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Psalm 89 and the Davidic Covenant

David's inspiration, the perpetuity of the covenant, and its ultimate literal realization
 

The Holy Spirit, through King David, has set for us the order of fulfilment of the Davidic covenant.  Neither David, nor Solomon, nor any of the others who briefly sat on the throne of David in Jerusalem were the fulfilment of the Davidic covenant.  The outline of the time is established in Psalm 89.

"I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations. For I have said, Mercy shall be built up for ever: thy faithfulness shalt thou establish in the very heavens.  I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant, Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations. Selah."  (Ps. 89:1-4)

Here David acknowledges the bestowal of the covenant by God, and its confirmation by oath, "I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant, Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations."  

He expresses praise that God's wonders and faithfulness will be shown, "And the heavens shall praise thy wonders, O LORD: thy faithfulness also in the congregation of the saints.  For who in the heaven can be compared unto the LORD? who among the sons of the mighty can be likened unto the LORD?  God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him.  O LORD God of hosts, who is a strong LORD like unto thee? or to thy faithfulness round about thee?  Thou rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them.  Thou hast broken Rahab in pieces, as one that is slain; thou hast scattered thine enemies with thy strong arm.  The heavens are thine, the earth also is thine: as for the world and the fulness thereof, thou hast founded them.  The north and the south thou hast created them: Tabor and Hermon shall rejoice in thy name.  Thou hast a mighty arm: strong is thy hand, and high is thy right hand.  Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face.   Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance.  In thy name shall they rejoice all the day: and in thy righteousness shall they be exalted.  For thou art the glory of their strength: and in thy favour our horn shall be exalted.  For the LORD is our defence; and the Holy One of Israel is our king."  (Ps. 89:5-18)  Also, God has the authority, power, and mercy to perform His promises.  

The Davidic covenant is again referred to and shows that One (Christ) shall be specially exalted, and that God says: I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth.  My mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him.  His seed also will I make to endure for ever, and his throne as the days of heaven."  This speaks of David's seed that shall come.

"Then thou spakest in vision to thy holy one, and saidst, I have laid help upon one that is mighty; I have exalted one chosen out of the people.  I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him:  With whom my hand shall be established: mine arm also shall strengthen him.  The enemy shall not exact upon him; nor the son of wickedness afflict him.  And I will beat down his foes before his face, and plague them that hate him.  But my faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him: and in my name shall his horn be exalted.  I will set his hand also in the sea, and his right hand in the rivers.  He shall cry unto me, Thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation.  Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth.  My mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him.  His seed also will I make to endure for ever, and his throne as the days of heaven." (Ps. 89:19-29)

As this Kingdom is offered to the regular descendants of David, and it is foreseen that they will become unworthy of it, God foretells this, with the additional assurance to David that, notwithstanding such rebellion and His withdrawal for a time, the covenant will still be fulfilled (Ps. 89:30-37).

"If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments;  If they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments;  Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes.  Nevertheless my lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail.  My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.  Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David.  His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me.  It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven. Selah."

Here is asserted that the relapse of the nation and a resultant infliction of punishment (as centuries have witnessed) shall not change God's promise to David that his seed will one day again reign on his throne.

Then is a wonderful transition.. .

"But thou hast cast off and abhorred, thou hast been wroth with thine anointed.  Thou hast made void the covenant of thy servant: thou hast profaned his crown by casting it to the ground.  Thou hast broken down all his hedges; thou hast brought his strong holds to ruin.  All that pass by the way spoil him: he is a reproach to his neighbours.  Thou hast set up the right hand of his adversaries; thou hast made all his enemies to rejoice.  Thou hast also turned the edge of his sword, and hast not made him to stand in the battle.  Thou hast made his glory to cease, and cast his throne down to the ground.  The days of his youth hast thou shortened: thou hast covered him with shame. Selah.  How long, LORD? wilt thou hide thyself for ever? shall thy wrath burn like fire?  Remember how short my time is: wherefore hast thou made all men in vain?  What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave? Selah.  Lord, where are thy former lovingkindnesses, which thou swarest unto David in thy truth?  Remember, Lord, the reproach of thy servants; how I do bear in my bosom the reproach of all the mighty people;  Wherewith thine enemies have reproached, O LORD; wherewith they have reproached the footsteps of thine anointed.  Blessed be the LORD for evermore. Amen, and Amen." (Ps. 89:38-52)

David, having foretold the conditional overthrow  of his kingdom, and yet God will be faithful in its final restoration, now plainly predicts the downfall itself: "But thou hast cast off and abhorred, thou hast been wroth with thine anointed." (the Theocratic kings that followed David). "Thou hast made void the covenant of thy servant: thou hast profaned his crown by casting it to the ground." "Thou hast made his glory to cease, and cast his throne down to the ground." The covenant is unrealized; the Theocratic Kingdom is fallen; the very throne and Kingdom, the
subject of such special promise, is now overthrown.  Then, however, resting upon the assurances given, he asks: "How long, LORD? wilt thou hide thyself for ever? shall thy wrath burn like fire?" "Lord, where are thy former lovingkindnesses, which thou swarest unto David in thy truth?" David's faith in God that He would remember His covenant and restore his cast-down crown and throne, is briefly but finely expressed: "Remember, Lord, the reproach of thy servants; how I do bear in my bosom the reproach of all the mighty people;"  "Blessed be the LORD for evermore. Amen, and Amen."

This is what the early Church believed, that Christ will one day sit on David's throne and rule the world in peace and justice from Jerusalem.  This is what the Word says, answering every objection unbelievers may cast against true faith. We can rest assured that when the day comes this prophecy is fulfilled that it will be one of the grandest, glorious displays of God's faithfulness that, mercy, and act of Redemption that any man will ever see.