Author: Ethan (A Levite leader, possibly one of the head musicians in the temple or one of his descendants, 1 Chronicles 15:17, 19).
This psalm was written to describe David’s glorious reign. God had promised to make David the mightiest king on earth and to keep his descendants on the throne forever (2 Samuel 7:8-16). However, Jerusalem was destroyed, so these verses look forward to the future reign of Jesus Christ, David’s descendant.
Verse 1 – I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever; with my mouth will I make known Your faithfulness to all generations.
Verse 2 – For I have said, “Mercy shall be built up forever; Your faithfulness You shall establish in the very heavens.”
Verse 3 – “I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn to My servant David;
Verse 4 – Your seed I will establish forever and build up your throne to all generations.” Selah
Verse 5 – And the heavens will praise Your wonders, O Lord; Your faithfulness also in the congregation of the saints.
Verse 6 – For who in the heavens can be compared to the Lord? Who among the mighty can be likened to the Lord?
Verse 7 – God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be held in reverence by all those around Him.
The word “fear” used here is to stand in awe, a holy reverence to the “Most High!” The “afraid”, kind of fear comes from those who don’t know Him.
Verse 8 – O Lord God of hosts, who is mighty like You, O Lord? Your faithfulness also surrounds You.
Verse 9 – You rule the raging sea; when its waves rise, you still them.
Verse 10 – You have broken Rahab (mythological monster) in pieces, as one who is slain; You have scattered Your enemies with Your mighty arm.
Verse 11 – The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours; the world and all its fullness, You have founded them.
Verse 12 – The north and the south, You have created them; Tabor and Hermon rejoice in Your name.
Mount Tabor was where Deborah had her victory in Judges 4. Mount Hermon was a 9,000 feet tall and majestic mountain.
Verse 13 – You have a mighty arm; strong is Your hand, and high is Your right hand.
Verse 14 – Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; mercy and truth go before Your face.
Verse 15 – Blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! They walk, O Lord, in the light of Your countenance.
This is one reason why I love reading and studying the Book of Psalms; it shows me God’s character. Righteousness, justice, love, mercy, and faithfulness are His thrones foundation. If we too, have love and mercy as our foundations, we will begin to imitate our Father’s ways.
Verse 16 – In Your name they rejoice all day long, and in Your righteousness they are exalted.
Did you catch that? In His righteousness the people are exalted. We as born-again believers gained the righteousness of God through Jesus Christ!
Verse 17 – For You are the glory of their strength, and in Your favor our horn is exalted.
Verse 18 – For our shield belongs to the Lord, and our King to the Holy One of Israel.
Israel’s King was a shied given by God to protect and defend God’s people. The king was the servant of God, therefore belonged to God. When God’s Spirit flows through a person, nothing is impossible.
Verse 19 – Then You spoke in a vision to Your holy one, and said, “I have given help to one who is mighty; I have exalted one chosen from the people.
Verse 20 – I have found My servant David; with My holy oil I have anointed him,
Verse 21 With whom My hand shall be established; also My arm shall strengthen him.
Verse 22 – The enemy shall not outwit him, nor the son of wickedness afflict him.
Verse 23 – I will beat down his foes before his face, and plague those who hate him.”
Verse 24 – “But My faithfulness and My mercy shall be with him, and in My name his horn shall be exalted;
Verse 25 – Also I will set his hand over the sea, and his right hand over the rivers.
Verse 26 – He shall cry to Me, ‘You are my Father, My God, and the rock of my salvation.’
Verse 27 – Also I will make My firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth.
While these words fit David, they were fulfilled in Jesus.
Verse 28 – My mercy I will keep for him forever, and My covenant shall stand firm with him.
Verse 29 – His seed also I will make to endure forever, and his throne as the days of heaven.”
The covenant promise is realized through the line of David. The longevity of David’s seed is guaranteed by the Lord, and the eternal rule of David’s dynasty will continue as long as heaven exists.
