Today we begin with Psalm 67. It is a song of praise for God, but has overtones of the final dwelling place of man with God. The prayer that God’s face would shine upon the Psalmist and his people (67:1 – see Num 6:24-26) refers to the presence of God.1 Here, His presence is with His people, and the people are everyone on the earth (the New Heaven and the New Earth). God’s way is known “on earth” and the power of His salvation among “all nations” (v. 2 – see Titus 2:11). All the peoples praise God (v. 3, 5). The nations are glad because of God’s guidance (or leadership – v. 4). The earth has given up its harvest to God (see Ezek 34:27) and He will bless it (vv. 5-6). All the ends of the earth fear God (v. 7).
Psalm 77 is a lament Psalm, perhaps written during the Babylonian captivity. The Psalmist reflects on the Exodus and prays that God would act again on behalf of His people. The Psalmist is overcome with sadness, so he ceaselessly prays to God (77:1-3). He doesn’t even know what to pray for at times (v. 4). The Psalmist reflects on “the days of old” (v. 5). This sometimes refers to the Exodus (as in Isa 51:9), sometimes the taking of the land (as in Ps 44:1), often it is a metaphor for future salvation (see Jer 46:26, Amos 9:11). In any case, it is about the salvation that God provides.
As the Psalmist reflects on God’s salvation (v. 6), He realizes that God has not changed. All the questions in verses 7-9 are rhetorical. The answer to each is “no.” So the Psalmist appeals to the saving character of God (v. 10), and hopes in Him as Savior, remembering His deeds of salvation (vv. 11-15). God judged the wicked and saved His people, and He will do so again (vv. 16-20). This is what we need to remember in our trials and suffering.
Psalm 80 may have also been written during the captivity. God is addressed as a Shepherd (80:1 – see Ezek 34:22-24), and the Psalmist calls on Him for salvation for all of Israel (v. 2). He prays that God would restore Israel to His presence (v. 3). The writer recognizes that God has given them what they have earned (vv. 4-6) and again prays that He would bring them back to His presence (v. 7). In verse 8, the Psalmist uses the vine imagery God used when He pronounced judgment on Judah (see Isa 5:1, Jer 2:21) and when He spoke of planting them in the land (vv. 9-11 – see Ezek 17:5-6). God has brought about the punishment He promised (vv. 12-13).
The Psalmist then repents on behalf of the nation (vv. 14-15). He calls for judgment on their enemies (Babylon – v. 16). If God would just turn back to them and save them (v. 17) they would never again turn from Him (v. 18). The Psalm ends with another plea for God to bring them back to His presence (v. 19).
Psalm 89 is a Psalm of praise and exaltation. The Psalmist praises God for His hesed love (89:1-2), citing the Davidic Covenant as proof of His love (vv. 3-4). The writer then directs the reader to heaven. Even the assembly of angels in heaven praise God (v. 5). No other heavenly being (angels or false gods) are like God (v. 6). Even the divine council fears God (v. 7). There is no god like Him (v. 8 – see Ex 8:10, 20:3).
The Psalmist then brings God’s sovereignty into focus. He sustains the world (v. 9), judges nations (v. 10), created the world (vv. 11-12), has all the power (v. 13), and is alone just and righteous (v. 14). True blessing is living in His presence (v. 15). By His grace He blesses and protects those that are in His presence (vv. 17-18). The declaration “of old” (usually speaking of God’s salvation – see above) that David would be exalted (v. 19) and anointed (v. 20) so that he could establish God’s plan (v. 21) has application to Jesus.
Verses 22-37 more appropriately apply to Jesus than to David. Christ was not humbled by His enemies (v. 22). Rather, He humbled Himself. He carried with Him the faithfulness and hesed love of YHWH and His power is in YHWH’s name (v. 24). He is God’s Son (v. 26). He is the firstborn (see Rom 8:29) and the King of kings (v. 27). God’s covenant has been established by Him (v. 28). His offspring (the church) and His throne are everlasting (v. 29).
In verses 30-32 we see that the sins of those in covenant with Him will be punished with the rod and stripes. This is the judgment that was placed on Christ. This is how God’s hesed love is not removed from us because of our sin (v. 33). This is the New Covenant God made through Christ (v. 34) that is irrevocable (v. 34) in contrast with the Old Covenant that was nullified by sin. In Christ, our covenant and salvation are forever (vv. 36-37).
Having established that the covenant is irrevocable, the Psalmist then says that God has renounced the covenant with His servant (v. 39). There are three ways to understand this. First, God did what He said He would not do (and the Psalmist just said He would not do). Second, this is speaking of the Old Covenant in contrast to the New. Third, this describes how God established the everlasting covenant. If we read verses 39-45 in terms of what Christ was going to do for His people at His First Coming through His suffering and crucifixion, the third seems the likely option.
That would mean that the prayer of verses 46-51 is our prayer. We pray “come, Lord Jesus” as we await the consummation of God’s covenant promises to us. And in this present age, we – the church – suffer for the sake of Christ at the hands of the same enemies: Satan and the world. Yet we have confidence that God will fulfill every last promise and say “Blessed be YHWH forever!”
Amen and Amen!!!
1 The word for “face” is translated as “presence” almost 100 times in the Old Testament.