Psalm 89

Faithful Love and the Davidic Covenant



Psalm 89 is a psalm of Ethan the Ezrahite that exalts the faithfulness of God, particularly as it is manifested in the Davidic covenant. However, it also wrestles with the seeming incongruity of God's promises and the reality of the psalmist's time. In light of the New Covenant, we can understand this Psalm as ultimately pointing towards Jesus, the perfect Davidic king, who fulfills God's covenant promises in a way that exceeds expectations.

Section 1: Introduction and God's covenant with David (Vs. 1-4)

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


God's steadfast love and His covenant with David are seen throughout the Bible. The covenant is highlighted in 2 Samuel 7:12-16, where God promises David that his descendants will establish his kingdom.

Talking Points

Section 2: Praise for God's Greatness (Vs. 5-18)

"The heavens praise Your wonders, O LORD— Your faithfulness as well— in the assembly of the holy ones. For who in the skies can compare with the LORD? Who among the heavenly beings is like the LORD? In the council of the holy ones, God is greatly feared, and awesome above all who surround Him. O LORD God of Hosts, who is like You? O mighty LORD, Your faithfulness surrounds You. You rule the raging sea; when its waves mount up, You still them. You crushed Rahab like a carcass; You scattered Your enemies with Your mighty arm. The heavens are Yours, and also the earth. The earth and its fullness You founded. North and south You created; Tabor and Hermon shout for joy at Your name. Mighty is Your arm; strong is Your hand. Your right hand is exalted. Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; loving devotion and faithfulness go before You. Blessed are those who know the joyful sound, who walk, O LORD, in the light of Your presence. They rejoice in Your name all day long, and in Your righteousness they exult. For You are the glory of their strength, and by Your favor our horn is exalted. Surely our shield belongs to the LORD, and our king to the Holy One of Israel."


God's greatness and sovereignty over all creation are seen in passages like Psalm 104, which praises God for His creation. Job 38-41 also underscores God's power and wisdom.

Talking Points

Section 3: God's Promise to David (Vs. 19-37)

"Then you spoke in vision to your saints, and said, “I have given strength to the warrior. I have exalted a young man from the people. I have found David, my servant. I have anointed him with my holy oil, with whom my hand shall be established. My arm will also strengthen him. No enemy will tax him. No wicked man will oppress him. I will beat down his adversaries before him, and strike those who hate him. But my faithfulness and my loving kindness will be with him. In my name, his horn will be exalted. I will set his hand also on the sea, and his right hand on the rivers. He will call to me, ‘You are my Father, my God, and the rock of my salvation!’ I will also appoint him my firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth. I will keep my loving kindness for him forever more. My covenant will stand firm with him. I will also make his offspring endure forever, and his throne as the days of heaven. If his children forsake my law, and don’t walk in my ordinances; if they break my statutes, and don’t keep my commandments; then I will punish their sin with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. But I will not completely take my loving kindness from him, nor allow my faithfulness to fail. I will not break my covenant, nor alter what my lips have uttered. Once I have sworn by my holiness, I will not lie to David. His offspring will endure forever, his throne like the sun before me. It will be established forever like the moon, the faithful witness in the sky.” Selah. '"


God's promise to David is found in various scriptures. One such instance is 1 Chronicles 17:11-14, where God again promises that David's line will have an everlasting kingdom.

Talking Points

Section 4: Lament Over the Broken Covenant (Vs. 38-45)

"But you have rejected and spurned. You have been angry with your anointed. You have renounced the covenant of your servant. You have defiled his crown in the dust. You have broken down all his hedges. You have brought his strongholds to ruin. All who pass by the way rob him. He has become a reproach to his neighbors. You have exalted the right hand of his adversaries. You have made all of his enemies rejoice. Yes, you turn back the edge of his sword, and haven’t supported him in battle. You have ended his splendor, and thrown his throne down to the ground. You have shortened the days of his youth. You have covered him with shame. Selah.”


Other scriptures also depict feelings of abandonment by God. A clear example is Psalm 22, where David cries out to God, feeling forsaken.

Talking Points

Section 5: Plea for Help and Doxology (Vs. 46-52)

"How long, Yahweh? Will you hide yourself forever? Will your wrath burn like fire? Remember how short my time is! For what vanity have you created all the children of men! What man is he who shall live and not see death, who shall deliver his soul from the power of Sheol? Selah. Lord, where are your former loving kindnesses, which you swore to David in your faithfulness? Remember, Lord, the reproach of your servants, how I bear in my heart the taunts of all the mighty peoples, With which your enemies have mocked, Yahweh, with which they have mocked the footsteps of your anointed one. Blessed be Yahweh forever more. Amen, and Amen.” 


Similar pleas can be found elsewhere in the Bible, like Nehemiah 1:8-10, where Nehemiah pleads with God to remember His promises to His people.

Talking Points


The entire Psalm can be seen in light of Jesus Christ and the New Covenant. The Davidic covenant finds its fulfillment in Christ, the ultimate descendant of David, who established an everlasting kingdom through His death and resurrection (Luke 1:32-33). This reflects the faithfulness of God, a major theme of Psalm 89.

The lament over the broken covenant (Section 4) and plea for help (Section 5) also point us to Christ, who on the cross cried out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46), experiencing the ultimate sense of abandonment for our sake. Despite this, He trusted God, just as the psalmist reaffirms trust by ending with a doxology. Through Christ, we are assured that God hears our laments and pleas and will ultimately deliver us.

Thus, Psalm 89 is a powerful testament to God's faithfulness, which is ultimately seen in the person and work of Jesus Christ.