Dishman Baptist Church
Our Faithful God
      • Colossians 1:28CSB

  • The Lion And The Lamb
  • Great Is Thy Faithfulness
  • This I Believe
      • Revelation 19.6-7CSB

      • Revelation 19.8-9CSB

      • Revelation 19.10CSB

  • Introduction

    Good morning and welcome to Dishman Baptist Church. We are blessed and privileged that you would join us this morning.
    It’s been a rough few weeks in evangelicalism at large and the idea of what it means to be saved. First a few weeks ago there was the announcements by Joshua Harris - one time pastor of Sovereign Grace ministries and author of the books “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” and “Boy Meets Girl” - that he and his wife were going to be getting a divorce. Shortly after that on July 26th he followed up with the following message to his followers on Instagram
    "The popular phrase for this is 'deconstruction,' the biblical phrase is 'falling away," he added. "By all the measurements that I have for defining a Christian, I am not a Christian."
    And then most recently within the last two weeks one of Hillsong’s primary worship music writers and musicians Marty Sampson announced - again on Instagram…what is it with that site? - “I’m genuinely losing my faith and it doesn’t bother me. Like, what bothers me now is nothing. I am so happy now, so at peace with the world. It’s crazy.” Later in the same posts he says “All I know is what’s true to me right now, and Christianity just seems to me like another religion at this point.”
    What is it that causes these men who once professed the faith to repudiate all they’ve ever said they believed, and in the cases of some have taught? What is it that causes us to question our faith and the faithfulness of God when difficulties arise in our lives? This mornings Psalm is going to give us a look into the mind of a man who does just that - and ends up at the right conclusion. Let’s learn from this man’s writings and see how we need to grow in our own lives in light of what he has to teach us.
    Please open your Bibles with me to Psalm 89.
    Psalm 89 CSB
    A Maskil of Ethan the Ezrahite. I will sing about the Lord’s faithful love forever; I will proclaim your faithfulness to all generations with my mouth. For I will declare, “Faithful love is built up forever; you establish your faithfulness in the heavens.” The Lord said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one; I have sworn an oath to David my servant: ‘I will establish your offspring forever and build up your throne for all generations.’ ” Selah Lord, the heavens praise your wonders— your faithfulness also— in the assembly of the holy ones. For who in the skies can compare with the Lord? Who among the heavenly beings is like the Lord? God is greatly feared in the council of the holy ones, more awe-inspiring than all who surround him. Lord God of Armies, who is strong like you, Lord? Your faithfulness surrounds you. You rule the raging sea; when its waves surge, you still them. You crushed Rahab like one who is slain; you scattered your enemies with your powerful arm. The heavens are yours; the earth also is yours. The world and everything in it—you founded them. North and south—you created them. Tabor and Hermon shout for joy at your name. You have a mighty arm; your hand is powerful; your right hand is lifted high. Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; faithful love and truth go before you. Happy are the people who know the joyful shout; Lord, they walk in the light from your face. They rejoice in your name all day long, and they are exalted by your righteousness. For you are their magnificent strength; by your favor our horn is exalted. Surely our shield belongs to the Lord, our king to the Holy One of Israel. You once spoke in a vision to your faithful ones and said: “I have granted help to a warrior; I have exalted one chosen from the people. I have found David my servant; I have anointed him with my sacred oil. My hand will always be with him, and my arm will strengthen him. The enemy will not oppress him; the wicked will not afflict him. I will crush his foes before him and strike those who hate him. My faithfulness and love will be with him, and through my name his horn will be exalted. I will extend his power to the sea and his right hand to the rivers. He will call to me, ‘You are my Father, my God, the rock of my salvation.’ I will also make him my firstborn, greatest of the kings of the earth. I will always preserve my faithful love for him, and my covenant with him will endure. I will establish his line forever, his throne as long as heaven lasts. If his sons abandon my instruction and do not live by my ordinances, if they dishonor my statutes and do not keep my commands, then I will call their rebellion to account with the rod, their iniquity with blows. But I will not withdraw my faithful love from him or betray my faithfulness. I will not violate my covenant or change what my lips have said. Once and for all I have sworn an oath by my holiness; I will not lie to David. His offspring will continue forever, his throne like the sun before me, like the moon, established forever, a faithful witness in the sky.” Selah But you have spurned and rejected him; you have become enraged with your anointed. You have repudiated the covenant with your servant; you have completely dishonored his crown. You have broken down all his walls; you have reduced his fortified cities to ruins. All who pass by plunder him; he has become an object of ridicule to his neighbors. You have lifted high the right hand of his foes; you have made all his enemies rejoice. You have also turned back his sharp sword and have not let him stand in battle. You have made his splendor cease and have overturned his throne. You have shortened the days of his youth; you have covered him with shame. Selah How long, Lord? Will you hide forever? Will your anger keep burning like fire? Remember how short my life is. Have you created everyone for nothing? What courageous person can live and never see death? Who can save himself from the power of Sheol? Selah Lord, where are the former acts of your faithful love that you swore to David in your faithfulness? Remember, Lord, the ridicule against your servants— in my heart I carry abuse from all the peoples— how your enemies have ridiculed, Lord, how they have ridiculed every step of your anointed. Blessed be the Lord forever. Amen and amen.
    I know that was long but I don’t think we can ever sit under too much reading of the Word of God. A few years ago, in 2015 to be exact, I went to the Shepherd’s Conference and sat as Mark Dever preached Psalm 119. And before preaching he read all 176 verses. What a joy and privilege it is to have access and to sit under the teaching of the Word of God.
    I saw a note recently celebrating the fact that the United States is going to relax tariffs on the importing of Bibles from China and so it will be cheaper for those entities who are having Bibles made in China. I think instead of celebrating that fact we should be lamenting the fact that we can buy Bibles cheaply that are being made in a country where the Bible is not available to their own citizens. We should be praying for the Christians in that nation - that they would have as easy access to the Word of God that we do.
    But here, this morning, we come to this Psalm and we are introduced to the author as being a man named Ethan the Ezrahite. This man is mentioned one other time in Scripture in 1 Kings 4
    1 Kings 4:31 CSB
    He was wiser than anyone—wiser than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, Calcol, and Darda, sons of Mahol. His reputation extended to all the surrounding nations.
    The reason I mention this is that there is some question as to exactly when this Psalm was written. The Psalm is attributed to someone who was alive during the time of Solomon and yet the latter half of the Psalm is a lament more descriptive of the exile of Israel. Whenever this Psalm was written (whether it is all one writing or the writer pieced together parts from different writings) it is clear this writer is experiencing a trial of conscience and faith. How does he handle it? And what can we learn from what he writes?

