“Summaries, Psalms 86-89”Categories: Bulletin Articles
Psalm 86 is an appeal to God for help. It begins by listing a number of reasons why God should intervene: because David is poor and needy, because he is godly, because he prays continually, and because God Himself is good and loving. David then shifts to praising the virtues of God: His willingness to answer prayer and His uniqueness among all other gods. He asks God to teach him His way and promises to praise Him for His deliverance. The psalm concludes by contrasting the wickedness of David’s enemies and God’s goodness. God should respond by blessing David and defeating them.
Psalm 87 is about the city of Jerusalem, founded on Mount Zion. God loves her and glorifies her. Indeed, just as it was meaningful to be a citizen of the great cities of the ancient world—Babylon, Tyre, and so on—it’s meaningful to be born in Zion because God remembers her citizens. Zion is so beautiful that she inspires those who praise her.
Psalm 88 is one of the darkest psalms in the psalter. The psalmist cries out to God continually and asks Him to bless him. His life is so bad that he’s practically dead, and he attributes his plight to the wrath of God. God has done this to him. He’s been abandoned by his friends, he’s so desolate that he can’t see, but God won’t help him.
The psalmist rhetorically asks God if He thinks he will praise him if he is dead. Do dead people even care about God anymore? Nonetheless, even though he prays all the time, God continues to hide His face. He’s miserable, he feels attacked by God, and all of his friend have vanished. The end.
Psalm 89 is nearly as gloomy. It begins on an optimistic note. The psalmist expresses his determination to praise God forever because He is faithful. Particularly, He has established a covenant with David. For this, he glorifies God as incomparable. He has defeated His enemies, and He reigns over the heavens and the earth. He is righteous, and His people rejoice in Him.
The psalmist then returns to the subject of David. God anointed him and promised to protect him from his enemies. In response, he was supposed to honor God. Similarly God would confirm his offspring on his throne forever, and even if those offspring sinned, God swore that He would not reject them completely. David’s descendants would endure forever.
However, now it seems like God has done the opposite. He appears to have rejected the descendants of David. Jerusalem has been conquered and looted. The enemies of Judah are happy. The king has been defeated and humbled by his foes. The psalmist asks how long God is going to allow this to continue? He urges Him to remember how frail and fleeting the lives of men are. He asks where God’s faithfulness is, and he urges Him to remember how God’s anointed is being mocked. Nonetheless, he continues to lift up God as blessed.