By Alistair Begg
Your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.
God made a covenant with David, promising that his kingdom would last forever. And yet after the reign of David’s son Solomon, the kingdom was divided, and within a few hundred years both the northern kingdom and the southern kingdom were destroyed (2 Kings 17 and 25).
For those living in the generations of captivity that followed, God’s promise to David must have seemed like a fairy tale. Their experience held no evidence of any great Israelite kingdom or king on the rise. Psalm 89, written during this time, begins with God’s faithfulness but ends with the people’s troubles: “Lord, where is your steadfast love of old, which by your faithfulness you swore to David? Remember, O Lord, how your servants are mocked, and how I bear in my heart the insults of all the many nations” (Psalm 89:49-50). Speaking into that context of distress and hopelessness, the prophets reminded the people, Wait a minute! Though it doesn’t look like God’s promise is still in effect, you can be sure it is, because of His covenant love. There’s more to come. They spoke of the future:
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this. (Isaiah 9:6-7)
There was still, said the prophets, another place, another name, another rest, another kingdom, and another throne to come. The failures of God’s people did not mean that God had forgotten His promise. It would all be fulfilled in Jesus.
History repeats itself. Whether because of disease, persecution, politics or grief, we will at times find ourselves in that place of confusion that Psalm 89 gives voice to. In such a time (which is really any time before Jesus returns), we need prophetic voices to remind us of God’s covenant faithfulness—that our Lord reigns on His throne both now and forever. So today, take heart. Your failures do not mean that God has forgotten His promise. There is more to come.