    God’s Faithfulness Exalted

    The Psalmist starts off exuberantly praising the Lord. He can’t contain himself. He bursts forth in song extolling the faithfulness of God. In fact, four times in the first two verses he writes of the faithfulness of God. He is enraptured by God’s faithfulness - He says that he will sing of His faithful love, that he will proclaim His faithfulness to all generations, that His faithful love is built up forever and that He will establish His faithfulness in the heavens. We can’t help but be caught up in his exaltation and joy in singing to His Lord.
    This opening begs a question of us - who did we come here to worship today? Who did we come here to proclaim? We work very hard here to ensure that the songs we sing point us to God and faithfully represent His character. But what about in your car? Or in your home? What songs do you gravitate toward? What songs do you find yourself singing along with? Have you ever examined them to see where they are pointing your eyes? Are they pointing you toward God and His faithfulness? Are they giving you a good picture of God, a picture that is true to the God that is presented in His Word?
    Having opened in such an animated manner, the Psalmist is going to give us three places that God’s faithfulness is exalted - in the Heavens, in His creation and through His people.

    God’s Faithfulness Exalted in the Heavens

    He says that the heavens praise your wonders and faithfulness. A few weeks ago we looked at Psalm 8 and saw how the heavens proclaim His name and bear witness to the majesty of our God
    Psalm 8:1 CSB
    Lord, our Lord, how magnificent is your name throughout the earth! You have covered the heavens with your majesty.
    and again in Psalm 19:1
    Psalm 19:1 CSB
    The heavens declare the glory of God, and the expanse proclaims the work of his hands.
    Psalm 50:6 CSB
    The heavens proclaim his righteousness, for God is the Judge. Selah
    and in the prophet Isaiah
    Isaiah 44:23 CSB
    Rejoice, heavens, for the Lord has acted; shout, depths of the earth. Break out into singing, mountains, forest, and every tree in it. For the Lord has redeemed Jacob, and glorifies himself through Israel.
    The heavens cannot help but declare the faithfulness of the Lord - they demonstrate the mightiness and acts of His hands. But in our text this morning we get an even greater picture of God’s faithfulness as the heavens bear witness to Him in court. Not a judicial court but more the royal court of Heaven as the throne of Heaven is surrounded by the assembly of the holy ones. But there is one who cannot escape attention because He is wholly other than any other being there. The Psalmist shapes it through a series of three questions - Who in the skies can compare with the Lord? Who among the heavenly beings is like the Lord? and then later in verse 8 he will ask who is strong like you?
    And the answer to each of these is the same - no one. There is no other being that is like God because He is the only uncreated being in all of the universe. He is also the only one who, while He manifests Himself within the bounds of Heaven, is outside of the bounds of the earth, the created universe and even outside the bounds of Heaven itself.
    Psalm 86:8 proclaims
    Psalm 86:8 CSB
    Lord, there is no one like you among the gods, and there are no works like yours.
    and then later Psalm 113:5
    Psalm 113:5 CSB
    Who is like the Lord our God— the one enthroned on high,
    There is no one like Him and the Heavens cannot help but proclaim His faithfulness as one who is to be greatly feared among the holy ones, as one who is more awe inspiring than all the other beings present. There are records in Scripture of angelic encounters and in each of them the human who encounters the fully revealed angel falls on their face as if dead. But there is only one instance (after Adam in the Garden) where a man is entreated to a glimpse of the glory of God and he can only look at the back of God because he couldn’t survive
    Exodus 33:19–23 CSB
    He said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim the name ‘the Lord’ before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” But he added, “You cannot see my face, for humans cannot see me and live.” The Lord said, “Here is a place near me. You are to stand on the rock, and when my glory passes by, I will put you in the crevice of the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will take my hand away, and you will see my back, but my face will not be seen.”
    Our God is proclaimed as faithful in the Heavens. Although it would be tempting, the psalmist doesn’t remain in the heights of Heaven but brings our eyes back down to earth to see how He is proclaimed faithful within His creation.

    God’s Faithfulness Exalted in Creation

    The psalmist starts off with an interesting statement - he says You rule the raging seas, when it’s waves surge you still them. Having spent 22 years in the Navy I’ve been in my share of raging seas. Coming back from one deployment across the Atlantic Ocean we were diverted to a southerly route because the seas were so rough that the carrier was taking water over her bow. And even on that route we could go out into the breaks (enclosed walkways on either side of the ship) and count 10 seconds of sea followed by 10 seconds of sky. The ships would ride these massive waves and then crash down and the whole ship would shudder from side to side. The seas can surely rage.
    He goes on to say that He crushed Rahab - this is not the Rahab that we know best in Scripture from the town of Jericho but instead this is either a reference to Egypt and how the Lord crushed that nation during the Exodus or is another name for the sea monster known in other passages as Leviathan.
    Isaiah 51:9 CSB
    Wake up, wake up! Arm of the Lord, clothe yourself with strength. Wake up as in days past, as in generations long ago. Wasn’t it you who hacked Rahab to pieces, who pierced the sea monster?
    The creation demonstrates that there is a God. The very laws of nature that we think of - thermodynamics, gravity or the theory of general relativity - all of these demonstrate that there is a God who orders His universe to operate under certain standards. Here the psalmist pares it down the even the basics of direction - north and south. The thing about that is as simple as that sounds it is not that simple. There are different magnetic pulls depending on whether you are in the northern or southern hemisphere. As a hiker I always carry a compass with me wherever I go because if for some reason I lose the trail I need to be able to navigate my way out of wherever I am. It is important to know what kind of compass I am carrying because the needle (if it is set up for the southern hemisphere and I am around Spokane) will not point to magnetic north. This is the explanation from the National Center for Environmental Information
    For a compass to work properly, the compass needle must be free to rotate and align with the magnetic field. The difference between compasses designed to work in the northern and southern hemispheres is simply the location of the “balance”, a weight placed on the needle to ensure it remains in a horizontal plane and hence free to rotate. In the northern hemisphere, the magnetic field dips down into the Earth so the compass needle has a weight on the south end of the needle to keep the needle in the horizontal plane. In the southern hemisphere, the weight needs to be on the north end of the needle. If you did not change the weight, the needle would not rotate freely, and hence would not work properly.
    And God created this. He created all of it to work as one cohesive planet to support life for the people He would place here.

