Establish Offspring (Psalm 89)
- Order of Service: Divine Service 1
- Hymns: LSB #645, 508, 627, 783, 632, 348
I will establish his offspring forever and his throne as the days of the heavens (Psalm 89:29).
We hear this psalm and we're reminded of God's promise to David that one of his descendants would sit on the throne forever. We're pointed to the history of the Old Testament. Many times the royal line was only continued because of God's promise to David. God's promise would not be broken. It was interrupted for many years. But God's promise is finished in Jesus. David's descendant who would sit on the throne forever. The descendant who had also been David's shield throughout his life.
And this shield has the most unusual shape. When we think of a shield, we typically think of a circular shield that could also be used as a frisbee if need be. But God's shield is not circular. God's shield is in the shape of a cross. In this shape, it looks like it wouldn't block much. That most of the devil's fiery darts would fly right past it.
But the cross acts like a black hole. Drawing into itself everything that comes near. Taking the sins and accusations aimed at you and turning them in on itself. Absorbing their guilt and their punishment. This cross takes away your sins.
At the center of every black hole, there is a singularity. Even inside the black hole, everything is brought closer to it. And the singularity of the cross is Jesus. David's offspring whom God establishes forever. The God-man dying for the sins of the world. Everything in life is drawn to this event. Everything revolves around Jesus' death.
With black holes, there is also the other side of the singularity. So with the cross, there is another side to Jesus dying on it. After being drawn toward Jesus' death, your course is changed and you come out someone different. You are no longer the sinner condemned by the Law. You are the saint declared holy by the God who sent Jesus to die for your sins. You are established as David's offspring because you have been clothed in Christ Jesus. And God has promised to establish you forever in faith.
You have come out of the Great Tribulation. You have made your robes white in the blood of the Lamb. In Christ, you are the "exalted one chosen from the people" (v19). Exalted by our imitation of the saints before us. The saints who imitated Jesus. Jesus said, "Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, but whoever humbles himself will be exalted" (Matthew 23:12). You humble yourself by hiding behind the shield of the cross. Placing it between you and your sin. Allowing it to absorb your sin and send you out as an imitator of Christ.
Faith is what establishes you while you go through the Great Tribulation. The devil and the world tells you that the faith is crumbling around you. You need to evacuate the building before it falls down on top of you. But faith tells you to stand firm. "Remember the Law of My servant Moses, the statutes and rules that I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel" (Malachi 4:4). Remember the Law that points to Jesus. When "the great and awesome day of the LORD comes" (Malachi 4:5), you will stand firm. "Built on the Rock the Church shall stand, even when steeples are falling; crumbled have spires in every land, bells still are chiming and calling, calling the young and old to rest, calling the souls of those distressed, longing for life everlasting" (LSB #645.1). Jesus says, "On this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18). The rock of faith establishes you to stand when everything seems to be falling around you.
Faith establishes you not to fear "the great and awesome day of the LORD" but to celebrate it. As we sang earlier (LSB #508):
- "The day is surely drawing near when Jesus, God's anointed, in all Hi power shall appear as judge whom God appointed."
- "The final trumpet then shall sound and all the earth be shaken, and all who rest beneath the ground shall from their sleep awaken. But all who live will in that hour, by God's almighty, boundless power, be changed at His commanding."
- "May Christ our intercessor be and through His blood and merit read from His book that we are free with all who life inherit."
- "O Jesus Christ, do not delay, but hasten our salvation; we often tremble on our way in fear and tribulation. Oh, hear and grant our fervent plea; come, mighty judge, and set us free from death and every evil."
In speaking to His disciples, He talks about the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD. Even though "there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down" (Luke 21:6), they need not fear. Only believe. "Straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near" (Luke 21:28).
Faith establishes you to sing "Take My Life and Let It Be" (LSB #783). Asking Jesus to take everything that is yours. Because it was His first. Take them and use them for His purposes. Gladly doing as He would have you do throughout the Great Tribulation so that you may gladly greet Him when He returns to judge the living and the dead. Not fearing but knowing that He has established you in the faith. "Do not grow weary in doing good" (2 Thessalonians 3:13). You are established to do His good works that He has prepared for you (Ephesians 2:10).
And those good works are the direction that you are sent on the other side of the cross. The black hole of the cross shifts you into the righteous course. Jesus' death has established you forever. And your throne among the princes of Heaven is established "as the days of the heavens" (v29). Amen.
We glorify You, O God, our most merciful Father in heaven, because You have given us a Savior of whom we know that He is able to save even the greatest of sinners, and because in Him You have made a covenant that shall endure forever. Because You have so graciously received us into the covenant in Holy Baptism, grant us also grace to walk therein, and to reach the end of faith, the salvation of the soul. Amen.