Tuesday, May 09, 2023

2023.05.09 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 89:1-18

Read Psalm 89:1–18

Questions from the Scripture text: Whose song of instruction (where NKJ says “contemplation”) is this (superscript)? What does he sing that he will do (Psalm 89:1a)? Of what will he sing? Whose? For how long? What will this singing do (verse 1b)? To whom? What shall be built up (Psalm 89:2a)? For how long? What will God establish (verse 2b)? Where? What has the Lord made (Psalm 89:3a)? With whom? Who is this chosen one (verse 3b)? What will God do for David (Psalm 89:4, cf. 2 Samuel 7:11–13)? What offer praise in Psalm 89:5a? What do they praise? What else do they praise (verse 5b)? Where? What does Psalm 89:6a ask? What is the expected answer? How does verse 6b ask the question? How does the assembly of these others think of/treat the Lord (Psalm 89:7)? How does Psalm 89:8a–b ask the question? What data point does verse 8c add? What is it that only Yahweh can do (Psalm 89:9, cf. Mark 4:39–41!)? What has He done to Egypt (“Rahab,” Psalm 89:10a)? And to whom else (verse 10b)? What belong to the Lord in Psalm 89:11a? And what within them (verse 11b)? How does Psalm 89:12a restate this? How does verse 12b express the height of this ownership? What attribute does Psalm 89:13 praise? What attribute does Psalm 89:14b praise? What pair of attributes, commonly held together, does verse 14b praise (cf. Exodus 34:6, John 1:14)? Who are the happiest people (Psalm 89:15a)? What is their living like (verse 15b)? What do they do, when (Psalm 89:16a)? What raises them up (verse 16b)? What (Who!) is the glory of their strength (Psalm 89:17a)? How is their strongest faculty raised up (verse 17b)? What, of theirs, belongs to Whom (Psalm 89:18)?

What is the believer’s greatest happiness? Psalm 89:1–18 looks forward to the opening portion of morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these eighteen verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that the believer’s greatest happiness is God Himself—and that God has given Himself in Christ to be both their salvation and their reward. 

What is heaven like? What is eternal blessedness like? The first four verses of Psalm 89 make it clear that it is answering this question. The singing is forever (Psalm 89:1a). The declaration of praise is to all generations (verse 1b). The building up of covenant love is forever (Psalm 89:2a). The provision of faithfulness is in the heavens (verse 2b). The provision of the Christ King is forever (Psalm 89:4a). The building up of His throne is to all generations (verse 4b). This is a Psalm about joining now that praise that will be forever in heaven.

Heaven is not like a highly refined version of earthly pleasure, or an exceeding quantity of earthly pleasure. 

It is altogether different. The Lord Himself, is the pleasure of heaven. 

In heaven, we find the throne of Christ forever (Psalm 89:3-4). 

In heaven, we find the worship assembly of the saints (Psalm 89:5Psalm 89:7).

In heaven, we find the incomparable glory of God (Psalm 89:6Psalm 89:8).

In heaven, we find that Christ has this very glory that belongs to none other than God (Psalm 89:9). No wonder the disciples were more terrified of the One Who stilled the storm than they had been of the storm itself (cf. Mark 4:39–41)!

In heaven, we find no enemies, for they have all been conquered and destroyed (Psalm 89:10).

In heaven, we find that all things (Psalm 89:11a)—in every part (verse 11b), to the distant riches (Psalm 89:12a), and the greatest heights (verse 12b)—all things are from God and to God and through God, and to Him belongs all the glory!

In heaven, we find the praise of the character of God: His power (Psalm 89:13); His righteousness (Psalm 89:14a); His covenant love and faithfulness (verse 14b). This is that glory in which He abounds (cf. Exodus 34:6). This is that glory which we behold most of all in Christ Himself (cf. John 1:14) as the brightness of His glory (cf. Hebrews 1:3).

Finally, in heaven, we find a people especially suited to heaven. What makes them happy (“blessed” in NKJV) is the joyful sound of all this praise (Psalm 89:15a). Their whole life is an enjoying of the shining of God’s face upon them (verse 15b). His name is what they rejoice in, not just sometimes, but continually (Psalm 89:16a). His righteousness is what raises them up (verse 16b). His glory is what makes them strong (Psalm 89:17a). Heaven is where we find the people who know the Lord as their very own, and who know Him as all their blessedness. This is the sort of person we find in heaven.

But what is heaven most of all? Heaven is where Christ is. It is where God has made Himself known in His Son. He is His people’s horn (their greatest strength, verse 17b), His people’s shield (Psalm 89:18a), and His people’s King (verse 18b). 

The next section of this Psalm (Psalm 89:10-37) is taken up with the promise about Christ from 2 Samuel 7. Great David was a type (a sort of foreshadowing) of his even greater Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, Whose throne would be forever. Then Psalm 89:38-52 cry out under current king, in current chastenings, for the fulfillment of those promises to come.

So this first section prepares us to do similarly in our own circumstances—to embrace Christ as the heavenliness of heaven. Then, we will be prepared to nourish our hearts upon the promises concerning Him as our King, that we might biblically and heartily sing and pray, “Thy kingdom come.” Christ is the heavenliness of heaven!!

What do you think of heaven? How does this Psalm help reshape those thoughts? How often does Christ fill your thoughts now? What use can you make of this Psalm to fill out how you pray the first three petitions of what we commonly call “the Lord’s Prayer”?

Sample prayer:  Lord, we rejoice to join heaven in singing of Your mercies and making known Your faithfulness. We thank You that You have made Jesus Christ, the Son of David, and King of righteousness to be our Great High Priest. In Him, we gather to the throne. And it is He Who sits upon the throne. With the angels, we join by faith those souls of the just who have been perfected, to praise God our Father and Christ our Mediator Whose blood speaks better than Abel’s. There is none like You, O Lord our God, to Whom heaven and earth belong. You have a mighty arm; strong is Your hand, and high is Your right hand. Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; mercy and truth go before Your face. Now, O Lord, we are the happy people who have come before You to know the joyful sound of Your praise. Give us to walk, in this worship service, in the shining light of Your face. Make us to rejoice in Your Name. Indeed, make us to rejoice in Your Son, Whom You have given to be our Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom we come, and in Whose Name we pray, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP89C “Behold How Blessed the People Are” or TPH89B “My Song Forever

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