    God’s Faithfulness Exalted in His people

    His faithfulness to His people is most clearly exalted when His people rest securely in Him. Look at the way he describes the joy of the people. “They are exalted by Your righteousness”, You are their strength, and backing up they walk in the light from Your face and rejoice in Your name all day long. It is clear that the joy that we are meant to find as people is through the faithfulness of God demonstrated to us and through us.
    Psalm 62:1 CSB
    I am at rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him.
    Psalm 28:7 CSB
    The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. Therefore my heart celebrates, and I give thanks to him with my song.
    God’s faithfulness is exalted through the heavens, it is exalted through His creation and it is exalted in and through His people - but how did the people of Israel understand God’s faithfulness? It is to this subject that the psalmist points us now.

    God’s Faithfulness Explained

    The nation of Israel most clearly understood God’s faithfulness through the covenants that He had made with them as a nation. The Abrahamic covenant promised them a land. The Mosaic covenant delivered to them a law that would provide for the orderly governing of the spiritual and social lives. And the Davidic covenant promised them that the line of David would forever reign on the throne. It is through this lens that this psalmist most clearly sees God’s faithfulness explained.

    God’s Faithfulness to Israel

    The latter part of verse 18 demonstrates God’s faithfulness to His chosen nation - that He is to be their shield and that the king chosen by God belongs to the Holy One of Israel. God had faithfully brought the nation of Israel out of Egypt. He had fulfilled all of the promises, the covenants that He had made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God delivered the law through Moses and now after His people repudiated His rule through the judges and the prophet Samuel demanding a king like the nations around them He used this to deliver to the throne the king He desired and the lineage that He desired to accomplish His own divine purposes. Even through Israel’s unfaithfulness, God remained faithful - but more on that in a few minutes. First we must look at how He demonstrates His faithfulness to this chosen king.

    God’s Faithfulness to David

    Notice the number of first person pronouns that God uses to describe how He will sustain David’s reign. I have anointed, my hand, my arm, I will crush, My faithfulness and love, I will extend. God is laying the requirements for the accomplishment of this covenant solely on Himself. He will work through David to accomplish much but He will bear the responsibility to cause David’s regime to increase and to flourish. God has done this with every single covenant in the Scriptures. He Himself will accomplish it. And without His blessing nothing will be accomplished.
    God says that He will make David his firstborn and the greatest of the kings on the earth. That His love for him will endure and his line will be established forever. Even when his son’s fail to live up to the standard (as they so woefully did) God says that He will chastise them with the rod and with blows but that he will not violate the covenant that He has established with David. The reason for this is the standard by which God establishes His own oath and His own responsibility to the covenant. It is not based on anything special within David or his ability or his line’s ability to stay within the bounds of the covenant as established by God.
    His standard for maintaining the covenant promises to David is His own holiness. His highest attribute. The condition within Himself that all of His other attributes flow out of. It is the only attribute that is given in triplicate
    Isaiah 6:3 CSB
    And one called to another: Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Armies; his glory fills the whole earth.
    Revelation 4:8 CSB
    Each of the four living creatures had six wings; they were covered with eyes around and inside. Day and night they never stop, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God, the Almighty, who was, who is, and who is to come.
    It is this attribute within God that sustains His faithfulness to the Davidic line despite their failures to maintain their own faithfulness to Him. It is why the psalmist can write “His offspring will continue forever, his throne like the sun before me, like the moon, established forever, a faithful witness in the sky.” And it is also why the next section is so alarmingly shocking to our ears. Ethan has been resoundingly proclaiming the faithfulness of the Lord and yet now his tone changes and we can hear the petulance of a child in his accusations.

    God’s Faithfulness Questioned

    He starts a rant that is almost as if he is standing at the foot of the throne and petulantly shaking his finger or his fist at God - but You said. You promised all of these things God and now where are you? Why have you left us here like this? Notice though the words that he uses even in accusing God.

    God’s Sovereignty in rejection

    Even in his accusations he can’t help but acknowledge the sovereignty of God in the rejection of Israel. It’s not as if God has failed or has become weak. This is no instance of kryptonite weakening superman - God doesn’t have a weakness that could be exploited. Circle in your Bibles the number of times that Ethan uses the word You here and recognize that each of those points us to God. It was God who spurned and rejected them, who became enraged. It was God who repudiated the covenant with His servant (only seemingly because we know that in truth God was upholding His own responsibilities in the covenant). God decimated Israel. God allowed the walls to be broken down, the temple to be violated, the people to be marched off to foreign lands.
    Oh how narrow is the point of view of the psalmist. Oh how narrow is our own view. We used to have a saying in the Navy - what have you done for me lately? And often we take the same view of our relationship with God. When things get challenging or difficult. When we lose our jobs or our health. When we look around and see the abortion of millions of babies, the godless ideologies of critical race theory and intersectionality, the issues between people of different skin color or the number of shootings taking place around our nation we think - You have abandoned us Lord. And we can resonate with men like Joshua Harris and Marty Sampson and hundreds of others who proclaim that they are repudiating the faith they once professed to believe. We even see it here in this psalm as the writer goes on.

    Where Are You God?

    How long Lord? Where have You gone? I reached out to You in prayer and You haven’t answered - at least not to my liking. Where are You? Have you created us for nothing? To eat sleep and be merry for tomorrow we die? Where are You? It is good that I’m friends with Solomon because I can see just like he can that everything is folly. That there is nothing of value in life. That death is coming for all of us and here we stand abandoned by You.
    And yet...

    God’s Faithfulness Forever

    This writer ends where we all should when those nagging questions start to threaten our faith. When God seems silent and far away. When our prayers are seemingly unanswered and we don’t understand why we’re facing what we’re facing.
    He says
    Psalm 89:52 CSB
    Blessed be the Lord forever. Amen and amen.
    And we know that God is faithful. That He didn’t leave the line of David to be ridiculed and forgotten. To be decimated and trampled. But that His Son - the true firstborn Son whose throne will last forever has come and has conquered. That He demonstrated Himself to be God by calming the raging seas - among a myriad of other proofs that He offered during His time here on earth - that ties Him to this Psalm. He went to the cross and paid the price for our sins - that He enacted a new covenant solely effected by His holiness, by His righteousness.
    2 Corinthians 5:21 CSB
    He made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
    And made it possible for us to recognize His faithfulness to us through the regeneration offered by His Holy Spirit and then a life of faith through grace. That we can be cleansed of our sins and when we’re tempted to fall away that we can look to a hill far away and see that old rugged cross where my Savior bled and died and be reminded of His faithfulness to us and the promise that He has made to us to see us through to the end - blessed be the Lord forever. Amen and Amen.
      • Psalm 89CSB

      • 1 Kings 4:31CSB

      • Psalm 8:1CSB

      • Psalm 19:1CSB

      • Psalm 50:6CSB

      • Isaiah 44:23CSB

      • Psalm 86:8CSB

      • Psalm 113:5CSB

      • Exodus 33:19–23CSB

      • Isaiah 51:9CSB

      • Psalm 62:1CSB

      • Psalm 28:7CSB

      • Isaiah 6:3CSB

      • Revelation 4:8CSB

      • Psalm 89:52CSB

      • 2 Corinthians 5:21CSB

  • Spirit
      • 1 Thessalonians 5:23CSB

      • Colossians 3:11CSB

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