Psalm 89 has the distinction of being one of the greatest passages in the Bible dealing with the faithfulness of God. But it does it in two ways. The first half praises God for his faithfulness exuberantly and without any qualifications. It particularly praises him for his faithfulness in keeping his covenant with King David (2 Sam. 7). The latter half expresses the gap between the promise and reality.

Verses 19-29 are essentially a commentary on 2 Samuel 7. This stanza highlights six critical features of God's covenant with David, three of which we looked at yesterday, and the remaining three of which we take up today.

Having moved from heaven to earth and from nature to the specific event of the Jewish Exodus from Egypt, the writer now turns to the faithfulness of God to his people generally (vv. 14-18). At this point he brings in many other attributes of God which his people have experienced and for which they praise him. These attributes are added to faithfulness as basic to God's character and as a foundation for faith in his faithfulness. God has the power to be faithful, but does he want to be? Is God willing? These attributes assure us that the answer is "Yes."

Having spoken of the faithfulness of God in heaven and of that strength which is one of its characteristics, the psalmist next moves to earth where the power of God is particularly evident (vv. 9-13). Faithfulness itself is not mentioned here, since the writer seems to be concentrating on the power of God. Why? The reason becomes clear in the next stanza. It is the power of God that enables God to be effective in his faithfulness to his people. He is effectively faithful because he is his people's "shield” and sure defense against enemies (see v. 18).

The theme of the psalm is established in the first stanza (vv. 1-4) by the repeated use of "faithfulness" and "forever" and by one use of the word "covenant.” These words occur throughout the psalm, as indicated, but they are particularly prominent here. "Forever" occurs three times, the word "faithfulness" twice, and "covenant" once.