said Dr. Goodsell, "we will excuse you reporters while you run out and telephone to your offices that three blind men have received their sight, five deaf men have had their ears unstopped, and four dead men have been made alive again." These up-to-date miracles are being wrought all over the world, demonstrating Romans 1:16 : "The power * * to every one."

Bibliographical Information
Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on Psalms 89". "Living Water". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lwc/psalms-89.html.
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