Scripture: Remember, O Lord, how your servants are mocked, and how I bear in my heart the insults of all the many nations, with which your enemies mock, O LORD, with which they mock the footsteps of your anointed. Psalm 89:50-51 ESV
Observation: As theologian J. A. Grant notes, Book 3 (Psalms 73–89) of our biblical Psalter primarily voices anguish over the destruction of the temple and the fall of Jerusalem. But the author of this last psalm of Book 3 (Ethan the Ezrahite) stands alone in addressing his concern that Yahweh has not upheld the Davidic covenant: that an anointed one in the kingly line of David would rule over all the nations and establish his eternal kingdom. Ardent for the restoration of the monarchy, Ethan addresses God with a progression of thoughts and feelings that segment into three parts:
- The Lord’s covenantal faithfulness to his people (verses 1–18)
- A reflection on the Davidic covenant (verses 19–37)
- A lament over the demise of the Davidic kingdom (verses 38–51)
Beginning with a declaration of praise (verse 1), Ethan segues to a reminder of God’s promises (verse 19) and then boldly questions the Lord’s actions (verse 38) and steadfast love (verse 49). In despair, Ethan then pleads to Yahweh to remember and address his enemies who insult and mock his “anointed” (verses 50-51). Finally, he abruptly and wisely concludes with a benediction (verse 52): Blessed be the LORD forever! Amen and Amen.
Takeaway: After four centuries of silence (during the inter-testimonial period), the Lord would indeed remember his covenant to David: sending the Anointed One to establish his eternal kingdom over all nations—but not in a militaristic manner as most Israelites expected. Jesus would preach the good news of forgiveness of sins to any who would trust in him—thus extending his spiritual realm to all nations for all generations until his return.
But what are we to learn from Ethan’s psalm? First, patience. God is faithful in the silence. He will address our concerns with perfect timing and accomplish his transformational work in us while we wait. Secondly, our gracious God welcomes us to voice to him our anguish and doubts in the waiting. But when we regress to complaints and accusations, his Holy Spirit will kindly reveal our impertinence, reminding us of our Lord’s sacrificial love for us exhibited in the life, death, and resurrection of his Son. And when convicted, we would do well to follow Ethan’s example and change our tone to that of praise: Blessed be the LORD forever! Amen and Amen.
Prayer: Father God, we thank you for fulfilling your Covenant of Grace in sending us your Son to rescue us from sin and spiritual death. Meanwhile, would you please help us trust that you are faithfully accomplishing your good purposes for our and our loved ones’ lives in seasons of silence? Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling