Advent Psalm reading for December 21, 22, 23, & 24: Psalm 89.
Proclaiming the Wonders of God
In the first post, I looked at verses 1-4 (1-5, Hebrew). This post will explore the next several verses. Psalm 89:5-14 (6-15, Hebrew) reads like a prophetic psalm—God writ large. This description of God bridges us from the reflection on God’s covenant in the first verses to the subsequent passages where the psalmist further illuminates the extent of God’s majesty and compassionate justice.
Your wonders, O LORD, are praised by the heavens,
Your faithfulness, too, in the assembly of holy beings.
For who in the skies can equal the LORD,
can compare with the LORD among the divine beings,
God greatly dreaded in the council of holy beings,
held in awe by all around Him?
Unmatched Power of Divine Justice
God’s faithfulness and steadfast love extends from the greatness of God’s being. among all the universe and every other divine being, God alone is faithful. God’s faithfulness is an extension of character, but also extends into creation. when God decides to come, the wicked, the unfaithful—the oppressors, the malicious rulers—scatter and fall away. They are nothing in the face of God’s divine compassionate justice.
O LORD, God of hosts,
who is mighty like You, O LORD?
Your faithfulness surrounds You;
You rule the swelling of the sea;
when its waves surge, You still them.
You crushed Rahab; he was like a corpse;
with Your powerful arm You scattered Your enemies.
God’s grace precludes God’s ownership. Everything in creation belongs to God and is capable of receiving God’s compassion. Location does not matter, nor does race or ethnicity, everything in the world belongs to God’s domain and is in the path of cosmic divine justice.
The heaven is Yours,
the earth too;
the world and all it holds—
You established them.
North and south—
You created them;
Tabor and Hermon sing forth Your name.
And just in case you don’t understand the great strength, love, and wisdom that comes along with the presence of God, we are again told about divine compassion. God’s strength is held up by righteousness and justice, guarded by steadfast love and faithfulness.
Yours is an arm endowed with might;
Your hand is strong;
Your right hand, exalted.
Righteousness and justice are the base of Your throne;
steadfast love and faithfulness stand before You.
Foundations of God’s Sovereign Rule
As we conclude our exploration of Psalm 89:5-14, we are left with a profound understanding of the magnitude of God’s divine presence and justice. These verses not only emphasize God’s unmatched might and authority over all creation but also reveal the deep-rooted nature of God’s compassion and faithfulness. In the grandeur of the heavens and the earth, in the might of calming storms and vanquishing foes, we see reflections of God’s absolute sovereignty and benevolence.
This segment of Psalm 89 reinforces the notion that God’s rule is not one of arbitrary power, but one deeply anchored in righteousness and justice. The imagery of God’s arm, strong and exalted, symbolizes not only divine power but also the commitment to uphold what is just and right. It’s a reminder that true strength lies in the ability to govern with steadfast love and unwavering faithfulness.
Advent Reflection on the Embodiment of Divine Justice
In the context of Advent, these verses take on an even deeper meaning. They speak to the anticipation of a world where God’s justice prevails, where love and faithfulness are not just ideals but foundations of God’s kingdom. As we reflect on the birth of Christ, we are reminded that the incarnation is the embodiment of this divine justice and compassion. It’s a call to recognize God’s authority over all, transcending boundaries of location, race, or ethnicity, and to embrace the universal reach of God’s compassionate justice.
In essence, Psalm 89:5-14 is a celebration of God’s unmatchable power tempered with a deep and enduring love for creation. It invites us to trust in the God who rules the seas and the stars, yet cares for each one of us with an intimate and enduring love. As we move forward in the Advent season, let these verses inspire us to reflect on the majesty and mercy of God, and to live in a way that embodies God’s righteousness, justice, steadfast love, and faithfulness.
Coming Up on Advent Psalm Reflection
In the next post, I will continue reading this psalm with the liturgy.
This entire series and a link to the liturgical readings on the Advent Psalm Reflections page.
*The translations are JPS from Sefaria.org
Dr. Erica Mongé-Greer, holding a PhD in Divinity from the University of Aberdeen, is a distinguished researcher and educator specializing in Biblical Ethics, Mythopoeia, and Resistance Theory. Her work focuses on justice in ancient religious texts, notably reinterpreting Psalm 82’s ethics in the Hebrew Bible, with her findings currently under peer review.
In addition to her academic research, Dr. Mongé-Greer is an experienced University instructor, having taught various biblical studies courses. Her teaching philosophy integrates theoretical discussions with practical insights, promoting an inclusive and dynamic learning environment.
Her ongoing projects include a book on religious themes in the series Battlestar Galactica and further research in biblical ethics, showcasing her dedication to interdisciplinary studies that blend religion with contemporary issues.