Psalms 89:38 MEANING

Psalm 89:38
(38) But thou.--The poem takes a new departure here. God is reproached for violating the covenant, and the contrast between the actual condition of things in Israel at present, and the glorious destiny promised, is feelingly set forth.

The boldness of this expostulation has scandalised the Jewish expositors. But see exactly similar language, Psalm 44:9; Psalm 44:22. The point of the poem, indeed, is gone if we soften down these expressions. The stronger the conviction of the inviolability of God's promises, the more vehement becomes the sense of right to expostulate at their seeming violation, the delay of the fulfilment of the covenant. We may illustrate by the Latin poet's

"Hic pietatis honos, sic nos in sceptra reponis?"

VIRGIL: 'n. 1:25.

Verses 38-45. - A sudden and complete change here sets in. Rejoicing is turned into mourning, eulogy into complaint. Notwithstanding all the promises of God, notwithstanding his inherent and essential "faithfulness," the Davidical king and his kingdom are at the last gasp. Seemingly, every promise made has been broken, every hope held out of good turned into an actuality of evil. God is wroth with his anointed, has made void the covenant with him, profaned his crown and cast it to the ground, turned the edge of his sword, and made him not to stand in the battle; he has laid his land open to the enemy, broken down its defenses, brought its strongholds to ruin, given it as a spoil to all who pass by; he has set up the right hand of Israel's adversaries, caused them to rejoice and triumph in Israel's disgrace and suffering; he has covered the king with shame, and cut short the days of his youth. How is this? And what is to be the end of it? Verse 38. - But thou hast cast off and abhorred, thou hast been wroth with thine anointed. The first "thou" is emphatic - אתּה, THOU, "the faithful Witness;" THOU, who hast made all these promises, art the very One who has falsified them all - who hast "been wroth with thine anointed," abhorred (or rejected) him, and cast him off:

89:38-52 Sometimes it is not easy to reconcile God's providences with his promises, yet we are sure that God's works fulfil his word. When the great Anointed One, Christ himself, was upon the cross, God seemed to have cast him off, yet did not make void his covenant, for that was established for ever. The honour of the house of David was lost. Thrones and crowns are often laid in the dust; but there is a crown of glory reserved for Christ's spiritual seed, which fadeth not away. From all this complaint learn what work sin makes with families, noble families, with families in which religion has appeared. They plead with God for mercy. God's unchangeableness and faithfulness assure us that He will not cast off those whom he has chosen and covenanted with. They were reproached for serving him. The scoffers of the latter days, in like manner, reproach the footsteps of the Messiah when they ask, Where is the promise of his coming? 2Pe 3:3,4. The records of the Lord's dealings with the family of David, show us his dealings with his church, and with believers. Their afflictions and distresses may be grievous, but he will not finally cast them off. Self-deceivers abuse this doctrine, and others by a careless walk bring themselves into darkness and distress; yet let the true believer rely on it for encouragement in the path of duty, and in bearing the cross. The psalm ends with praise, even after this sad complaint. Those who give God thanks for what he has done, may give him thanks for what he will do. God will follow those with his mercies, who follow him with praises.But thou hast cast off,.... Here begin objections to what is before said, and swore to; even to the everlasting love of God, to Christ, and to his seed, to the unchangeableness and unalterableness of the covenant, and to the continuance and perpetuity of the kingdom and church of Christ, taken from the dealings of the Lord with the Messiah and his people; which were made either by the psalmist, under a spirit of prophecy, foreseeing what would come to pass; or by the apostles and church of Christ, about the time of his sufferings and death, and after; when he seemed to be "cast off", and rejected by the Lord, particularly when he forsook him, and hid his face from him, Matthew 27:46, as when he hides his face from his people, it is interpreted by them a casting them off; see Psalm 44:22,

and abhorred; not that he abhorred the person of Christ, who was his own Son, his beloved Son; nor his afflictions and sufferings, which were a sacrifice of a sweet smelling savour to him; see Psalm 22:24, though these might be interpreted by others as if the Lord abhorred or rejected him; because he suffered him to be used in the manner he was, and particularly to be abhorred by the Jews, even by the nation in general, Isaiah 49:7, though the sins of his people, which he had upon him, and for which he suffered, were an abhorring to the Lord; and when he was made sin, he was made a curse:

thou hast been wroth with thine Anointed; with thy Messiah; not Rehoboam, from whom the ten tribes were rent; nor Josiah, who was killed by Pharaohnecho; nor Zedekiah, carried captive into Babylon; but the true Messiah, the son of David, before said to be found by the Lord, and anointed with his holy oil, Psalm 89:20, which is to be understood of him, not as his own son, who was always the object of his love, but as the sinner's surety, bearing the sins of his people, and all the wrath and punishment due unto them; and so is reconcilable to the promise, that lovingkindness should not be taken from him, Psalm 89:33 and is no objection to it, though made one.

Courtesy of Open Bible