Verse 30 – “If his son’s forsake My law and do not walk in My judgments,
Verse 31 – If they break My statutes and do not keep My commandments,
Verse 32 – Then I will visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes.
Verse 33 – Nevertheless My loving-kindness I will not utterly take from him, nor allow My faithfulness to fail.
Verse 34 – My covenant I will not break, nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips.
Verse 35 – Once I have sworn by My holiness; I will not lie to David;
Verse 36 – His seed shall endure forever, and his throne as the sun before Me;
Verse 37 – It shall establish forever like the moon, even like the faithful witness in the sky.” Selah
In spite of Israel’s continual disobedience down through history, God’s amazing promise to David remained faithful. Centuries later, the Messiah arrived, the eternal King from David’s line, just as God promised. God is always true to His word. He cannot lie!
Verse 38 – But You have cast off and abhorred, You have been furious with Your anointed.
Verse 39 – You have renounced the covenant of Your servant; You have profaned his crown by casting it to the ground.
This tone of accusation in a series of charges toward Yahweh suggests the psalmist saw his current circumstances as a breach of God’s covenant agreement.
Verse 40 – You have broken down all the hedges; You have brought his strongholds to ruin.
Verse 41 – All who pass by the way plunder him; he is a reproach to his neighbors.
Verse 42 – You have exalted the right hand of his adversaries; You have made all his enemies rejoice.
Jerusalem became vulnerable to enemies through a breach in her defenses. Back in verse 13, the Lord had lifted David high. Now the Lord had lifted high the hand of David’s enemies.
Verse 43 – You have also turned back the edge of his sword, and have not sustained him in the battle.
Verse 44 – You have made his glory cease, and cast his throne down to the ground.
Not only did the Lord empower David’s enemies, but He also removed David’s military power. I remember reading about that last battle David fought, and he was almost killed. After that, he did not go out again.
Verse 45 – The days of his youth You have shortened; You have covered him with shame. Selah
Verse 46 – How long, Lord? Will You hide Yourself forever? Will Your wrath burn like fire?
Verse 47 – Remember how short my time is; for what futility have You created all the children of men?
Verse 48 – What man can live and not see death? Can he deliver his life from the power of the grave? Selah
Now the psalmist is questioning God’s motives in creating man kind and establishing a covenant with David that He seems to be breaking. He just didn’t understand the Lord’s actions.
How often we question the Lord’s actions, on our behalf. When things first start to snowball out of our control, we do a self-examination to see if we did something wrong. Then when we can’t seem to understand why things are happening, we question God. I keep reminding myself there is a bigger picture. The things we go through involve “much more” than just us personally. A lot of time, we don’t see it until we have weathered the storm. However, when you know your God is “All loving, and All good,” you will have the confidence that everything will turn out for your good!
Verse 49 – Lord, where are Your former loving-kindness, which You swore to David in Your truth?
Verse 50 – Remember, Lord, the reproach of Your servants – how I bear in my bosom the reproach of all the many people,
Verse 51 – with which Your enemies have reproached, O Lord, with which they have reproached the footsteps of Your anointed.
Verse 52 – Blessed be the Lord forevermore! amen and Amen.
The psalmist felt like we do sometimes. We can be going along in life, seeing all good, and then “Ba-mm,” the enemy starts attacking in every area. Things start breaking; people start attacking with their talk; relationships can start to crumple.
Here’s what I’ve discovered through experiences. When we want things to stay the same because all is good and comfortable, we forget that every Christian has a calling on their life for God’s Kingdom. When God starts moving us closer to that calling, things will get “turned upside down!” God will get us out of that comfort zone to move us forward. We are not to be lukewarm. When we finally figure out what God is doing and stand in agreement with Him, the enemy will and does kick up the attacks to a higher level. The stronger the attacks, the bigger the victory. The testimony we have when we come out, is all for His glory! It’s so others will see and hear about how Christ sustained us through the storm and the miracles of a way out along the way.
We stand on His Word, because it cannot fail! He is faithful to His children and will uphold each one of us by His right hand. Our position is to keep believing and don’t give up!