Psalm 89:49-52 O Lord, where is your former great love, which in your faithfulness you swore to David? Remember, Lord, how your servant has been mocked, how I bear in my heart the taunts of all the nations, the taunts with which your enemies have mocked, O LORD , with which they have mocked every step of your anointed one. Praise be to the LORD for ever! Amen and Amen.
The rubric at the beginning of this Psalm (a ‘maskil’) attributes it to ‘Ethan the Ezrahite’ who is referred to in 1 Kings 4:31, where it is said of Solomon that “he was wiser than any other man, including Ethan the Ezrahite”! The meaning of the word ‘maskil’ is uncertain, although it is suggested that it derives from a verb meaning to ‘have insight’ or to ‘have success’, and that a ‘maskil’ is an ‘efficacious song’.
Psalm 89 is certainly a piece of Scripture that it would be efficacious for us to meditate deeply on today. The psalm reflects on God’s love and faithfulness, and all his amazing, far-reaching promises to King David, and then moves into a cry of lament because of how the experience of current circumstances is calling into question the validity of these promises!
Perhaps this expresses how we feel today as we witness the widespread, and increasingly militant, opposition to the truth of the Gospel message, and the unchecked ‘mocking’ of the Saviour of the world and his beloved Bride, the Church. Ethan’s maskil helps us to see all this in perspective, and calls us to fervent and persistent prayer to our sovereign God for the power of the Gospel to impact people’s hearts and lives in a new way today! Perhaps we became too ‘comfortable’ (and therefore prayerless) in seasons of blessing and prosperity for the Church (for those of us who are old enough to have lived through and remember those days). In such times, it is easy to overlook and forget the ‘promise’ Jesus gave to all who choose to follow him and identify with his cause: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33).
Let us cry out, let us lament, in repentance-and-faith … remembering to conclude our prayers in the way Ethan concluded his – “Praise be to the LORD (our Covenant-making, Covenant-keeping, Covenant-sealing-with-his-own-precious-blood’ God) for ever! Amen and Amen”. (The Hebrew word ‘Amen’ comes from the same root as the words for ‘truth’ and faithfulness’!).