Psalm 89 is a great reminder of the patience needed as Christians try to live for Christ in a very hostile world. As you read this psalm, you can feel the disappointment of the author as he wonders what has happened to the promises of God. He begins the first part with an expression of the faithfulness of God to the Davidic Covenant, and then continues with a repetition of God’s promise to preserve the throne of David to all generations. He reminds us of God’s promise to never recant and thus break this covenant.
The psalmist knows this is true as he wants to maintain his assurance with God, but the present circumstances seem too much until he finally asks, “Lord, where are thy former lovingkindnesses, which thou swarest unto David in truth?” Whatever his present problems, they seemed to overwhelm his patience as he pleads with God to deliver him from his enemies.
This psalm contains many references to Christ because the exalted language could not refer to any other. Especially interesting is verse 27 which says, “Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth.” This takes us beyond David to the King of kings and Lord of lords. He is the firstborn of all creation, meaning He is preeminent over all—He is the highest in rank of all. The promise is that David’s throne would be made higher than all thrones, which will be fulfilled when Christ begins His glorious kingdom on earth.
I thought about our patience for this to happen as I studied for the message this week. When Jesus appeared before Pilate, Pilate asked Him if He was a king. Jesus replied that He was but His kingdom was not an earthly one. He meant that at that time He had no designs on overthrowing Rome or being involved in any type of political insurrection. However, His answer was not a denial that at some point Pilate and all of Rome’s Caesars and all powers on earth would bow to Him. He made this clear to Caiaphas just hours earlier when He said He would sit on the right hand of power and come in the clouds of heaven.
Jesus was patient for this to happen. There were steps to the kingdom that were ordained and each step had to be painstakingly fulfilled before He would claim His crown as the world’s king. His present suffering was one of those steps. We must think of this when we are prone to depression because we have so much suffering to endure. The call for patience is modeled after that of Jesus. Paul wrote that if we die with Him, we shall live with Him; if we suffer with Him, we shall reign with Him. Likewise, there are steps in our lives to be taken before we reach the final reward of our heavenly home. We are encouraged to faithfully endure each of these steps because God’s promise will not fail any more than Christ will fail to sit as the everlasting king on the throne of David.
Remember this as you pray. Pray that Christ’s kingdom will come and God’s will is done. But as you do, be patient and walk the steps God has planned for your Christian life.
Pastor V. Mark Smith