Thursday, October 8, 2009

10/9- Psalm 89:1-4 Believing the promise in tough times

(destruction of Jerusalem and temple)
Devotional using scripture, quote from John Calvin and thoughts for the day each day- on the 500th anniversary of Calvin's birth.

10/9- Psalm 89:1-4

I will sing of the LORD's great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations.
2 I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you have established your faithfulness in heaven itself.
3 You said, "I have made a covenant with my chosen one, I have sworn to David my servant, 4 'I will establish your line forever and make your throne firm through all generations.'"

Calvin abridged: The Psalmist opens with praising God remembering the Divine covenant, to encourage the faithful to strengthen their faith against the powerful assaults of temptation. When we try to pray and some despairing thought comes up, we must resolve to break through it, lest our hearts fail. He sings amidst adversities so that he doesn’t give up on God’s lovingkindness towards his people. A person won’t praise God unless he is fully persuaded that God, even when he is angry, never lays aside his fatherly affection towards them. 3- “I have made a covenant..with David”- God gives to David two titles of distinction- “his chosen” and “his servant.” David is called “the chosen of God” because God of his own good pleasure, preferred him to Saul descendants and to his own brothers. The origin of the covenant is thus found in divine election. He is called “God’s servant” because of his royal dignity, having been given this office from God. The writer of the psalm applies this covenant to his own use and that of the people. God didn’t just enter this covenant for David alone, but also for the whole Church that would exist from one generation to another. “I will establish they throne forever” is partly to be understood of Solomon and partly to David’s successors. But the prophet knew that the eternal nature of the covenant could only be fulfilled in the eternal Christ. God conferred the sovereign power upon David and his descendants, that they might rule for the common good of all the rest, until the throne might truly be established by the advent of Christ.

Thoughts: The Psalmist was writing out of sadness. Verses 38-45 of Psalm 89 point out that they were in a period of rejection when the walls were broken down. The writer was resolutely reminding himself of God’s covenant promise even if it appeared that the promise was broken. There are times in our lives when we think there is no hope. There are times when we feel as if God has forsaken us because the world falls apart around us in part because of unfaithfulness. David’s descendants had forsaken God, his Sabbaths, and his holiness to go their own way. The punishment of exile was to punish them for forsaking Him (2 Chronicles 36:16-19; Jer. 44:3). Yet there was still hope of restoration (Jer. 33; Isa. 7,9, 40), and even protection of the faithful (like Jeremiah) in the midst of the catastrophe. Even when all around fall away, God still remembers his promises and love. In our day of recession, of despair, loss of faith, and loss of hope, we still should call to mind God’s promises, our hope, and that David’s son is still on the throne.

Prayer: Lord, your promises are faithful and true. Restore us again to you. Strengthen our faith even in times of sorrow.

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